£1.65 billion mine to be open in 2017

The first concept of the mine shaft design
The first concept of the mine shaft design

SCARBOROUGH’S potash mine could be in operation by 2017 as shaft designs are revealed.

York Potash, the firm behind proposals to create 1,000 jobs by building a mine between Scarborough and Whitby, has announced the results of initial investigations.

They say the technical viability of the mine has now been confirmed thanks to a Detailed Scoping Study.

It is as part of that study that York Potash has devised two possible design concepts for its mine shafts.

Bosses say the designs have been drawn up to reduce the environmental and visual impact of the mine, while delivering quicker construction times.

One of the options proposed is to locate the mine head 600 metres underground, with access via tunnels, while the other sees a mine head sunk to ground level.

Commenting on the initial design concepts, Graham Clarke, the company’s operations director, said: “These shaft concepts are a great step forward in helping us to create an acceptable proposal that best delivers all of the benefits that a new mine can bring.

“But there is still a lot of work to do and we will conduct extensive public consultation as soon as we have more detail for people to comment on.”

York Potash is yet to establish a location for the proposed mine, and will now be completing further work on the likely surface facilities needed for any mine head.

Following the completion of the Detailed Scoping Study, York Potash estimates the mine will cost around £1.65 billion to start production, and when operating at full production it will create more than 1,000 direct jobs.

The company says it is committed to employing local people and is working with local authorities to encourage the skills and education the future workforce will require.

York Potash anticipates it can construct the mine within a three-year time frame by using modern mechanical techniques, which could enable production to start in 2017 if planning permission is granted early next year.

The company has also confirmed that it intends to reduce the impact of the operation by transporting the mineral via an underground pipeline to a processing plant, likely to be in Teesside due to the area’s existing port infrastructure.

Bosses at York Potash say the operation could be the most significant Sulphate of Potash mine in the world, producing premium quality potash cost-effectively. In addition to potash, which is used as plant fertiliser, the company plans to extract and sell by-product materials including magnesium sulphate, used by farmers across the world to correct soil deficiencies, and gypsum, the primary product used to manufacture plasterboard.