Plans for £1bn potash mine move major step closer

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THE company behind plans for a £1bn potash mine in a national park is due to be granted permission this week to extract the mineral from beneath the sea bed off the Yorkshire coast.

York Potash confirmed yesterday the Marine Management Organisation, the public body that regulates the seas around England, has notified the company it has approved the application for an offshore license, subject to appropriate conditions. But the firm will only be able to extract potash from under the seabed if it receives permission for the mine, which is earmarked for farmland in the North York Moors National Park near the village of Sneaton.

York Potash’s parent company, Sirius Minerals, confirmed it is finalising a planning application for the mine and expects to submit it to the North York Moors National Park Authority before the end of January.

Plans for the mine were unveiled in January 2011 and exploratory drilling work has since pinpointed one of the world’s most extensive seams of potash, a key component in fertiliser. The deposits are seen as a hugely important source of potash to help boost crop yields while satiating global food demand.