The owners of the revolutionary Woodsmith fertiliser mine near Whitby have released more details of changes at the site, which it has admitted will have ‘a direct effect on our business workforce and our team of contractors’.

Tom McCulley, CEO Crop Nutrients at Anglo American said: “Critical workstreams will continue to retain the extraordinary long-term value of this project which is a fundamental pillar of Anglo American’s growth plans.

“We are carrying out a full evaluation process of all workstreams to satisfy the new business plan. Our intention is to abide by our permit commitments and finalise critical technical studies to support syndication of the project to bring in a strategic partner alongside Anglo American.”

After the announcement on May 14 regarding a slowdown of activity across the Crop Nutrients business and wider Woodsmith Project, the company has also set out a more detailed picture of how it will operate the business within a new strategy.

Changes to operational activity include a slowdown of the tunnel boring machine (TBM) and a pause to the sinking of the Production Shaft and lateral development of the Mineral Transport System. Work on the Service Shaft sinking will continue as normal and is currently approaching the halfway point of 800 metres, described by the company as ‘incredible progress’.

The tunnel is currently 78% complete at 29km. The TBM will stop excavation for scheduled maintenance, before resuming progress at a slower pace.

It said details of how the changes will affect the workers will be announced before the end of this month.

The future of the vast polyhalite mining project in North Yorkshire was left hanging in the balance when mining giant BHP walked away from takeover talks with Anglo-American.

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The companies had been in talks over a deal worth almost £39 billion amid efforts to agree on a future structure.

Anglo-American had already announced that it would ‘slow’ the development of the project to focus on copper and iron elsewhere in the world - but insists it is all happening to secure the long-term future of the site.

The group said spending here would be reduced in 2025 and in 2026.

The Woodsmith project is currently building two deep mine shafts over a mile deep and a 37km-long tunnel to a fertiliser processing area at Wilton on Teesside. The project already employs more than 1,650 people at its sites in Whitby, Teesside and Scarborough.

The initial plan had been hugely important for the company and the region, with Anglo American contributing more than £1.5billion to the regional economy. In 2023 the project generated an additional £305 million to the region’s economy, bringing the total contribution to £1.5 billion since construction started in 2017. The project is now employing over 1,400 local people, which is 70% of the total workforce.

In February Tom McCulley told us: “Our purpose at Anglo American is to re-imagine mining to improve people’s lives and we are doing that right here in North Yorkshire and Teesside - helping to make a positive difference locally and in the world for decades to come.”