ALBION Stone is set to mine underneath Portland Red Triangle Cricket Club’s ground to protect it.

The firm had originally been given permission to quarry the Reforne pitch but has opted to mine instead.

Company chiefs say the decision will benefit both the cricket club and local residents by also reducing noise, dust and vibrations.

Albion Stone mining teams have begun constructing the entrance to Jordan’s Mine, which will provide Whitbed and Basebed stone for a decade.

Portland Red Triangle Cricket Club will be unaffected by the extraction operation and will be able to continue to use the surface during the mining.

Albion Stone managing director Michael Poultney said Jordan’s Mine was the firm’s third mining operation on the island.

He said: “It follows the trial mine in Bowers Quarry that started in 2003 and the High Wall mines to the eastern boundary of Bowers Quarry that started in 2007.

“As with the two Bowers sites, we had permission to quarry the cricket field site in Jordan’s Mine but the company decided on environmental grounds to mine rather than quarry.

“The advantages for Portland Red Triangle Cricket Club are obvious but also the reduction in noise, dust, blasting vibration and visual impact will be appreciated by local residents.”

Portland Red Triangle Cricket Club secretary Grant Neven said the club had been fully consulted and informed by Albion Stone throughout the planning of the mine. “In fact Albion Stone have helped the club with sponsorship towards its new boundary fence and have continued to sponsor and retain close relations with the club,” he said.

“The club look forward to Albion Stone once again sponsoring us in 2009.”

Albion Stone mine manager Mark Godden said the solid capstone lying above the stone that teams will be extracting would provide an ‘ideal roof’ for the mines.

“We have to be particularly sensitive in this location as the land outside the mine is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and we have worked closely with Natural England,” he said.

A Weymouth and Portland Borough Council planning committee report says the proposal will protect the ground, the conservation area and nearby listed buildings.

It adds: ‘This proposal will allow a small but valuable source of stone to be won in a much more acceptable environmental manner than the existing quarrying consent would allow.

‘The applicants are to be congratulated for the initiative they have taken in pioneering this form of winning a naturally important stone.’