Chinese deals provide boost for mining project that could create 4,000 jobs

SIRIUS Minerals, the company behind a giant polyhalite mine in Yorkshire which is expected to create 4,000 jobs, has signed a fertilizer supply agreement in China.

The Red Arrows fly over the site of Sirius Minerals' mining project in North Yorkshire

The mine project is one of the largest private sector investments in the North of England. Bosses at Sirius believe the new mine will help to regenerate the Redcar Steelworks site, as well as providing a major post-Brexit boost to the UK economy. Sirius is developing the Woodsmith Mine in North Yorkshire, which will extract the world’s largest and highest grade supply of polyhalite.

The company has high hopes for its POLY4 product, a multi-nutrient fertilizer which can be used to increase balanced fertilization around the world. Sirius has signed long-term supply agreements with two new Chinese customers. In a statement, Sirius said: “This announcement builds on the company’s strong position in Asia, having signed multiple deals across the region with distributors including leading agri-business Wilmar Group, one of the largest and most established fertilizer buyers and distributors in South East Asia.”

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Sirius Minerals has announced the signing of binding take-or-pay supply agreements to supply POLY4 to Guangzhou Eiliseng Biotech Co Ltd and Yantai Service Agricultural Science and Technology Co Ltd .

Chris Fraser, managing director and CEO of Sirius, said: “China is a key market for POLY4 and we are very pleased to have signed agreements with new customers who both have established fertilizer distribution networks and expertise relevant to their respective regions.

“We look forward to working with Eiliseng and YSA to establish POLY4 as a long term sustainable fertilizer for use in both of their important agricultural regions in China.”

Analysts from Liberum said the deals are a significant step in de-risking the mine project. Mr Fraser said Sirius had a lot of shareholders in Yorkshire.

He added: “The support base we have in the community is fantastic.”

At full production, Sirius believes the project will contribute £2.3 billion annually to UK GDP and create £2.5bn of annual exports. Supporters also claim it will reduce the UK’s trade deficit by seven per cent. Sirius has built the top of the service shaft at the Woodsmith Mine and work has now started on the production shaft.