Potash mine could help ‘feed Africa’

Potash from Whitby may soon be used to fertilise areas of Tanzania
Potash from Whitby may soon be used to fertilise areas of Tanzania

Fertiliser from the Whitby area may soon be used to help feed Africa, it has been claimed.

Sirius Minerals, which hopes to construct a polyhalite mine near Whitby, has entered into a contract with the country of Tanzania, with the African state hoping to use the fertiliser to improve its agricultural industry.

Crops grown using Whitby polyhalite could then be exported to other African countries.

Chris Fraser, managing director of Sirius Minerals, said: “Agriculture plays a major role in the economy of Tanzania and indeed much of Africa and the large scale, low cost nature of the polyhalite from the York Potash Project could significantly improve accessibility and key nutrients across the continent.

“This could help to encourage better balanced fertilisation practices, leading to better productivity outcomes for farmers in the region and has the potential to positively impact millions of lives in Africa.”

The Memorandum of Understanding has been reached between Sirius Minerals and the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Co-operatives of the United Republic of Tanzania.

The arrangement will see collaboration relating to research on polyhalite to support its introduction into Tanzania.

Agriculture in that country, which has a population of around 45 million, has historically experienced under application of fertilisers due to inaccessibility of low cost fertiliser inputs.

It has been claimed that application of the correct fertiliser will raise crop yields and lead to significant social and economic benefits.

Mr Fraser added: “We are very pleased the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture has recognised the potential of polyhalite and welcome its support.

“Tanzania is recognised as one of the five key focus countries for the UK Government’s High Level Prosperity Partnerships for Africa programme and polyhalite from the York Potash Project could play a significant role in advancing this initiative.”

A series of public consultation events has this week been launched by Sirius Minerals across the Whitby area.

With a new planning application set to be submitted this month, the meetings are a final opportunities for Whitby residents to have their say on the proposals.