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Hochtief Murphy to build 37km long tunnel

View of temporary mine heads in the National Park

The team behind Crossrail’s C310 Thames Tunnel is set to build a conveyor system to Teesside. 

The Hochtief Murphy joint venture will build a 37km long tunnel to transport polyhalite, a multi-nutrient mineral, from Britain’s first new potash mine in 40 years.

Excavated to 360m, the tunnel will house a conveyor belt that will transport potash from the mine near Whitby to a processing plant in Teesside. 

Sirius Minerals, the company responsible for the project, estimates that there are 250M.t of polyhalite in the new mining area. 

Three tunnel boring machines (TBMs) will be used to undertake the work, according to a project summary from Sirius. Two machines will meet at the mid-point between Lockwood Beck and the main mine site, with the tunnel’s vertical alignment located in the low permeability Redcar Mudstone strata.

The route avoids shallow aquifers used in agriculture and abandoned stone mines in the Esk Valley and Guisborough areas. At Wilton, the tunnel rises to ground level through highly weathered sandstone with a glacial sill overlay, says the report. The reports states that the tunnel is mostly in competent rock, and will be lined with pre-cast concrete segments. 

MTS route potash

The TBM route from Wilton to the mine site

Source: Sirius Minerals

Hochtief Murphy’s first task on the project will be a Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) process where designs and project budget will be refined further.

“Some additional geotechnical information will inform this process but work on this element is expected to commence on site soon after the formal award of the contract,” said a statement from Sirius. 

“This is the culmination of a huge amount of work by both the successful bidders and those that have been unsuccessful and we thank all of the groups involved for their efforts,” said Sirius managing director and CEO Sirius Chris Fraser. “We are delighted to now be moving forward with our selected partners towards the implementation of the project.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The name of the place is Teesside, not Teeside!

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  • Well spotted, Simon. It's updated now! Tom

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