SIRIUS MINERALS has announced plans to raise more than US$900m to fund its plans to mine a world-leading mineral deposit in the UK to produce fertiliser.
The launch of its financing plan comes as the company seeks to begin construction of a mine in North Yorkshire and a processing facility in Teesside to produce fertiliser from what it believes is the world’s largest high-grade polyhalite deposit.
Plans are to mine polyhalite1500m below ground and then transport it 37km along a high capacity underground conveyor system to the project’s granulation facility at the Wilton International site in Teesside. Here, the polyhalite – which provides four essential nutrients for plant growth including potassium, sulphur, magnesium and calcium – will be crushed and granulated into fertiliser.
High pressure grinding rollers in a closed circuit with air classifiers will reduce the polyhalide to 200 microns. The resulting powder will then be fed into a pin mixer where water and binder will be added, before passing to a disk granulator and then a drier. Finally, the granules will be polished with a wax coating.
From here, the finished product will be transported on a covered conveyor belt system to the local harbour for export.
The company already has sales commitments signed with buyers in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.
The plan is for a phased start up of the project, with construction set to begin next year and then first production scheduled to begin in 2021, increasing to 10m t/y in 2024, and 20m t/y in 2026. It expects to raise another US$1.8bn to fund the expansion.
Sirius Minerals has been keen to stress the low impact design of the mine, with the majority of infrastructure installed underground, and trees added to the surroundings to screen surface buildings from view.
The company says the deposit is large enough to mine for more than 50 years. If successful, it will help bolster a region that has suffered recent job losses at the ICL mine in Boulby as well the thousands lost at the closure of the steelworks in Redcar last year.
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