PLANS to create a potash mine between Scarborough and Whitby have taken a step forward, it has been revealed.
Sirius Minerals bought York Potash for £25 million in January, in order to gain access to mineral rights on the North Yorkshire coast.
Sirius plans to open what will be the first potash mine in the UK for 40 years, creating 5,000 local jobs directly and indirectly.
Last week the company revealed that it had received planning permission from the North York Moors National Park Authority for drilling at four sites.
Two further sites will come before the authority for approval in August.
Sirius Minerals, which has moved to an office on the Dawnay Estate business park at Wykeham to be close to the project, announced this week that the drilling of the first hole had started at the York Potash Project.
In a statement, the company said: “This drilling programme has been designed to reduce impact at each drill site.
“During the first phase of each hole it is planned that the top-hole rig will only operate on a 12-hour day shift basis.
“Subject to a number of factors inherent in drilling of this nature, the first hole is anticipated to take up to 60 days to be completed.”
Once this work is completed, more detailed proposals for the wider project will be developed.
PR Marriott Drilling has been appointed to undertake the drilling programme following a competitive tender process.
Chris Fraser, the managing director and chief executive of Sirius, said: “The commencement of drilling in North Yorkshire is a major milestone for the York Potash Project.
“These will be the first new surface boreholes drilled for potash in North Yorkshire for almost 35 years and the first ever surface boreholes focused on the important polyhalite seam. The drilling programme will help us define the parameters of a world-class potash project and to advance the preparation of detailed proposals and designs.
“Marriott is the UK’s foremost onshore drilling company and has an outstanding reputation.
We are very pleased to be working with them on the York Potash Project.”