Sirius secures £1bn of funding for Whitby potash mine project

The proposed potash mine near Whitby
The proposed potash mine near Whitby
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A PROJECT by Sirius Minerals to build a Yorkshire potash mine is set to create up to 2,500 jobs after the firm secured a total of 1.2 billion US dollars (£965 million) in funding.

The fundraising will go towards the construction of one of Britain’s biggest mines near Whitby.

Schematic drawing of the Yorkshire potash mine which is due to be built in the North York Moors National Park near Whitby

Schematic drawing of the Yorkshire potash mine which is due to be built in the North York Moors National Park near Whitby

Around 2,000 construction jobs will be created and a further 2,500 will be employed when the plant is fully operational, expected to be in 2021.

Sirius will fire the starting gun on construction in January and, once completed, the mine will produce polyhalite, which can be used as a fertiliser.

A 37-kilometre underground tunnel is to be built to take the polyhalite from the mine to a processing plant on Teesside.

Shares in the company fell​ 10 per cent on the news that the group plans to raise £755m by ​issuing new shares and bonds​ that will be sold off for between 20​p​ and 30p - ​considerably below Wednesday's closing price of 33.25p.

​Sirius has already secured ​£245m from Australia’s richest woman, ​Gina Rinehart.

The new shares will be offered first to investors who already hold shares in the company.

Chief executive Chris Fraser said: “It's been a long journey to this point, and we still have some way to go, but I want to thank everyone who has supported the company in its efforts to reach this major milestone.

“Once we have received shareholder approval, we want to get on with the job of delivering this compelling value proposition, not only for our shareholders but also for the North Yorkshire community."

Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy MP said: “Today’s launch of Stage 1 financing for Sirius Minerals’ North Yorkshire polyhalite mining project is a very welcome sign of progress.

“We support their efforts to help make the north a world leader in the multi‐nutrient fertiliser industry.

“Already foreign direct investment projects are up nearly a quarter on the previous year and today’s announcement is another vote of confidence in the Northern Powerhouse.”

Redcar MP Anna Turley said: “This financing news is great for Teesside. Sirius Minerals’ polyhalite project is very well supported locally and we are looking forward to seeing the start of construction.

“Sirius can become a significant business for both the area and the UK for generations to come and the jobs and investment they are bringing to Teesside are very welcome.”

However, environmentalists and organisations including the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and the National Trust have campaigned against the building of the mine.

Last year, objections to the mine were raised by a consortium of 29 campaign groups which joined forces to urge the councillors and other panel members to reject the proposals, saying the mine was a “huge threat” to the North York Moors.

WH Ireland ​In Leeds ​was one of the ​c​o-​l​ead ​m​anagers​ on the funding.