The approval clears the first hurdle, and paves the way for the construction of the mine

The mine will produce one million tons of coal and 175,000 tons of fireclay as well as engage in coke works between Stanley and Marley Hill.

Gateshead Council development and public protection director Anneliese Hutchinson said: "After careful consideration of the comprehensive report, and having listened to the views of all the speakers, committee members approved the application subject to a large number of planning conditions and a legal agreement which will help to ensure the environmental impacts are effectively managed and controlled."

Alison Reid of UK Coal Surface Mines said: "We are very pleased that Gateshead’s planning committee has recognised the substantial value and benefit of the Marley Hill scheme.

"The scheme will reclaim a 23-hectare derelict site and clean up 1.8 hectares of contamination.

"In addition, the scheme will provide 62 local jobs over four-and-a-half years, bringing many economic benefits to the local communities."

The company is yet to receive consent from the Durham County Council, which is set to discuss the proposed mine development on 29 July.