Changes are in the pipeline over £1bn scheme for potash mining

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THE COMPANY behind controversial plans for a mining operation in a Yorkshire national park has admitted the much-delayed project could take even longer to build if permission is granted.

It emerged yesterday that changes have been made to a proposed underground transport system under revised plans for the potash mine which are set to be submitted to the North York Moors National Park Authority.

York Potash announced it will begin public talks next month on the new proposals as it prepares to submit a revised planning application for the mining operation at Sneaton, near Whitby.

It is now planned to replace a previous pipeline scheme for carrying polyhalite between the mine earmarked for farmland in the North York Moors National Park and the port operations in Teesside with an underground mineral transport system that will contain linked conveyor belts to move the material.

Concerns had been voiced over the firm’s initial plans to transport potash, a key component of fertiliser, through some of Britain’s most sensitive protected environments – but the company claims the new transport system will minimise the impact on the environment.

However, Gareth Edmunds, the head of external affairs at York Potash’s parent company, Sirius Minerals, admitted that the scheme may take longer to build if permission is granted.

He said: “We are talking about a four-year construction period and we spoke previously about three to four years. We think it will be up to a four-year construction.”

York Potash announced last year that its application had been delayed to ensure environmental information for the entire project – including the proposed mine, pipeline, materials handling plant and port – was available at the same time.

The first public exhibition on the new plans will be held on Wedesday next week at Sneaton Village Hall from 2pm until 7pm, before more meetings are held across a series of village and parish halls including Low Hawsker, Sleights Egton Moorsholm and Guisborough.

More information is available by visiting www.yorkpotash.co.uk.