Drilling delay leads to £500 cash payout

The site of the York Potash drilling rig alongside the B1447 road from Hawsker to Robin Hoods Bay. Picture Ceri Oakes. w114206ab
The site of the York Potash drilling rig alongside the B1447 road from Hawsker to Robin Hoods Bay. Picture Ceri Oakes. w114206ab

FURTHER potash deposits have been uncovered in the Scarborough area as a support group is set up in opposition to plans for the mine.

York Potash, the company behind proposals to build a potash mine between Scarborough and Whitby, has confirmed further deposits of potash at its second temporary drilling site near Ugglebarnby.

Chris Fraser from York Potash Project

Chris Fraser from York Potash Project

The results show an upper ‘shelf’ seam with a thickness of 37 metres of polyhalite, which is high grade potash, and a second, deeper ‘basin’ seam with a thickness of 45 metres of polyhalite.

However drilling at the Ugglebarnby site took longer than anticipated due to a series of fluid loss zones which caused delays.

As a result the company has apologised for any local inconvenience, and has made a donation of £500 to the Eskdaleside-cum-Ugglebarnby Parish Council annual village show.

Chris Fraser, chief executive of York Potash’s parent company Sirius Minerals, said: “These latest results are undoubtedly very positive news and exceed our expectations on the amount of potash underground.

“We are conscious that work has taken longer than expected at this site and we’d like to apologise. It goes without saying the site will now be returned to its original condition.

“We will continue to work as quickly as possible to complete the temporary exploration work. Once we have this information, alongside other data and the seismic studies we will be able to start looking into possible minehead locations and conducting consultation around any plans. Our aim is to ensure that we pick a location that minimises our environmental and visual impact wherever possible.”

The location of the mine has caused controversy as Sirius has said the mine head is likely to fall within the North York Moors national park.

Tom Chadwick, chair of the North Yorkshire Moors Association, said there were fears it would be an “undesirable industrial intrusion” on the park. The association is being supported by 10 similar organisations.

Mr Chadwick said the association was not against the extraction of potash but wanted the pit to be outside the boundaries of the national park.

The plans for the mine will now progress as York Potash’s coring rig moves to its third site at Raikes Lane where drilling has already been completed to approximately 700 metres.