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Confidence remains high for Potash planning approval
THE York Potash Project is going full steam behind the scenes - that was the message from Sirius Minerals chiefs yesterday.
Speaking at the firm’s Annual General Meeting at the Royal York Hotel, representatives from the project said despite a delay in the planning application, they are 100% confident the billion pound mine will go ahead eventually.
The presentation, made to an audience of around 200 people, looked at the achievements of the project to date including the discovery of the thickest and highest grade polyhalite ore reserve globally at the proposed mine site near Whitby.
Although situated within the North York Moors National Park, Sirius says it is confident of getting planning approval due to the number of jobs the mine will create - almost 2,000 by phase 2, and the prospective tax generation when the mine is operational.
The planning application to the national park’s planning authority was deferred last week, at the request of Sirius, until July next year.
The extra time is to allow the company to address several issues highlighted by the authorities including traffic assessment, landscape and visual impacts, tourism impacts, and question marks over the market for polyhalite - which is used as a plant fertiliser.
Speaking to The Press Chris Fraser, chief executive of Sirius, said: “Shareholders appreciated an opportunity to have the situation explained a bit more clearly than what can be put in a stock exchange announcement.
“We have a very clear road map provided by the authorities to address key issues on both environment and processing issues.
“We are working through that and will deliver all of that by the time we get the revised submission in by July. We are taking an approach that there will be no gaps and all issues will be dealt with.”
Work is also being done behind the scenes in preparation for the submission of applications for the proposed handling plant at Teesport, and connecting pipeline due to be submitted by August and November next year respectively.
Following a question from the floor, Mr Fraser confirmed that the company’s current low share price, as a result of recent announcements, compared to the high asset value of the project, means they are at risk of a “hostile takeover” however he hopes “that doesn’t become a reality”.
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