Mine project hits national headlines

SCARBOROUGH’S potash mine project has hit the national headlines as the scheme is expected to transform Yorkshire into a “mining powerhouse”.

The mine, which could be one of the biggest of its kind in the world, was the main feature of an article in the Financial Times.

The story speaks of the “buzz of excitement” in the Scarborough area about the project, in anticipation of the 1,000 mining jobs it will create and the cash injection into the local economy.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Jim Dillon, chief executive of Scarborough Council, said: “We’re probably more excited about this than the potash people.

“It would transform the whole area. It would be the single biggest inward investment that North Yorkshire has ever had.

“We are talking with the local universities to make sure the curriculum is adjusted. We want less hairdressers, more engineers.”

The mine will cost more than $3 billion to build, and is hoped to eventually produce 5 million tonnes of potash a year, making it one of the world’s biggest potash mines.

At present York Potash, the company behind the plans, is part way through a test drilling programme, aimed at evaluating the quality and quantity potash underground.

The results of the first drilling site uncovered the world’s single thickest potash intersection ever reported.

Once the test drilling is completed the results will be used to help determine the location for the mine head, which will be somewhere between Scarborough and Whitby.

York Potash hopes to submit the first planning application to Scarborough Council next year.

Chris Fraser, chief executive of Sirius Minerals, which owns York Potash, told the Financial Times: “In 2009 we formed the view that potash was the thing to be in.”

He contacted a geologist who had worked for a neighbouring mine at Boulby and modelled the English potash basin for the Anglo American 15 years ago.

Mr Fraser said: “He told me there’s a hell of a lot of potash down there.”

The company has mining rights for 630sq km under the North York Moors National Park and out to sea.