THE COMPANY behind plans for a major potash mine in the North York Moors revealed yesterday that it has submitted its revised proposals for planning permission, which it expects to be considered early next year.
York Potash said it has submitted new proposals for the proposed mine at Sneaton, near Whitby, which officers at the national park say they understand if operating at full capacity of 13 million tonnes of polyhalite ore per year would be the world’s largest potash mine in terms of the amount of potash extracted.
Chris France, director of planning at the North York Moors National Park Authority, said yesterday: “We will approach the new application with an open mind and the proposed development will be determined in the context of our local plan policies and government policy which is that major development should not take place in National Parks unless there are exceptional circumstances of public interest.
“I want to assure people that we will take all relevant considerations into account before reaching any decision,” Mr France said.
The proposal involves the building of two 1,500 metre deep mine shafts with associated development on land, near Sneaton, the extraction of polyhalite from beneath a large area in the east of the national park and the building of a 250 metre deep tunnel running 37 kilometres from the mine to Teesside where the mineral would be dealt with for export.
The proposals will be considered by both North York Moors National Park Authority and Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.
Chris Fraser, managing director and CEO of Sirius Minerals, York Potash’s parent company, said yesterday: “We believe we have a compelling planning case that clearly demonstrates that the York Potash Project can deliver exceptional economic benefits, not only locally here in North Yorkshire and in Teesside but also for the wider UK economy.”
York Potash announced last year 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.
It is planning to replace a previous pipeline scheme for carrying polyhalite between the national park and Teesside with an underground 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.
The authority is keen to hear people’s views before it makes a decision.
Notices will be placed in local newspapers and on the authority’s website www.northyorkmoors.org.uk.