Sirius Minerals 'ticks all our boxes' and our offer is 'fair and reasonable', says Anglo American boss

The boss of the global mining giant bidding to take control of Sirius Minerals has said his firm has the capacity to take its products around the world and that he wants the firm to be “part of the future of Yorkshire”.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 12:00 pm

Mark Cutifani, chief executive of Anglo American, said that he and his firm saw huge potential in the Sirius mining project which aims to extract polyhalite from a mile near Whitby for use in fertiliser production, and said that his firm had the capacity, connections and personnel to take the product into global markets.

Anglo American officially submitted a £405m rescue bid for troubled Scarborough-based Sirius Minerals this week, which has been struggling to raise financing for the project which will support some 4,000 jobs in the region.

Here's what MP Robert Goodwill will be asking Anglo American to doSpeaking to The Yorkshire Post, Mr Cutifani said Sirius “ticks all of our boxes” and that he believed his firm’s bid represented the best chance of delivering the scheme.

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He said that Anglo American could offer support beyond financing for Sirius, pointing to its expertise in marketing, production and logistics.

And, while acknowledging that Anglo American’s offer would represent a loss to some shareholders, he said he was hopeful that those involved would see the long-term benefits the project would bring to North Yorkshire’s economy.

Speaking during a visit to the mine, Mr Cutifani said: “Across the rest of the industry we have been making the biggest productivity gains over the last five years.

"We have got people on the ground that can support them logistically because we are going to have to get into a lot of markets. We think the infrastructure we have already built provides a running start for the team.

“And finally the financial side of things and the balance sheet we bring. It is so difficult to develop this kind of project if you are a single mine company. Having somebody like Anglo

American that has a business worth more than $40bn, that financial support is very important.

"I think we could provide a lot of certainty to the project and that is important for everyone.”

Mr Cutifani had high praise for the Sirius management team and said the believed CEO Chris Fraser had “left no stone unturned” in terms of looking to secure financing.

Shareholders in Sirius have been offered 5.5p a share by Anglo American. The peak price of a Sirius share was 45p, in August 2016.

However Mr Cutifani said that given the level of risk his firm considered the offer to be “fair and reasonable”.