Major Yorkshire mining project creates 1,300 jobs and supports cyber security apprenticeship programme

The company behind a major mine which is expected to transform North Yorkshire’s economy will update the market with its proposed opening schedule for the project next year.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 7:41 am
Mark Cutifani, the chief executive of Anglo American, praised the work that had been done by the team at Sirius Minerals on the Woodsmith Project prior to Anglo American’s acquisition of the site.

Mark Cutifani, the chief executive of Anglo American, praised the work that had been done by the team at Sirius Minerals on the Woodsmith Project prior to Anglo American’s acquisition of the site.

In 2020, Anglo American tabled a successful offer for Scarborough-based Sirius Minerals, which was behind the project to mine polyhalite, for use in the production of fertiliser, from its site at Sneaton, near Whitby.

Speaking during a visit to Scarborough, Mr Cutifani said: “We are a little more conservative (in terms of the timing of completion of the mine) as a global mining group, so it will probably take a bit longer than Sirius originally forecast. In February next year, we will be publishing our capital estimates.”

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Sirius had aimed to reach production on the mine in 2024.

Anglo American will update the market in February with its proposed schedule for Woodsmith. The company has been conducting an engineering review since the takeover to bring the mine in line with Anglo American technical standards and rules.

Anglo America has also launched a cyber security apprenticeship programme to train seven people from a wide range of backgrounds to join its global team.

Working from Anglo American’s base in Scarborough, the seven apprentices will be trained to identify threats using the latest cyber security tools and techniques to protect the digital systems that run mining operations around the world.

The programme is part of a wider commitment by Anglo American to foster a successful cyber security cluster in North Yorkshire and was launched at Scarborough Science and Engineering Week by Mr Cutifani.

Mr Cutifani said that all types of businesses were potentially exposed to cyber attacks.

He added: “The apprenticeships give young people the opportunity to look at new careers that might not immediately be jobs that people traditionally associate with mining.

“We have made a major commitment to new technology in the way we run our operations, as we look to reduce our energy and water footprint and improve safety.

“A digital network can help us to solve problems but can also be subject to attacks. We want to stop people attacking our digital platform and operating our trucks and mining equipment or having access to our business intelligence.

“In the US, hackers got into an oil company’s system and locked the pipeline. This is an extreme example of what they can do, but we have got to be ahead of the game. Mining today is a very modern industry with a very broad platform in terms of technology.”

Mr Cutifani highlighted the long term economic boost the mining scheme would provide for North Yorkshire.

He added: “There are 1,300 people currently employed on the site and most of them are local. We are investing £130m to offset CO2 and enhance the landscape: The Woodsmith Mine site footprint may be 124 hectares of land, but we will plant 7,000 hectares of countryside with 10 million trees.”

Craig McEwen, Chief Information Security Officer at Anglo American, said: “Anglo American, through its FutureSmart Mining programme, operates cutting edge digital technologies to help make our mines safer, more efficient and reduce our impact on the environments where we operate.

“It means we have a sophisticated digital infrastructure that needs to be protected from a wide range of cyber security threats, which are growing in both number and complexity year on year.”

Mr Cutifani started his career at a small colliery in Australia, which gives him a natural affinity with small communities.

He said: *I started out in mining as a kid in Wollongong, a seaside town with similarities to Scarborough, so I understand the importance of local communities.

“When people talk about engaging with the local community, it’s not something that can be done in an arm’s length way. The big mistakes many big companies make is that they think they know what local communities want. But you have to listen to these communities to build partnerships for the long term.”

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