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Cleveland Potash unveils 40 year development plan

Cleveland Potash have revealed £300m development plans to extend workings for the next 40 years.

CPL has unveiled plans for their Boulby Boulby site in East Cleveland which would extend workings and effectively create a ‘new mine’ for the next 40 years.

The company also expects that its workforce will increase over 120 to a total of around 1068 by the end of this year, rising to around 1221 by the end of 2015.

Parent company ICL (Israel Chemicals Ltd) has approved plans which will see approximately £300million invested in the next five years on installing state of the art underground equipment, as well as updating the surface plant and Teesport operations.

The developments are due to begin this summer with a £16m programme to replace the Rock Shaft Tower at Boulby.

The new tower is expected to significantly increase the site’s maximum production potential.

The company is also set to enter into discussions with the North York Moors National Park Authority to extend its current planning permission, which runs until 2023, for a further 40 years.

They will also discuss taking up the option of a 20-year extension to its lease on its facility at Teesport.

Cleveland Potash General Manager Phil Baines said: “Cleveland Potash has been East Cleveland’s biggest business and biggest employer for many years and this announcement makes clear we will be here for many more years to come.

“The construction of the new Rock Shaft Tower this summer will increase the potential maximum amount of ore we can lift each year to around 5.3million tonnes compared to the current maximum of 4.3million.

“Our present combination of potash resources and reserves totals around 70 to 80 million tonnes, but following a major exploration programme—including a £4million offshore seismic survey—we expect this figure will increase significantly over the new few years.

“Our plan is to extend operations out to the east in parallel to the area worked over the past 40 years—effectively providing a ‘new mine’ for the next 40 years.

“In addition, of course, we estimate that we have access to at least a billion tonnes of polyhalite which can be developed dependent on market conditions.

“Polyhalite is a lower grade source of potash—it contains only about a quarter of the levels included in the potash ore we process—and it has to be said that currently market demand for polyhalite as a fertiliser is relatively low.

“As yet there does not appear to be an economically viable route to process the raw material into other chemical products, although CPL and ICL are continuing research work.

“As part of our development plan we are working with a number of universities to research best practice and techniques—and, in partnership with Edinburgh University and the American and European space organisations NASA and ESA, we are also facilitating the world’s first investigation into how astrobiology and space technologies can be used to enhance mineral extraction and mining safety.”

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