THE tunnel boring machine that will be used to construct Sirius Minerals’ 23 mile tunnel was officially launched at a ceremony on Wilton International in Redcar.

School children unveiled a plaque with the name of the machine, Stella Rose, which was chosen by an online vote.

Warren Walls, eight, from Ings Farm Primary in Redcar, suggested the winning name, inspired by ‘Stella’ meaning ‘star’ in Latin – and ‘Sirius’ meaning ‘brightest star’ – and ‘Rose’ by the famous local landmark, Roseberry Topping.

The Northern Echo:

Sirius Minerals’ CEO, Chris Fraser, said: “The level of engagement with local children in the naming process and more broadly around the project is very encouraging as we continue to try to spark the imagination and interest of our future engineers and scientists in the UK and more importantly here in the North.”

The Northern Echo:

The tunnel is part of the company’s multi-billion pound project to extract polyhalite, a form of natural fertilizer, from Woodsmith Mine near Whitby. It will be transported on a conveyor belt along a 23 mile tunnel to Teesside, where it will be processed and shipped around the world.

The mine has been designed with most of its infrastructure underground and will create more than 1,000 jobs.