Mining bosses confirm planning date

PLANNING WORK: A York Potash drilling rig conducts exploritory works into the depth, quality and thickness of polyhalite underneath the North York Moors

PLANNING WORK: A York Potash drilling rig conducts exploritory works into the depth, quality and thickness of polyhalite underneath the North York Moors

First published in Business News

PLANS for a £1.5bn mine will be officially submitted later this year, company bosses have revealed.

Sirius Minerals will present its application for a North Yorkshire polyhalite development in September.

Bosses say the mine, known as the York Potash Project, could extract millions of tonnes of the fertiliser from under the North York Moors National Park, near Whitby.

The project stalled last year when it was deferred to address environmental concerns.

The proposals will now be submitted to planning officials alongside the blueprint for a mineral transport system, which the firm says will use underground tunnelling to reduce the impact on the moors’ surface.

It had originally wanted to move polyhalite along a pipeline system to port operations at Wilton, near Redcar, through a series of trenches.

A decision on the plans is expected in January next year.

Chris Fraser, Sirius Minerals’ managing director and chief executive, said: “We have had productive and wide ranging pre-application engagement with the authority officers and advisers over the past nine to 12 months.

“The aligned submissions should make the process more straightforward and beneficial to all parties.

“We believe this is the most productive way forward, particularly as this doesn’t impact the overall project schedule.

“In the meantime, the common ground we have reached with the authority officers provides very clear guidance as to detail that the applications need to include at the point of submission.”

A Sirius report adds the North York Moors National Park Authority, which will make a decision on the plans, recognises the scheme’s significant economic benefits, but also highlights its potential adverse environmental impact.

Last week, bosses revealed Sirius had reached an agreement to supply the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture with polyhalite from the proposed mine.

It already has deals to send millions of tonnes of polyhalite to China, Latin America, the US and Africa, including an agreement with Sinoagri, one of China's largest fertiliser distributors, to annually send 500,000 tonnes of polyhalite in a ten-year partnership.

Last year, it bought Doves Nest Farm, near Whitby, where it wants to build shafts and buildings to mine polyhalite, to push the development forward.

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