HALF a million tonnes of potash mined from under North Yorkshire will be sent to the US every year if plans for a mine near Whitby get the go ahead.

Sirius Minerals, the firm behind the York Potash Project, has completed a “take or pay” supply agreement with a Fortune 500 US-based agri-business.

The agreement is for the sale of at least 500,000 tonnes a year of the potash mineral polyhalite, for an initial period of five years with a possible renewal for a further five years.

Chris Fraser, managing director of Sirius, said: “There can be no greater endorsement of the market for polyhalite or importance of the Yorkshire Coast to the world’s fertiliser industry than a multi-year take or pay offtake agreement with such a significant global agri-business.”

Potash, which is used as a plant fertilizer, will be mined from the North York Moors National Park at a sunken head mine near Sneaton, if planning permission is granted by the national park planning authority in summer this year.

Prior to planning permission Sirius has already secured agreements and commitments for customers to purchase a total of 4.8 million tonnes a year of polyhalite from the York Potash Project.