New consultants for Potash plans

THE company behind the proposed Potash mine near Scarborough has appointed a number of consultants to help with the development of the scheme.

Sirius Minerals was given the go-ahead by the North York Moors National Park Authority’s planning committee last month for a temporary exploratory potash borehole and associated plant, a drilling rig up to 33m high, at Raw Pasture Bank, Hawsker, near Whitby, and at Pasture Field Lane, Howlett Hall, Ugglebarnby.

Ercosplan, one of the world’s leading potash geological and engineering consulting firms, has now been appointed to lead the Concept Study work which will help to establish further details of the project, such as how the mine could operate and the processes involved.

Ercosplan has extensive expertise in the German potash industry and possible mine locations will be developed once the results of the exploration programme are better understood.

York Potash Ltd is also set to conduct further technical work on its proposals to transport the mined ore via underground pipelines. As such, the services of dedicated pipeline expert Murphy Pipelines has been secured. The firm has extensive experience in the construction of major pipeline systems around the world but in particular in the UK.

Chris Fraser, managing director and CEO of Sirius, said: “These appointments are all about trying to move the technical work forward as quickly as possible so that we can ultimately talk in more detail to local people about what the project might look like and how it might work.

“We are totally committed to bringing these proposals forward in a sensitive and correct manner and believe that the skilled jobs and investment involved in the project could provide a lasting benefit to the local area.”

Once all the drilling is completed Sirius then plans to study the results alongside geological and seismic studies to determine where the mine head will be placed.

The mine will be the first to be built in the UK for 40 years and is expected to create 5,000 jobs both directly and indirectly, with 1,500 jobs alone created during the development and construction phase and 1,000 operating the mine.

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, has since increased its mining rights to 621sq km.

Bosses say they expect drilling work to be completed by the end of the year.