£167 million re-think for potash mine firm

Chris Fraser at Dove's Nest Farm''w123606a
Chris Fraser at Dove's Nest Farm''w123606a

The firm behind plans to bring potash mining to Whitby has scrapped plans to transport the mineral by a controversial pipeline system.

Instead, York Potash has revealed plans to use a £167 million mineral transport system, which it says will offset the mine’s operating costs

It will be 350 metres below the surface of the ground as opposed to the pipeline method which would have been less than two metres and required major land excavation.

Boring machines will be situated at the mine base at Sneaton and the processing plant at Teesport.

The mineral will be transported via linked conveyors, sunk between 120 and 360 metres and there will be five underground tunnels and three access points which will be covered by small agricultural buildings.

It removes the need for buildings on the surface of mine which would have been used for crushing and grinding the extracted polyhalite.

It also means the mine set up won’t go through designated sites of scientific interest or protected moorland habitats.

York Potash says the footprint of the company’s operations will be reduced by 70% because the MTS only requires 60 hectares rather then the 350 hectares needed for the pipeline.

York Potash withdrew its planning application for the mine last year following concerns over environmental impact within the national park.

Since then it says it has undertaken a detailed engineering review of the scheme.

Chris Fraser, MD of Sirius Minerals, York Potash’s parent company said: “To make such a positive change that increases project value at the same time as dramatically reducing construction and operational impact is an exciting outcome of our long-term commitment to sustainable development.

“It will use proven mining technology, minimising our impact at the surface.”

The revised planning application is set to be put to the North York Moors National park planning authority by July of this year.