Mine ‘a boost’ to mindset of young

The site at Doves Nest Farm
The site at Doves Nest Farm
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A FIFTH of all construction workers in the borough of Scarborough will be employed by York Potash during the development of the new mine near Sneaton.

York Potash’s planning application, submitted to the North York Moors National Park Authority recently, includes soci-economic assessment reports which suggest that £360 million will be spent on wages alone during construction of the mine, with half of the available positions being filled by local residents.

In a statement included with the application, York Potash say the prospect of over 1,000 new jobs in the area could “provide a huge psychological boost” to an entire generation of 18 to 24-year-olds, 6% of whom are not currently in work or education.

“The level of employment generated by the development from the current level of 53 to more than 1,000 direct jobs, inside and outside the National Park, would make the company the biggest single employer in the National Park,” the ERS impact assessment report reads. “These jobs are well-paid, skilled, professional and not seasonal. They and the indirect jobs will make York Potash an important part of the local community.”

With unemployment within the borough of Scarborough currently standing at around 7.6%, many youngsters believe they must leave the area to gain well-paid employment, but the developers suggest the mine has the potential to significantly alter this perception. The report quotes “aspirational figures” which state York Potash employees will represent 2% of the entire working age population of the borough during construction. This will amount to one in every five construction workers in the borough helping to build the Doves Nest mine.

Wages paid to these workers throughout the ‘phase one’ £1.3 billion construction process will amount to £111.5 million, with the same amount paid to non-local workers. Then, during ‘phase two’, an extra £175 million is expected to be paid to local workers over a seven-year period.

By comparison in 2010 tourism across the National Park was worth £416 million to the local economy, supporting 7,813 jobs.

Employees who do not work in the town could also add an extra £12 million to the Whitby and Scarborough economy, as they spend their wages on accommodation and leisure activities.

These incoming workers may choose to use accommodation available in Whitby, but the company also has plans to erect a temporary site - possibly using an expanded Whitby Business Park - where contractors could stay. A spokesperson for York Potash said: “We don’t want all the holiday accommodation in the area booked up for the year, stopping tourists coming in.”

When the mine is operational, the company say they are committed to achieving 80% of direct employment roles filled by local workers. It is estimated that during the first phase of production the mine will create 743 direct jobs at the mine and processing plant, comprising 434 at the pithead, 189 at the processing plant, and 120 providing administrative support.

Staff will share between £20 million in salaries, rising to £28 million by 2024.

With huge wages figures such as these being quoted, the mine has the potential to halt the exodus of young people away from the area. This could increase “the vibrancy and vitality” of the communities and bolster local services such as the rail network and hospitals. The report adds that the “cascade of wealth from additional disposable income” will lead to a greater “pride and sense of well-being” within the area for many generations.

York Potash’s planning application can be viewed the North York Moors National Park’s Planning Portal. It is application NYM/2013/0062/MEIA.