Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen is calling on the Government to offer “full backing” for the £2.2bn Sirius Minerals potash mine that is expected to create 2,500 jobs between its operations near Whitby and Redcar.
Mr Houchen is urging the Treasury to guarantee $2bn of the $3bn financing Sirius Minerals needs to extract the fertiliser polyhalite at Woodsmith Mine near Whitby before processing at Wilton.
A Treasury guarantee would mean that lenders will be repaid in full and on time, irrespective of the project’s performance, transferring the risk to the Government in return for a fee. The Government scheme was set up following the 2008 financial crisis to make sure important infrastructure projects could access the capital they need.
Once extracted, polyhalite would be taken to Sirius Minerals’ processing plant at Wilton via an underground transport system for global export.
Polyhalite is a high grade form of potash and multi-nutrient fertiliser which increases crop growth.
Sirius recently completed its purchase of a 284-acre site at Bran Sands, on the River Tees.
Houchen recently wrote to Chancellor Philip Hammond re-emphasising his support for the “transformative economic impact” the mine project would have on the local economy.
He wrote: “Sirius Minerals’ project is the single largest private investment in the North right now and undoubtedly one of national importance.
“Thousands of jobs will be created and the Tees Valley stands to benefit enormously.
“Sirius Minerals’ decision to purchase Bran Sands and its material handling facility site at Wilton represents a huge vote of confidence in our area and our workforce.
“It is a move that will deliver real, visible results very soon and provide a solid basis for further expansion in the future.
“However for the project to proceed, this game-changing development needs the ongoing and full backing from Government.”
The business has started clearing land at Wilton for a storage and handling plant, which will process polyhalite before it is shipped to customers from an adjoining harbour known as Bran Sands.
WHAT IS POLY4?
POLY4 is the trademark name of Sirius Minerals’ flagship fertilizer product. Made from polyhalite, a naturally occuring mineral, it contains four of the six macro-nutrients that are essential to plant growth.
Using POLY4 as the source of potassium, sulphur, magnesium and calcium is more efficient and effective for farmers, delivering flexible and more sustainable fertilizer practices.
It allows farmers to maximise the economic potential of their land, in terms of crop yield, quality and soil structure with one simple product.