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Sirius Minerals says deals could see it deliver 2.78 million tonnes of polyhalite every year
THE firm behind a proposed £1.5bn mine on a national park has secured a raft of international sales deals to deliver 750,000 tonnes of potash every year.
Sirius Minerals, which wants to mine polyhalite, a form of the fertiliser potash, under the North York Moors, near Whitby, says it has signed agreements with companies in China, Latin America and Africa.
Bosses say the deals emphasise the global demand for polyhalite, and, added to existing contracts, will see the firm supply 2.78 million tonnes every year if the mine is approved by planning officials.
The new contracts will see Sinoagri, which is one of China's largest fertiliser distributors, receive 500,000 tonnes of polyhalite every year in a ten-year partnership, with 250,000 tonnes sent every year to firms in Latin America and Africa.
Earlier this year, Sirius signed a deal with Chinese firm Yunnan TCT Yong-Zhe to supply one million tonnes of polyhalite every year from 2017.
Bosses says the mine, known as the York Potash Project, could create at least 1,000 direct jobs in the area.
Chris Fraser, Sirius managing director and chief executive, said: “This is a further demonstration of the significant global demand for polyhalite from the York Potash Project.
“We have only been formally marketing polyhalite for nine months, so to have secured agreements covering almost 60 per cent of the initial production target of five million tonnes a year and to be in discussions that could see us potentially over sold, is extremely encouraging.”
Last month, Sirius revealed it had made a pre-tax loss of £14.6m in the year ending March 31, down from £63.1m last year, as the York Potash Project continues to be stalled by planning delays.
The business admitted it has no prospect of edging into profit until the mine opens.
A decision on the planning application for the development, which was due to be considered by the North York Moors National Park Authority in late July, has been deferred indefinitely to allow Sirius to deal with questions over the work's environmental impact and the potential for it to be located away from national park land.
The company says it will provide an update in the coming weeks.
Graham Clarke, Sirius operations director at Sirius, said: “Work is going on in the background to progress the planning work but we want to have as accurate picture as possible before providing a further update on time scales.
“We remain extremely confident of a positive outcome given the progress we are making.”
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