Petition started to demand Government funding for Sirius Minerals

A petition has been started calling on the Government to provide Sirius Minerals with a loan guarantee.

By Corinne Macdonald
Friday, 20th September 2019, 5:56 pm
The Woodsmith wine near Whitby. PIC: Gary Longbottom
The Woodsmith wine near Whitby. PIC: Gary Longbottom

The petition was started by Piers Quarry who writes: "Sirius Minerals is currently building a multi billion pound fertilizer mine in Yorkshire which will boost exports and create thousands of jobs locally and nationally. The Government as of today will not fully support this project with loan guarantees.

"The Government will not take a stand and guarantee the jobs for thousands of UK workers in the form of a FULL loan guarantee, all a time companies are currently making redundancies. Jaguar Land Rover for instance currently set to make 4000 plus redundant.

"Get your priorities straight, stop squabbling about Brexit which is eroding this country, and fund this project, your country needs it."

At the time of publication the petition has gained 3,697 signatures, the vast majority of which have come from North Yorkshire and the North East.

The constituencies with the most signatures are Redcar (209), Middlesbrough (114), Middlesbrough South East and Cleveland (251) and Scarborough and Whitby (280).

The petition has been set up in the wake of Sirius' announcement earlier this week that it has cancelled the planned sale of a $500 bond issue due to "global market conditions", the "uncertainty surrounding Brexit" and the current political environment which caused the share price to plummet.

The company will therefore have to slow down operations at Woodsmith Mine to "buy ourselves some time".

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.

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.

Today Sirius announced it had let go of a number of staff due to winding back a number of night shifts on some sites to preserve activity for longer.

The petition must reach 10,000 signatures to receive a response from the Government, and 100,000 to be considered for debate in Parliament.

The petition can be found here.