Plans to lodge a formal application for a major new surface mine have been delayed, the company behind the scheme has announced.
Last July, Banks Mining unveiled the Highthorn project, for the east of Widdrington Station, inland from Druridge Bay.
It was hoped that a detailed bid could be submitted in the summer, at the earliest, but this has now been pushed back to later in the year.
Development relations coordinator Jeannie Kielty said: “We are making good progress with the site investigation work for the Highthorn site.
“To ensure that we have plenty of time to carry out a thorough consultation and prepare a detailed planning application, we have decided to push back the submission date for the planning application until late 2014.
“This way we can fully engage in meaningful discussions and explore the options and opportunities associated with Highthorn prior to planning submission.”
The company is preparing a site scoping report, to set out the proposed methodology for preparing the application.
Banks says that the scheme would sustain local jobs for more than a decade and provide an opportunity to add new and improved community and tourism resources to the area.