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First phase of Yorkshire's £2.5bn potash mine gets funding green light

Sirius Minerals shareholders have approved £1bn of funding for what will be the UK’s first potash mine in 40 years.

This is the first tranche of investment for the project, which will fund the site preparation, mine shaft excavations, project management and tunnel cavern excavation.

Preparation works are due to start on site this month.

The project includes the construction of a mine 4 km south of Whitby, a 36.7 km underground transport system to move the mineral to Sirius’s granulation plant in Teesside, and a harbour to be built nearby.

Altogether it will represent a total capital expenditure of nearly £2.5bn.

Sirius Minerals chairman Russell Scrimshaw said: “The financing has taken a huge amount of work and dedication from everyone at the company and also from those that support our business.

“We are now focused on the construction programme ahead and the path to first production for our North Yorkshire polyhalite project.”

Sirius Minerals has already chosen a number of contractors for the project.

A Thyssen Group and Redpath Group JV was picked as preferred contractor for the design and build of the mine in June, while Associated Mining Construction UK will complete all shaft construction.

A Hochtief and Murphy JV is the preferred contractor for construction of the mineral transport system, which includes a tunnel to link the mine with a materials-handling facility on Teesside.

It was also among the 13 Northern projects showcased to Chinese investors by the government earlier this month.

Sirius Minerals will process 10m tonnes of polyhalite – a type of potash – per year in the mine’s first operational phase.

The mineral contains potassium, sulphur, magnesium and calcium and is used in fertiliser production.

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