A STUDY has confirmed the viability of the first potash mine to be developed in Britain in 40 years, which would have Teesside as the likely location for its processing facilities.
York Potash is proposing a new deep mine between Whitby and Scarborough and has completed a Detailed Scoping Study (DSS) report.
The report estimates that the mine will cost around £1.6bn to commence production and when operating at full production it will create more than 1,000 direct jobs - most of which will be based at the mine.
The company intends to reduce the impact of the operation by transporting the mineral via an underground pipeline to a processing plant, which is likely to be in Teesside due to the area’s existing port infrastructure.
It has devised two possible design concepts for its mine shafts, above right, which would reduce the environmental and visual impact of the mine.
Graham Clarke, the company’s operations director, said: “These shaft concepts are a great step forward in helping us to create an acceptable proposal that best delivers all of the benefits that a new mine can bring.
“But there is still a lot of work to do and we will conduct extensive public consultation as soon as we have more detail.”
York Potash anticipates that it can construct the mine within a three-year timeframe which means production could start in 2017.
In addition to potash, the company plans to extract and sell by-product materials including magnesium sulphate products – often used by farmers across the world to correct soil deficiencies – and gypsum, the primary product used to manufacture plasterboard.
Chris Fraser, managing director and CEO of Sirius Minerals, the parent company of York Potash, said: “The study confirms the technical viability of the project and demonstrates how an innovative mine shaft design could maximise the benefits of the proposals and help to deliver construction quickly and efficiently.”
Currently the country’s only potash mine is based in East Cleveland - and it churns out more than a million tonnes every year.