The name for the Sirius Minerals mine near Whitby was unveiled today by the Northern Powerhouse Minister, Andrew Percy MP.
The mine, which is set to bring around 1,000 jobs to North Yorkshire, has been named the “Woodsmith Mine", in honour of two well-known geologists who have played a key role in the development of the site, Peter Woods and Rick Smith.
Speaking at a plaque unveiling ceremony, Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy said: “Today marks an important step for Sirius Minerals’ North Yorkshire mining project, which is a real vote of confidence in the economic potential of the Northern Powerhouse.
“The Woodsmith Mine has the potential to create over a thousand jobs and generate billions of pounds of exports for the region, and so I’m excited to see it progress.
"This is one of 13 major projects across the north the government has been pitching for investment - this is evidence of the scale of it and its value to the UK economy. This is a project of national importance."
He added: "This is exactly what we want to see across the Northern Powerhouse. Here you have 1,000 jobs that will be good, well-skilled jobs which offer opportunities to people in this area and especially to young people."
Chris Fraser, Managing Director of Sirius Minerals, said: "Legally you have to have a name for a mine and stop referring to is as a farm, it's one of those little milestones where it's nice to pause and reflect on where you've got to and where you're going. I think the project will be transformational in terms of the economic benefits it can bring."
Speaking about the naming of the mine he added: "Without Rick and Peter’s commitment there wouldn’t be a project and their extensive knowledge of, and passion for, the geology has been invaluable.
“They share the combination of being dedicated professionals and genuinely decent people, so I could not think of a more fitting way to recognise their immense contribution to the Project and all the benefits it has and will continue to deliver. The name also implies an element of rural craftsmanship that befits both the mine’s location and our teams’ innovation and painstaking diligence towards this important project."
The men behind the inspiration for the "Woodsmith" name are both well-known geologists in the area. Peter Woods played a leading role in the exploration of the potash deposit that led to the development of Boulby mine in the late 1960s, where he became Chief Geologist and stayed for the next fifteen years. Peter’s geological knowledge, coupled with his understanding of the sensitivity of the local environment, has been an important part of the development of the Sirius project. Rick Smith and his team at FWS Consultants led the initial geological appraisal, conceptual modelling, seismic interpretation and surveying, and resource exploration drilling for the project, and remain involved today.
The site naming marks another important step in the project’s progress. The company recently began highways enabling works following it successfully raising financing for the start of construction in November last year.
A new right-hand turn filter lane from the A171 onto the B1416 is currently being constructed, together with a new turning lane on the B1416 into the site of the Woodsmith Mine.
Detailed site preparation works are due to commence in April 2017, as per the company’s construction schedule.