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Yorkshire potash mine cost driven up by tunnelling works

Potash mine

The cost of Yorkshire’s potash mine tunnel is set to soar by 70% to almost £1.5bn, it has been revealed.

The entire cost of delivering the potash mine scheme has now risen to £4.2bn from £3.6bn, developer Sirius Mineral announced while revealing new contractors on the project.

An increase in the planned internal diameter of the tunnel from 4.3m to 4.9m and an increase in lining thickness from 250mm to 350mm has caused the price of tunnelling to rise from £858M to over £1.46bn.

The news comes as Austrian civils company Strabag has been awarded all three contracts for the 23 mile tunnelling job. In total, the contractor will deliver all three tunnel drives to transport excavated polyhalite mineral away from the site.

Meanwhile Jacobs has been awarded a EPC contract to deliver the materials handling facility planned at Wilton.

Chris Fraser, Managing Director and CEO of Sirius, said: “The signing of the contracts for the remaining tunnel drives and the materials handling facility at Wilton are significant steps forward for the business with almost all procurement now complete.

“The expected increased funding requirement coming from this process reflects an optimisation of the tunnel design and a significantly improved risk allocation for Sirius to support the senior debt financing.

“The project’s economics remain extremely compelling and we are confident they support the expected additional funding requirement.” 

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