A NORTH-EAST council has placed its full support behind Sirius Minerals as the company launches a strategic review of funding for a giant fertiliser mine in North Yorkshire.

The company plans to transport polyhalite from the mine near Whitby via an underground tunnel to the Wilton International site, where it will be processed for export around the world.

Sirius Minerals will now scale back construction work on the project as the strategic review takes place after the Government turned down a request to guarantee £800m of bonds to allow the company to access funding for the project to continue.

Sirius said it could not raise the necessary funding elsewhere because of the current state of the global money markets.

Cllr Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, last night called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to reconsider the decision.

She said: “This project would bring jobs and prosperity to families across Redcar and Cleveland. It would provide opportunities for both skilled workers and apprentices starting their careers and we are fully supportive of the company’s vision.

“Sirius Minerals has also shown it is serious about being here for the long term by investing in our communities. I am appalled that the Government hasn’t seen fit to guarantee the loan the company needs to secure further finance.

“The challenge for businesses is huge in the unprecedented situation the country is in and it is vital that the Government recognises this and acts to encourage a massive investment which will transform our Borough and the people who live in it.

“We will work with the many people who support this project to help bring this project to completion. The Government has shown it is willing to back private industry and I call on Boris Johnson to rethink the decision to refuse the bonds guarantee.”

Meanwhile, the boss of a North-East port called on the Government to support the troubled project.

PD Ports chief executive officer Frans Calje said: “The news about Sirius Minerals is incredibly unhelpful and unwelcome.

“I would urge the Government to consider its position on what they can do in terms of a possible support package going forward, because there is going to be a huge potential for economic growth, especially what that mine could mean for the national economy.”