York Potash firm gets promotion

Sirius Minerals, the company behind the £10bn York Potash mine, is to be promoted to the FTSE 250 index in a move that will boost the company's profile.

The mine, which is set to bring around 1,000 jobs to North Yorkshire, has faced serious concerns about its effect on the environment

Sirius will join the FTSE 250 on June 19, but it wasn’t such good news for ​​Hikma Pharmaceuticals​ and​ Intu Properties​, which are to be demoted from the FTSE 100 and will be replaced by ​G4S​ and​ Segro​ in the latest quarterly reshuffle.

A spokesperson for London Stock Exchange said institutional investors that offer retail funds, which explicitly benchmark the FTSE 100, FTSE 250, FTSE SmallCap and FTSE All-Share indices, account for almost £50bn of investment. Over 60 per cent of this is held in tracker funds that are obliged to purchase the constituents of these indices.

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Sirius Minerals has been on a long and arduous journey to gets its North Yorkshire polyhalite mine off the ground.

The group now says the £1bn first phase of ​its​ mine development near Whitby is on time and on budget​.

The firm moved its shares to the main market in April. At the time the group said a premium listing would support ​its​ long-term strategy​ and provide ​it with a better platform for growth​.

It added that​ ​the move is in keeping with the nationally significant nature ​its North Yorkshire polyhalite project and its market capitalisation, which ​stands at nearly £1.2bn.

​The move raised the ​c​ompany’s global profile, increased its trading liquidity and provided ​it with a greater range of potential investors.

The promotion to the FTSE 250 index in the June reshuffle will be a big bonus for the thousands of small Yorkshire shareholders who have backed the project from the start.

Inclusion in the FTSE 250 is expected to boost the firm’s share price​, which rose 5 per cent on Tuesday to close at 30p.

Analyst Yuen Low at Shore Capital said: “Sirius is developing the paradigm-shifting North Yorkshire polyhalite project in England.”

Sirius’ CEO Chris Fraser has gained local trust after going to extraordinary lengths to safeguard the natural beauty of the North Yorks Moors national park.

The mine, which is set to bring around 1,000 jobs to North Yorkshire, has faced serious concerns about its effect on the environment, but Mr Fraser has simply bowed to local worries and found a workable solution.

Five years ago he moved his family from Australia to Yorkshire as he set about building his dream.

The mine has been named the “Woodsmith Mine”, in honour of the two geologists who played a key role in the development of the site, Peter Woods and Rick Smith.

Speaking at a plaque unveiling ceremony, Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy said​ the mine is a real vote of confidence in the economic potential of the Northern Powerhouse.

“The Woodsmith Mine has the potential to create over a thousand jobs and generate billions of pounds of exports for the region, and so I’m excited to see it progress​,” he said.​

“This is a project of national importance.”

​Mr​ Fraser​ believes the project will be transformational in terms of the economic benefits it can bring.​ It already has customers lined up to take 80​ per cent​ of its initial output​.​