Cleveland Potash has advanced a proposal that potash production at its Boulby mine is expected to end in six months time, as the transition to the mining of polyhalite is completed.
Ceasing potash production is likely to result in the loss of a significant number of jobs and the company says it is beginning consultation with its trade unions regarding the implications.
The company’s acting Managing Director, Andrew Fulton, stressed that the move to polyhalite was vital to secure the mine’s future and that despite the anticipated job losses, it would remain East Cleveland’s biggest employer.
He said: “When we first announced our restructuring plans two years ago, we made it clear that potash reserves were close to the end and, at the point when they were exhausted, we would make the transition to polyhalite production, with the inevitable impact on our workforce levels.
"At this stage, it is not possible to be precise regarding the numbers involved. We are committed to keeping job losses to a minimum and will be discussing the implications with our trade union. However, job losses could be in the region of 230. "
He added: “We understand that this will be a difficult time for our workforce and their families. However, with the end of potash production, we have to concentrate on polyhalite production in order to ensure that we remain a viable business and are able to continue to make a major contribution to the local economy.”