AN emergency planning firm is primed to create further jobs after recruiting more than 30 staff to fulfil a “multi-million pound”

agreement at a £2.2bn potash development, The Northern Echo can reveal.

CFB Risk Management has secured a deal to protect Sirius Minerals’ Woodsmith Mine, near Whitby.

The tie-up, described as the company’s largest-ever contract, will see CFB provide 24-hour services to ensure Sirius’ operations are ready and prepared for emergencies.

Bosses told the Echo the deal has allowed the business to recruit at least 30 staff, with its near 100-strong workforce expected to rise again over the next couple of years as further agreements are secured.

According to the terms of its deal, Hartlepool-based CFB will protect assets, equipment, workers and the local community during the mine’s five-year construction period and when it becomes operational in 2021.

The firm will also provide services across sister bases, which include an intermediate mine shaft site at Lockwood Beck, near Guisborough, east Cleveland.

Managing director Ian Hayton described the deal as a “massive vote of confidence”, revealing the business had beaten off competition from across the UK.

Mr Hayton also said he believed the business’ marketplace reputation, founded from similar arrangements with process sector operators, such as Teesside-based Ineos Nitriles, had been a factor in its success.

He said: “This is our biggest contract to date and we are proud to have been entrusted with securing and protecting such a major investment.

“Our services are designed to allow Sirius to focus on its core activities, secure in the knowledge the entire project is protected by world-class arrangements.”

Sirius says its development will create around 1,000 jobs, with operations focused on extracting the fertiliser polyhalite, which is reputed for its potassium, magnesium, sulphur and calcium content that encourages strong crop growth.

The company will move loads underground to Wilton, near Redcar, where it will be stored before being delivered to customers from a new harbour.

Nigel Chapman, Sirius’ head of health and safety, added: “There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our staff.”