Sirius moves forward on York Potash exploration in UK national park

10 May 2011 17:51  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Global mining company Sirius Minerals is moving forward with its York Potash project in the UK and has submitted two borehole applications to the North York Moors National Park (NYM), a park spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.

Sirius bought UK-based York Potash in January 2011 and announced plans to explore a 600sqkm (232 square mile) area between Scarborough and Whitby, on the northeast coast of England.

The borehole applications are within NYM, where roughly two thirds of Sirius’s mineral rights lie.

“These first two [boreholes] are right on top of hills [within the park], so it’s out of the question for anything of a permanent nature to be set up there,” Chris France, of NYM, said.

France said the preference is for the head of the potash mine to be outside the park but because boreholes are temporary and will not impact landscape in the long-term, it was likely the borehole applications would be accepted.

Eight more borehole applications are expected to be made before June, when an NYM committee will assess the submissions.

A Sirius spokesman indicated it was too early to state with any certainty the most viable location for a potash mine without results from the boreholes.

While the borehole applications are in line with Sirius’s timeline for the project, the company “is working to move the project forward as quickly as it can”, according to spokesman Gareth Edmunds. Reasons include the firming price of potash and substantial increases in demand.

A fully-operational potash mine in NYP would require further government approval and France believes Sirius will submit a formal proposal by January 2012. The new mine would take several years to build and become fully operational.

Sirius Minerals’ website says an exploration target “of between 330m and 400m tonnes of 35% to 40% potassium chloride (MOP)” has been established for the York Potash project.

It also notes that reserves include an impressive amount of polyhalite, a base mineral from which sulphate of potash can be produced. 

For more information on potash, visit ICIS pricing fertilizers

By: Lauren Williamson
+44 (0) 20 8652 3214

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