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Potash mine firm Sirius Minerals was part of Government’s trade mission to China
A POTASH company aiming to build a £1.5 billion mine hopes to expand its global reach after visiting China to strengthen its order book.
Sirius Minerals, the firm behind the York Potash Project, was part of the Government’s East Asian trade mission to bolster its position across the international potash market.
The company wants to mine polyhalite, a form of the fertiliser potash, under the North York Moors National Park, near Whitby.
It already has deals with Chinese firms to export millions of tonnes of the product every year.
The mine plans, which the company says will create at least 1,000 jobs, have been deferred until next year after Sirius requested more time to deal with environmental concerns.
However, bosses say the China visit proved its plans were viable across the world, and remain confident its mine proposals will be passed by planning officials next year.
Chris Fraser, Sirius’ managing director, said: “The long-term demand for potash remains very strong.
“That is particularly so in emerging economies like China, where the middle-class population continue to grow rapidly.
“This has been demonstrated by the commitments for our future product and we were delighted to be part of the Government delegation that will help to develop trade relationships.
Earlier this year, Sirius revealed agreements with companies in China, which will see it supply millions of tonnes of polyhalite a year if the mine is approved.
Deals are also in place for thousands of tonnes to be sent to Latin America and Africa every year.
Steps towards the physical production of potash took a step forward last week as Sirius submitted an application to the Planning Inspectorate to build a material handling plant and wharf facility in Teesside.
Sirius plans to used a buried pipeline to transport the mineral from the mine near Whitby to Teesside for processing and distribution. Once processed, the mineral would be distributed in bulk via the existing port access to world markets, or via road and rail routes to UK customers.
Prior to getting planning permission Sirius has to apply to the Planning Inspectorate for a development consent order (DCO).
In its application the company has requested permission for the installation of wharf facilities and associated plant capable of loading bulk dry material at a rate of 12 million tons per annum.
Once the application has been submitted, the Planning Inspectorate examines it then makes a recommendation to government who will decide whether or not to grant a DCO.
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