Plans for the world’s largest potash mine have been approved by Members of the North York Moors National Park Authority (NYMNPA).
Sirius Minerals the company behind the new $1.7bn (£1.1bn) mine at Dove’s Nest Farm near Whitby, said that there will be visible temporary mine heads in the park however the majority of permenant infrastructure would be located underground with the development of an underground mineral transport system from the mine to a proposed new materials handling facility at Wilton on Teesside.
NYMNPA chief executive Andy Wilson said: “I appreciate that there will be many disappointed by today’s decision but Members felt that the long term benefits for the local, regional and national economy were transformational. This truly exceptional nature plus the measures proposed by the company to mitigate harm and deliver widespread environmental benefits to the Park over a long period of time tipped the balance in favour of approval.”
In defence of the scheme the company said that the new potash facility could create up to 1,000 jobs in the local area and that the landscape would be compensated for the harmful impacts of the scheme. It said that the funding would be used for a variety of projects including tree planting and increased promotion of the wider North York Moors to potential visitors.
Potash is one of the main sources of polyhalite, a naturally occurring mineral used in fertilizer for widespread commercial farming.
The North York Moors, was made a national park in 1952 and is a very sensitive and highly protected landscape.