Sirius Minerals, whose headquarters are based in Scarborough and who were building the £4billion Woodsmith mine at Sneaton near Whitby, has been sold for £405m following a lengthy shareholder meeting in London yesterday (March 3).
A bid by some of the 85,000 individual retail investors to block the sale, despite being warned the only alternative was administration, failed as a majority of shareholders voted to approve the scheme.
The takeover needed support from 75 per cent of the shares by value, and received 80 per cent.
It also needed a majority of individual investors and 62 per cent voted in favour.
Sirius' chairman Russell Scrimshaw said: “The positive outcome from today’s meeting secures a return for shareholders, and provides greater certainty in terms of safeguarding the project, protecting the jobs of our employees, and allowing the community, region and the UK to continue to benefit from the project.”
Shareholders will now receive 5.5p per share from Anglo American but as many small shareholders bought their shares at considerably higher prices they will lose money.
The takeover means the mining project will now likely continue, with Sirius Minerals saying Anglo will need to spend $3.1bn to get the mine up and running within two years.
Anglo American has said its intention is to create a significantly higher number of permanent jobs than previously planned, which has been welcomed by many in the area.
Sirius Minerals first unveiled its plans for a polyhalite (a mineral that can be used as fertiliser) mine in North Yorkshire in 2011, gained planning permission in 2015 and began construction in 2017.
Despite shares peaking at 46p in August 2016,
Sirius Minerals began to experience issues in 2018 as costs of the project grew and the firm had to find new supporters, despite a $250m investment from Australia's richest woman, Gina Rinehart.
In 2019, American bank JP Morgan agreed to provide a $2.5billion credit facility on the condition that Sirius raised a further $500m through a bond.
The bond was suspended in September 2019 and new plans to raise $600m also failed.
Anglo American made a surprise bid for the company in January of this year.