Gold-mining rugby player has a Sirius task ahead

Geologist Tristan Pottas has been appointed by York Potash
Geologist Tristan Pottas has been appointed by York Potash

THE drilling company proposing to build a mine in the Whitby area has announced that it has discovered potentially the largest deposit of valuable potash in the world.

The company has also announced that it has recruited a Whitby-born gold-mining rugby player to its geology team.

Preliminary results, gained from the temporary drilling site at Hawsker, have indicated a 65-metre band of polyhalite mineralisation, which is drilling company York Potash’s main target, located underneath the Yorkshire coast.

Chris Fraser, managing director of Sirius Minerals, said: “Although preliminary, these are fantastic results that are a validation of the world-class status of the project.

“The first hole we have drilled has delivered one of the world’s single thickest potash intersections ever reported.”

Work has now finished at the site near Robin Hood’s Bay, which reached a depth of 1,669 metres and the company was able to take samples of three potash seams that exist in the area.

Within the 65-metre band were also two other zones that contain 19 metres of higher grade and thus more valuable, polyhalite.

The site will now be returned to its original condition and Mr Fraser added: “I’d like to thank local people for their understanding while we have been carrying out this first phase of drilling.

“Work on this important first hole took longer than originally scheduled, but we have gained valuable and detailed insight into the geology of the area which should help us to complete the next drilling holes quickly and efficiently.”

Two other sites are currently in place at Ugglebarnby and Raikes Lane, Sneatonthorpe, with a fourth planned for just off the A171, south of the Flask Inn.

Following the appointment of former Boulby mine managing director Graham Clarke to York Potash, the company has further strengthened their team with the appointment of a globe-trotting Whitby geologist.

Tristan Pottas (28) had been working in the gold mines of Peru and Australia, but has returned home to analyse the potash being removed from the preliminary drilling.

The University of Liverpool graduate said: “While I’ve enjoyed my global travels and picked up valuable mining experience in some far-flung locations, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to not only work on one of the world’s most important potash mines, but also to return back home.

The return to Whitby has also enabled the keen sportsman to resume his rugby playing career with Whitby Rugby Club’s first team.

Managing director Chris Fraser added: “Tristan has built up a wealth of mining experience in Australia and Latin America and as a highly-skilled geologist, he is a fantastic addition to our growing team.

“The project is in its fast-moving exploratory stage and we are committed to providing job opportunities for local people wherever possible, so we’re delighted to welcome Tristan back to his local area.”