Sirius Minerals' funding blow: here's what happened so far and what it means

The future of the world's largest polyhalite mine, near Whitby, has been thrown into doubt as Sirius Minerals finds itself racing against time to secure the funding it needs.

Thursday, 19th September 2019, 6:03 pm
The Woodsmith Mine site.

On Tuesday, the Scarborough-based company announced it failed to deliver its Stage 2 financing plan as it could not raise the £400m it needs to fund the next phase of construction.

Here's what we know so far about what happened and what it means:

⚫ Sirius Minerals cancelled the planned sale of a $500 bond issue due to "global market conditions", the "uncertainty surrounding Brexit" and the current political environment and will therefore have to slow down operations at Woodsmith Mine to "buy ourselves some time".The company believes doing so is "in the best interests of the company and our shareholders".

⚫ A six-month strategic review is going to take place to identify a different way to finance the project. Options might include "redistributing our finances" or "seeking a large partner", however, the company needs to find a solution by March 2020, the date by which the current cash resources will run out.

⚫ When the announcement was made Sirius experienced a drop of its share price and lost half of its market value.

⚫ Scarborough Council leader, Cllr Steve Siddons, urged MP Robert Goodwill to lobby the Government to offer the company financial help. He then announced he had written to the Prime Minister himself to invite him to Scarborough for talks over the future of the potash mine.

⚫ MP Robert Goodwill said he had already spoken to PM Boris Johnson who was "well briefed" about the situation. He also said he had already made the case for the Government to assist Sirius but this had been "declined". However, he added that a new meeting with the PM (that called for by Cllr Siddons) could be "useful".

⚫ External Affairs Director, Gareth Edmunds said the company remains "positive" and "committed to delivering the project". He added: "We have overcome a lot of hurdles over the years, things have never been easy but we wouldn't be doing this if we didn't think we could achieve it."