Green light for fifth potash drill

FIVE temporary drilling sites have now been approved as plans to build a potash mine near Scarborough gather pace.

Sirius Minerals, the firm behind the plans, has received planning permission for a further drilling site, in addition to the four that have already being approved.

The temporary drilling is to establish the location and quality of potash lying underground, which will eventually help Sirius determine where to locate the minehead.

The North York Moors National Park planning committee approved the latest site, located on Raikes Lane, south of Sneatonthorpe.

A second site, at a lay-by off the A171, west of the Flask Inn, was also approved subject to confirmations from the Environment Agency and Natural England which were not received in time for the committee meeting.

Chris Fraser, managing director of Sirius, said: “This continues the good momentum of the project as we do all we can to finish this phase as quickly as possible.

“The results from the temporary drilling programme will ultimately help us to plan the wider project and we will continue to work locally to deliver the very best possible project.”

Four other drilling sites have been approved at Ugglebarnby, Hawsker, Silpho and Harwood Dale, with drilling already underway at the site near Hawsker.

The drilling will remove mineral cores from around 1,500m underground, with work expected to last around eight weeks at each temporary site.

Up to ten drilling sites in total are expected as part of this phase of the project, with all sites set to return to their original condition after completion, according to developers.

Plans for the mine were revealed in January when 600sq km of mining rights between Scarborough and Whitby were sold to Sirius by York Potash.

Sirius, which has moved to an office on the Dawnay Estate business park at Wykeham to be close to the project, says the first plans for the mine could be submitted within 18 months to two years, creating around 5,000 jobs for the local economy.