A POTASH miner is ramping up work to extend operations.

ICL UK says it will hold more than 100 public events to outline plans for the continuation of its mine in Boulby, east Cleveland.

Bosses’ confirmation comes after The Northern Echo revealed in 2015 the business was going ahead with the application process.

The company’s existing permissions, last updated in the late-1990s, are due to expire in 2023.

Any new consent could see operations run well into the 2060s.

The business, known locally as Cleveland Potash, says its community engagement programme will feature an exhibition across 20 venues and consultation with 16 parish and town councils as the business seeks to retain its position as east Cleveland’s biggest employer.

Marc Kirsten, Cleveland Potash managing director, said: “Informing, listening to and taking into account the views of the community is an important element in the planning process.

“The programme we are developing in discussion with the North York Moors Park Authority will aim to set out the history of the mine, how we operate now and how we aim to move forward in securing its future.

“The decision to continue operations demonstrates our commitment to maintain a significant contribution to the local community and economy.”

He added Darlington-based engineer Amec Foster Wheeler has been appointed as lead consultant on the project.

The plans provide fresh optimism for the business, which was previously forced to cut jobs to ease the burden of dwindling reserves and market pressures.

Tests showed stocks of its traditional potash fertiliser were close to exhaustion and the firm has restructured operations to ramp up work on the multi-nutrient fertiliser polyhalite, which it markets as polysulphate.

It is building a plant to process polysulphate on a larger scale and has ambitions of extracting and handling a million tonnes by 2020, while it is also pursuing new mineral blends to attract customers in at least 40 countries.