THE company behind a £3.2billion fertiliser mine near Whitby, Sirius Minerals, has received a proposal from a ‘major global financial institution’ to fund the second stage of the project.

Production of polyhalite is due to begin at Woodsmith Mine in 2021, employing up to 1,000 people when it reaches full production.

Minerals will be transported along a 23-mile tunnel from Whitby to a processing facility at Wilton International in Redcar, Teesside.

Sirius said it had received a conditional, alternative proposal from a major global financial institution to finance the second stage of the project.

It said the new proposal contained an alternative senior debt structure which would replace the structure envisaged in the prior negotiations, that began back in 2016.

“The company believes that the alternative proposal potentially offers a more flexible and attractive solution to its stage 2 financing requirements and therefore it is pausing discussions with its existing prospective lenders to pursue the alternative proposal,” it said in a statement.

“A number of options for the additional non-senior debt financing requirement, as previously outlined in the company’s announcement of 6 September 2018, continue to be progressed.”

It told investors it was working to obtain firm commitments for the new proposal and any additional financing before the end of April.

“The company is working towards obtaining firm commitments for the Alternative Proposal and its additional financing requirements before the end of April 2019.

“The Alternative Proposal is subject to the finalisation of the Financial Institution’s due diligence and internal approvals.”

The Press reported back in 2011 how Sirius Minerals plc had bought the mining project from York Potash Ltd, which was investigating the technical viability of introducing the first new deep potash mine in Britain for 40 years, and the deal meant it would get cash backing.