THE firm behind a proposed £1.5bn potash mine has insisted it is on track to start building it later this year, after announcing a decision on its planning application had been delayed by two months.

Sirius Minerals said the North Yorkshire National Park Authority had asked it for extra information about the York Potash Project’s plans for water use, transport and a habitat regulations assessment, which is a European Union planning requirement.

The request is the second one from the authority this month and will see the authority consult again with statutory stakeholders when it receives information.

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Sirius said the determination date for its planning application to build a mine head at Sneaton, near Whitby and extract an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of polyhalite from under 253 sq km of the national park, had been pushed back to July 2.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Sirius said: “Both parties are keen to have the application determined in a timely fashion, under the spirit of the Planning Performance Agreement previously agreed.”

The firm said it still planned to begin production at the end of 2016.

The call for extra information also follows the Ministry of Defence submitting a holding objection and asking for assurances that the 1,700m deep mine would not compromise international security by interfering with sensitive radar equipment.

Sirius said it had provided a technical report on the plans, which could see more than 1,000 jobs created, to the Ministry of Defence.

A spokesman for the firm said: “The company remains confident that it has demonstrated that there will be no impact on this important facility.”