200 more jobs announced as fertiliser mining operations ramp up

Anglo American’s Crop Nutrients business has announced the creation of 200 new jobs at its Woodsmith Mine near Whitby.

The jobs will be made available over the coming months as the company begins to sink the main mineshafts to the polyhalite ore body, over a mile beneath the surface.

Polyhalite is a form of potash containing potassium, sulphur, magnesium and calcium. The product will be used by farmers to help improve crop yields.

The announcement comes after shareholders voted to approve a £405m bid by Anglo American to buy troubled mining company Sirius Minerals in March this year.

The vote on the 5.5p-per-share offer required thousands of small investors to accept losses of up to 90%.

Sirius, which had already invested heavily in this mining project, warned it would go into administration by the end of March if the deal was not approved.

Anglo American says it now needs to fill a wide range of roles, from specialist engineers, surveyors and skilled trades, to non-specialist construction worker roles, and hopes that as many vacancies as possible can be filled by local people.

Simon Carter, chief development officer of the Woodsmith Project, said: “This area has a rich mining heritage going back several centuries, so it’s a real honour for us to be building on that history with our 21st century mine.

“We are building a project that people can be proud of and is providing opportunities for local people. These new jobs are another example of us doing that.”

The roles will become available in stages over the next few months and will include jobs both working directly for Anglo American and for its construction contractors.

Carter added: “It’s an incredibly exciting time for the project and a great opportunity for the right people.

“They’ll be helping to build the first new mine in the UK for a generation, the deepest mine in Europe, and the first mine in the world to be designed to blend into the landscape.”

Anglo American is sinking two mineshafts into the polyhalite ore using huge shaft boring machines, which cut the rock, remove the material, and line the shaft as they go.

A second 360m deep shaft, to allow a tunnel boring machine to be lowered into the ground to excavate the mineral transport tunnel to Teesside, is being sunk with conventional drill and blast technology.

When the mine is complete, extracted polyhalite ore will be hoisted up the production shaft and transferred to the mineral transport tunnel, which will carry the ore on a 23-mile long underground conveyor belt to a processing plant on Teesside, avoiding any impact on the countryside above.

From there, it will be shipped around the world and sold to farmers as a natural fertiliser