Sirius Minerals - Project Update

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29 June 2017  -  Sirius Minerals Plc : Quarterly update for Q2 2017

* The Project remains on time and on budget.

* Woodsmith Mine enabling works are now complete and site preparation works are well advanced.

* Diaphragm walling activities scheduled to commence in the third quarter of 2017.

* Main Board move completed with Premium Listing obtained and FTSE 250 inclusion achieved.

* Sirius Minerals Foundation has launched first grant giving programme.

Sirius Minerals Plc ("Sirius" or the "Company") provides its quarterly update on the development of its North Yorkshire polyhalite project (the "Project") for the first quarter of 2017. 

Chris Fraser, Managing Director and CEO of Sirius, comments:

"It has been a productive quarter with timely progress made on site preparation works in advance of shaft sinking commencing in quarter three.  The team on site and at our headquarters has grown considerably as we continue with the delivery of the Woodsmith Mine and its associated infrastructure."

Safety :

No recordable incidents were incurred during the period.  As on-ground activities intensify, safety vigilance becomes even more important and the Company's project team continues to increase its focus on safety matters as construction ramps up.

Cost and schedule :

The project remains on budget and on schedule. 

The Company continues to evaluate opportunities to accelerate components of the shaft and tunnel spend to further de-risk the implementation of the construction project, and potentially create opportunities for shortening the Project schedule.  Some shaft design optimisations have now been incorporated into the development plan and options to bring tunnelling activities forward are in commercial discussion with the preferred tunnelling contractor.  


Negotiations are nearing completion with AMC for the broader shaft sinking design and build contract.  The contract is expected to be executed in early Q3 2017 on terms consistent with those previously articulated to the market.  The Company is in discussions with the Hochtief Murphy Joint Venture in relation to agreements for early works activities which will form the foundation of the broader tunnelling programme.


On 4 May 2017, the Company was issued with its formal commencement of development notice from the North York Moors National Park Authority.  The Company continues to make good progress in clearing conditions required in advance of its rolling work programme.   

Site preparation:

Highways works around the Woodsmith Mine are complete.  Site access and initial ground water protection work is complete.  The main internal site access road has been laid and surfacing work is nearing completion.  The extension of the mine head platforms has commenced and the foundations for the on-site concrete batch plant are being built.  All tasks that require completion in advance of the commencement of initial shaft sinking activities are on schedule. 

Site preparation activities have commenced at Lockwood Beck - the site for an intermediate shaft for the mineral transport system.  This has included enablement highways works and general groundworks to support future shaft sinking. 

Geotechnical investigation:

The production shaft borehole is progressing with coring and testing completed to the 840m level.  The near surface geotechnical programme has now been completed and the results are being analysed and incorporated into the mine development design.  A programme of boreholes and seismic work to support the MTS design work has commenced.  Geotechnical drilling to help inform the shaft design at Lockwood Beck is also underway.   

Shaft sinking:

AMC is continuing detailed design of the shafts with a focus on completing the foreshaft component of the scope.  Diaphragm walling rigs are due to be mobilised to site in the third quarter of 2017 to commence work.  Planning for securing the winding equipment required for main shaft sinking activities has been completed and delivery of the equipment is on schedule.  The contractor continues to expand its implementation team in the UK.  The AMC team in the UK is co-located in the Sirius' office and a strong working relationship is being developed.

Sales and marketing:

Commercial discussions remain ongoing in the key growth markets of Europe, Brazil, South East Asia and Africa.  Each of these opportunities represents material volume opportunities in major long-term markets for Sirius.  The Company is encouraged by the increasing market interest and positive engagement from multiple parties in these key markets.                    


The agronomy programme continues to validate the four cornerstones of the POLY4 value proposition: efficiency, effectiveness, flexibility and sustainability.  During the quarter, 15 trials were completed and are being processed and 20 new trials were commenced on barley, cabbage, chilli peppers, corn, soybean, cotton, grape, grasslands, onion, potato, rice, tobacco, tomato and turf in Brazil, China, India, Ireland, UK and United States.


The Company has obtained a Premium Listing on the London Stock Exchange and was recently added to the FTSE 250 index.  Focus is now on planning and preparation for the stage 2 financing process.  

The Sirius Minerals Foundation (renamed from the York Potash Foundation), the independent charity set up as a community fund in 2012 to spend a share of revenues from Sirius Minerals' Woodsmith Mine, has launched its first grant programme.  This is after receiving its first funding of £2 million from the Company.  In the first funding year, the trustees of the Foundation are prioritising an initial grant giving programme of awards between £500 and £5,000.  This first programme is intended to help assess initial interest in funding initiatives throughout the Project area."

Oh, that Alphie Bo ... Ne'er mind.




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Just stayin  ...

Long Path = More Twinkle :-)


"Once the shafts are sufficiently underground, the Echo understands boring will begin to join the excavations together and create a route for Sirius’ mineral transport system, which will take polyhalite from Whitby to a handling, storage and distribution plant at Wilton, near Redcar."

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World On a Plate

"One of the many things that the past year of political turmoil on both sides of the Atlantic has revealed, is that governments have a questionable relationship with food. As the UK inches towards the completion of Brexit negotiations, and the Trump administration in the US unleashes its budget proposal, a strange kind of disconnect has become apparent: those negotiating their nations’ futures seem not to recognise that a chunk of its security and prosperity depends on how well they manage its food...."

Meanwhile ;-?

"On April 14 April 2017, a man reported he had lost his wallet while shopping in Scarborough. Later that same day, a Nectar card from the wallet was used in Sainsbury's on Falsgrave Road in two separate transactions, purchasing items worth a total of £482, using 96,500 points. 

Receipts showed that the points were used to buy items including three mobile phones, steak, pet food and chocolates. 

The card was left with a balance of less than £20 (3,622 points.) The suspect was caught on CCTV using the card and was arrested on 26 May and subsequently charged with theft of the wallet and two counts of fraud by false representation."

Now thats what I call a 'Sainsbury' marketing campaign...

Should have gone to Co-Op ;-)

Hmmm ...

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SXX: Choo Choo

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BHP 'Go Home ..'

says ET ;-?

"Activist investor Elliott has slammed BHP Billiton’s plans to develop a giant potash mine in Canada, warning it could be as “disastrous” as its foray into US shale.

Elliott Advisors, which has been campaigning for an overhaul to BHP’s strategy and board, attacked recent comments by the miner that it would seek to build its Jansen project in Saskatchewan province. BHP has set aside $3.8bn (£2.9bn) to develop the mine, though the total cost has been put as high as $14bn.

“BHP is now arguing that it should spend billions of dollars of shareholder money to diversify into potash. This sounds alarmingly familiar and comes as the company proclaims the dubious strategy of ‘Thinking Big’ – a concept that has been disastrous for BHP shareholders,” an Elliott spokesman told The Telegraph...

"Referring to the recent slogan adopted by FTSE 100 group, he added: “‘Thinking Big’ led BHP down the fateful path of diversifying into the US shale market – investing $30bn in assets that are today worth just $6.5bn. With that track record shareholders are correct in asking: Is potash the next US shale?  

“We share the deep concerns raised by analysts and shareholders that expanding into potash could be a severe strategic misstep.”

Potash is an essential ingredient in fertiliser and BHP said in a blog post earlier this week that it believed global demand for the mineral would double by the 2040s, creating a market worth $50bn.

“Potash demand sits at the intersection of inexorable mega trends ranging across demographics, economics, diet and the environment,” wrote Dr Paul Burnside, an analyst at BHP. “For the producer of any commodity, such an intersection is exactly where you want to be.”

"Andrew Mackenzie, BHP chief executive, reaffirmed the company's interest in developing Jansen in a speech in May, although he insisted that his focus was "on value" and it would only be built "when the time is right”. 

However, the project remains controversial amid sluggish potash prices and ample global supply.

New York-based hedge fund Elliott, which owns around 4pc of BHP’s London shares, launched its assault on the Anglo-Australian group in April, claiming it had consistently underperformed its peers.

Elliott has been particularly critical of BHP’s oil division, which includes onshore shale assets in the US and offshore wells, arguing it has little crossover with the mining business and should be spun off as a separate company.

In an update earlier this week, BHP revealed it would increase its spending on its onshore oil assets next year from $554m to $1.2bn, though some analysts have suggested this investment could be a precursor to a sale of the business..."


Yeah ... sod off.


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SXX: Shaft Planning

Minor Material Amendments :

Details for Application - NYM/2017/0505/MEIA

"variation of condition 5 of planning permission NYM/2014/0676/MEIA to allow minor material amendments relating to that part of the development at the Woodsmith Mine site (formerly known as Doves Nest Farm and Haxby Plantation), including; re-design of foreshafts and shaft construction methodology, changes to building layout and shaft access arrangements, revisions to construction and operational shaft platform levels, revisions to location and layout of surface water attenuation ponds, revisions to groundwater management arrangements and amendments to internal access road arrangements.."

"Minor changes to the approved scheme are required to incorporate detailed design changes at Woodsmith Mine, as efforts are made to deliver a highly efficient mine that minimises its environmental impact..."


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SXX & AMC - At Work

IT Technician

Civil Engineer

Training Agent

Purchasing Agent

"AMC UK are currently looking for an experienced Purchasing Agent to be responsible for the direct activities of the Buyers and ensuring the acquisition of assigned materials in a timely manner, administration of internal processes and to provide support to all members of the Commercial Team. "


Eh, So ...Bauer...

Idle Bones.

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SXX &'The Times'

'Sirius mines the moors to turn potash into gold'
by Marcus Leroux August 12 2017, 12:01am,
The Times

"Polyhalite from under the North York Moors will be turned into fertiliser.

Contractors at a former beef farm in the North York Moors are laying the groundwork for the biggest mining project Britain has seen in decades.

Sirius Minerals confounded critics two years ago when it won planning permission to mine for potash, a fertiliser ingredient, beneath the national park. Last year it raised the first chunk of the $2.9 billion (£2.2 billion) needed to construct the mine.

About 200 contractors were at Doves Nest farm outside Whitby last week. AMC, the company building the mile-deep shaft, has drilled an exploratory hole, while a concrete batch plant has just been put in place. “This year on the construction side is about gettig up and running,” Chris Fraser, the founding chief executive of the project, said at the company’s headquarters near Scarborough.

It is not only at the Woodsmith Mine at the former farm that there are signs of progress. Downstairs from Mr Fraser plastic crates are stacked ready for Sirius’s move next month to a larger office. “We have a monthly catch-up with everybody and the last one was incredible: we couldn’t get enough people in the room,” Mr Fraser said. “We used to have those a couple of years ago and there would be 20 people in the room. That change is quite noticeable.”

This year Sirius is also expected to step up to the full market from the junior Alternative Investment Market.

One of the factors adding a degree of complication to the planning and funding challenges was the novelty of the precise form of potash that Sirius plans to mine. The substance, polyhalite, has not been commercialised elsewhere.

In response Sirius is funding more than 200 studies on 29 crops in 17 countries at the last count, building a case that it is worth a premium. One of the burgeoning arguments in its favour is that it is greener than the alternatives, both in how it is produced and in how it interacts with other nutrients. That is an argument Sirius will take to big consumer goods groups that are watchful of their environmental credentials.

Sirius Minerals plans to transport the potash underground to a harbour near  Middlesborough.

Sirius also believes the potash market is beginning to turn. It was a hot commodity up until a Russian-Belarussian cartel collapsed two years ago, crashing the market. The market’s high-water mark came in 2010 when Canada blocked BHP Billiton’s $40 billion hostile bid for Potash Corp, the world’s largest producer.

BHP acquired the vast Jansen project in Saskatchewan as its consolation prize, prompting will-they-won’t-they speculation over its intention to build the mine. Recently observers have detected a more positive tone in BHP’s pronouncement’s on Jansen.

Mr Fraser said that was good news for Sirius shareholders, despite the possibility of it eventually bringing additional supply to the market. “It’s good that more people are now expressing a similar view we have been expressing,” he said. “That in the long-term, in that 2020 to 2025 time frame, there will be a situation where potash moves into a much tighter position from a supply-demand perspective.

“Our intention was not only to build the project because it’s good but to build it at a time when it was needed"



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Sirius Update: On Time & On Budget

"Residents will already be aware that work began at the Woodsmith Mine and Lockwood Beck sites earlier this year. Construction is a complex process that requires careful planning, including the gathering of geological, geotechnical and hydrogeological information about conditions that we will encounter as part of this project.

In order to gather the required geological information for design, teams of engineers and geologists work around the clock utilising specialist equipment to create an accurate picture of underground conditions at the mine sites and along the length of the mineral transport system (MTS) tunnel route.

Sirius has contracted Fugro Geoservices, one of the world’s leading providers of geo-intelligence solutions, to help understand the rock formations and sub-surface characteristics - specifically faulting and stratigraphy - before excavation commences. This work will supplement previous work undertaken in 2013 to help us build a more complete ground model and accurate picture of conditions along the 37km mineral transport system route.

Part of the investigation works sees deep boreholes being drilled – to depths of more than 420 metres - at shaft sites and tunnel locations to undertake strength tests of the rock formation. Special equipment is lowered into the holes to assess in situ ground conditions. The information is captured and interpreted by a team of geologists who provide recommendations to the engineering team.

This information is supplemented by seismic investigation surveys using a mobile seismic data truck - a tractor-like vehicle which travels along the length of the route - that pauses every so often to take readings. The truck uses a vibrating plate to generate sound waves which travel into the earth and are reflected to the surface at different speeds, depending on the type of rock strata below. The signals are picked up by up to 400 discreet wireless devices - called geophones - which are placed along each survey line. They are then processed by computers to generate a picture of the geological features that cannot be seen at the surface.

The data from the seismic and drilling investigations is supplemented by laboratory testing and analysis by an expert team of geologists to create a detailed geological model of ground conditions, which the engineering team use to help inform their construction strategy and choices, such as which type of tunnelling machine to use, appropriate linings and required schedule.

Survey work on the tunnel route is currently being undertaken and is expected to continue until May 2018, with drilling operations continuing in tandem. Because of the sensitive nature of the equipment, some operations have to be carried out at night, when background noise levels are lower. As the work involves the creation of sound waves, some noise disturbance is inevitable, but we endeavour to keep this to a minimum and to finish the work as quickly as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns about the work being carried out, please do not hesitate to contact our 24-hour community helpline on 0845 543 8964."

""We contacted Graceland and applied to join the prestigious club. They made us wait for a little while, but we did get recognition, we got our email last week and we're now just one of 400 clubs worldwide to be on their database as an official Elvis Presley fan club. 

Later on this evening we've got a guy coming in who's going to give us a talk on when he actually met Elvis, he saw him in concert in 1972.

We're going to be calling Memphis live from the bar, we've got a bit of Elvis music and it'll be a great atmosphere.""