Bessy ready to bore at Sirius Minerals' mine near Whitby

Children from Sleights Primary School unveil the new vertical shaft sinking machine at the Woodsmith Mine Site
Children from Sleights Primary School unveil the new vertical shaft sinking machine at the Woodsmith Mine Site

Children from Sleights Primary School have named Sirius' vertical shaft sinking machine.

In a ceremony at the Woodsmith Site yesterday, four pupils from the school, Isaac, Freddie, Joe and Owen, gave the machine its name, Bessy.

The name chosen by Sleights Primary School pupils

The name chosen by Sleights Primary School pupils

The children named the machine 'Bessy' because of its meaning Oath or God and will protect the machine and people using it. The naming tradition dates back to the 1500s when miners prayed to Saint Barbara to protect them from the dangers underground.

“The children were delighted to win the naming competition and really excited to come along today,” said Sleights Primary School Head, Scott Grason. “We really want them to understand what’s going on with this project on their doorstep and how important it is."

The 75 tonne machine will be used to excavate the first 120 metres of a 360 metre deep access shaft for the mineral transport system. A tunnel boring machine will then be lowered into the shaft, once complete, and assembled in the cavern before being sent north to Teesside.

Two other machines will be in action to dig south from Teesside and from Lockwood Beck, and all meet up to complete the tunnel.

Sirius CEO Chris Fraser addresses workers and local media

Sirius CEO Chris Fraser addresses workers and local media

Chris Fraser, CEO of Sirius Minerals said: “Using this innovative cutting edge machine is proof of our determination to use the best, most effective engineering solutions to build this mine.

“It’s great that we could get the school kids involved too. Making a positive impact in the community is hugely important to us and we hope this project will inspire them to become the engineers and miners of the future.”