Business leaders from throughout Redcar and Cleveland met to discuss the importance of continuing investment in the borough and its positive impact on the economy and local jobs.
The event, held at The Wilton Centre, was the latest top-level networking and presentation event held by the Redcar | Cleveland Ambassadors programme.
The Ambassadors are committed to increasing business investment in the borough and positioning Redcar and Cleveland as a great place to live, enjoy and do business.
A new website dedicated to the showcasing the best of the borough www.redcarcleveland.co.uk, was also launched.
PD Ports chief executive Frans Calje and chair of the place board, hosted the event.
He said: “I recognise the socio-economic problems in our area but we are no different from many other places. It’s about how you bounce back.
“The big companies and council who have launched the place marketing board can’t do it all alone. We need firms of all sizes and the local people to get on board and talk up the area. The momentum will build and the results will follow.”
Following Frans was a presentation from Daren Smith, site director of SABIC (pictured above), who outlined the Saudi-owned company’s £400m contribution to the economy and its on-going commitment to the borough, from community investment projects to a locally-focused recruitment policy.
Daren commented: “If we don’t talk up the area, if we don’t say what we can do, if I can’t walk into our headquarters in Riyadh and say what Redcar and Cleveland can deliver, then shame on me.
“We have a thriving apprenticeship and graduate trainee scheme and we have a policy of recruiting from the region.
“Local people are committed to the area where they grew up, where their families live and where they will put down their own roots. I know we have the skills and enthusiasm in this area to continue our success.”
Sirius Minerals’ Duncan Smith provided an updated on the progress of the polyhalite project , the benefits it will bring to the region and the company’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact.
The project will see polyhalite, an element in fertiliser, mined south of Whitby and transported to the currently-under construction material handling facility in Wilton via a 37km underground conveyor system.
At the handling facility, the polyhalite will be processed into fertiliser before being exported throughout the world.
The ambitious project will create 4.500 jobs and be worth an estimated £2 billion to the UK economy.
Duncan said: “Our mine is in a National Park so we are very conscious of minimising its impact.
“Once complete, most of the plant’s operational facilities will be underground and we’re limiting the number of wagons that will go to and from the site.
“It’s a real first and there are people all over the world watching how it develops.
“We’ve had to raise the thick end of four billion dollars to make this project real and have presold some 8 million tonnes of fertiliser already. Almost a third of the funding we have secured to fund the construction will be spent on ensuring we are as low impact as possible.”