THE man heading plans to build a £2 billion potash mine near Scarborough believes the project will put the area at the cutting edge of the global mining industry.
Test drilling between Scarborough and Whitby has already revealed one of the world’s most extensive potash deposits.
Now Sirius Minerals, the firm behind the York Potash project, is looking to start work developing the first plans for the mine, which it hopes to submit next year.
If it goes ahead the mine, which will be the first of its kind in the UK for 40 years, is expected to created up to 5,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Chris Fraser, chief executive of Sirius, said: “What we are doing is innovative and will add a great deal to the skills base for the UK’s mining industry. This development will help re-establish the UK as a world leader in the mining industry to rival the peak of coal mining.
“We are working hard to establish an industry that could well be here for the next 150 years, and the depth of the skills base will be hugely important not just to Yorkshire’s economy, but the national economy aswell.”
The proposals have however caused some concern as the mining rights are spread over the North York Moors National Park.
However Mr Fraser has stressed the mine will have minimal visual impact on the landscape, and will not mirror that of neighbouring mine Boulby.
He said: “The Boulby mine is nothing like what we are proposing. It was built 40 years ago, the design is out-dated as far as we are concerned and the potash is processed on the site.
“We are proposing to carry out alot of the work underground so this would minimise the effect on the national park. The potash itself would be sent down a pipeline to be processed at either Teesside or hull, so again this would lessen
the impact on the area.
“We do have to show that this development is in the national interest if we are to be successful in overcoming the strict planning tests for both the national park authority and the Government.
“But many people have already told us that they see the huge economic beneﬁts, and we are conﬁdent that we will be able to demonstrate the economic beneﬁts for the whole country as well.”