Locked & Stocked

Captain Qahn's picture

Remarkable :-

"“This is a hugely important project for the North East of England and it’s great to see so much involvement from the local community, this is going to be such a boost for the local economy,” he said.

“The scale of the project is extraordinary. There are not many projects in Europe bigger than this. It’s not just the scale of the project which is important but the thought that’s gone into it, too. All the elements of engineering are coming together for this statement project.”

A spokesperson for Sirius Minerals said: “We’re proud of the innovative, low-impact sustainable design of our project, as well as the jobs and economic benefits that it is bringing to the area.”"


Dazzling Designs ...





The Next Chapter :-


Oh, OK ;-)




Bach Soon.



Captain Qahn's picture

Lockwood Beck


That Beck.







"All mined polyhalite will be transported underground to the materials handling facility on Teesside on the low impact mineral transport system (MTS), located in a 37km long and 4.9m wide tunnel at an average depth of 250m below ground. It incorporates a high-capacity conveyor belt system capable of transporting 20 Mtpa of polyhalite at 7.5m/s. The technology involved is well understood and widely used in underground mines around the world.

Along the MTS route there will be a transfer point Lockwood Beck, located at the bottom of an intermediate shaft, which will also be used for ventilation and occasional maintenance access. Planning permission has also been granted for two further intermediate shafts at Lady Cross Plantation and Tocketts Lythe.

The tunnel will also contain a maintenance rail and services including a 66kV power feeder from Wilton, which will supply the mine and a fibre optic cable for communications and control systems.

Operational access through the tunnel will be restricted to maintenance crews who will travel on the maintenance train from either end of the tunnel. Tunnel ventilation will be provided by the mine ventilation system."




"The tunnel will be constructed using three tunnel boring machines (TBMs) which will be deployed from Wilton, the mine site and Lockwood Beck. Two TBMs will meet around the midway point between Lockwood Beck and Woodsmith Mine."

"The two TBMs starting at the mine site and Lockwood Beck will require shafts to be constructed, down which the TBM components will be lowered and assembled in a cavern at the bottom, before tunnelling commences."


A Question ... ; -)



A Reference

The 2019 Annual General Meeting will be held at 1.00 p.m. on Thursday 13 June 2019 at The Events Centre, The Principal York, Station Road, York, YO24 1AA.


Theoretical Visibility

That will be £ 4.50...



In Plain English ;-)


The Final ....

Keep Digging.

Captain Qahn's picture

Nothing Hill







"No one can predict when or where a rock fall will happen, nor how big the debris will be."

How Now ;-)

"... just think how incredibly, incredibly lucky Sirius is to have found polyhalite under the North Yorkshire Moors rather than in the middle of nowhere in North Dakota or northern West Australia?
Not only are there people looking for jobs - there are skilled workers - it takes years to become a skilled welder or fitter - Sirius can just retrain them in weeks - and they are going to be permanent employees because they don't have to uproot there families and move hundreds of miles to get the job.
Then there's the cultural thing -like shift working-and redundant office/shop workers are not used to hours of physical work (looking round my allotment site is proof of that) And that's just English cultural differences - you are setting up in some third world spot - no electricity - no water - no prob - dig a well, hire a generator - right, until some local who doesn't understand English and has never seen mains electricity goes and electrocutes themselves (yes - it's happened to me )
Then there's the managers/specialists would they prefer to bring there families to a scenic bit of Yorkshire or have to fly down to Perth every couple of weeks just to see the kids?
In the seventies I was involved with projects in third world locations - I would have loved to ship a TBM from Germany and find a guy with heavy moving gear two miles up river in Redcar. Want 3000 tons of steel construction? - there's a firm just 30 minutes away can do that for you - amazing!! Finance? - London is the world leader and only four hours away.
Make no mistake this project is going ahead as smoothly as it is because of where it is and because of the people...."

Well said... ish.

It is Lockwood Beck that makes this a 50mpta pa ... give a TBM or two ;-)    Oooh I feel a bit of Madge coming on ...

Never Mind.


Have a sensible day ...


Captain Black's picture

Super Duper

"Local payments from the company behind the development of the Woodsmith Mine near Whitby towards protecting and enhancing the environment, developing skills, supporting tourism and increasing rail provision, have reached £5 million – just two years after its construction commenced in May 2017.

The contributions to North York Moors National Park Authority, North Yorkshire County Council and Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council form part of Sirius Minerals’ planning permission for its new multi-million pound fertilizer mine near Whitby and underground mineral transport system to Teesside.

Measures include annual contributions for landscape and ecology projects, funding towards tourism promotion and an extensive education and skills programme to tackle skills shortages in the area, as well as a major woodland creation programme.

Director of Conservation and Polyhalite Projects at the National Park, Briony Fox, said:

“Contributions from Sirius cover a wide variety of elements and have supported an array of new projects in the area.

These have included numerous habitat enhancement programmes, planting of over 40,000 trees in 2018 alone, improvements to historic buildings and monuments and upgrades to over 20km of public footpaths.

This will increase year on year, and in 2019 a further 60,000 trees will be planted as part of a 7,000 hectare woodland creation scheme that will see a total of 10 million new trees.  Funding from Sirius is also contributing to the Slowing the Flow project.”

Slowing the Flow is a five-year pilot project to alleviate flood risk by introducing natural management techniques upstream, such as building dams and planting trees. A pair of Eurasian beavers have been released in an enclosed area in Cropton Forest to assess how they can assist with maintaining the manmade structures and create their own wetland habitats to slow the flow of water and reduce flooding risk.

In addition to environmental programmes, Sirius is also funding a 10-year education and skills programme across North Yorkshire and the Tees Valley.  This includes a £1 million programme to promote science, technology, engineering and maths in local schools that has already engaged 8,000 young people over the last year.

Funding is also going towards schemes that improve the job prospects of people across the area including Scarborough Jobmatch and Construction Skills Village, and East Cleveland Training and Employment Hub.  Since its launch in February 2018, the Hub has worked with 700 people, resulting in 245 securing a job with a wide range of companies including Sirius Minerals and its contractors.

External Affairs General Manager for Sirius, Matt Parsons, said:

“Our project will operate in the area for many years to come and we are committed to being a positive part of the local community.  In addition to our own efforts to boost employment and skills, and support for community projects through the Sirius Minerals Foundation, it is great to see our funding to local authorities being put to such good use.”

We are delighted that students and people seeking work are already benefitting, that a wide range of environmental projects have already been delivered for residents and visitors to enjoy, and that work is on track to increase rail services between Whitby and Middlesbrough.”

Sirius Minerals’ project involves the construction of two 1,600m mineshafts near Whitby, connected to a 23 mile transportation tunnel to a processing plant and port at Teesside.  It is expected to deliver 1,000 long-term, high-skilled, high wage jobs once fully operational..."



""We need to stop accepting the middle-class life trajectory as the 'right' way for young people, especially women, to live their lives.

"The school to university to career to house to marriage to children isn't possible or desirable for all young women, yet those who take a different route through life are positioned as irresponsible, or as having somehow failed.

"Teenage pregnancy is understood as a death knell for any kind of career success rather than acknowledging that post-16 education and careers are still available for women in their 30s or 40s when their children are grown up and they have time to start a new career.""

Hmmm ...




Oh Dear ...


Wotdoyamean Star Wars is not a live doco ...

Oh, OK.

Mutleys ;-)


One Shoe at a time.

"Now we want to take the next step and ban importation of fur all together."

Hmmm ...



One Eye

"1969: Apollo 10 gets bird's eye view of Moon

Two US astronauts aboard Apollo 10 are on their way back to the safety of their mother ship after their lunar module came to within eight nautical miles (14kms) of the Moon's surface."


Captain Qahn's picture

Sirius Capital Injections

"Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has emerged as a shareholder in Sirius Minerals, the London-listed company building a giant fertiliser mine under a national park in North Yorkshire.

The Qatar Investment Authority owns 3.3 per cent of Sirius, according to a regulatory filing. Traders said the QIA had probably picked up its stake when the company issued $425m worth of new shares last month. Sirius is trying to raise a total of $3.8bn so it can complete development of its Woodsmith mine and start mining a huge underground deposit of polyhalite, a type of fertiliser. It has also already banked $830m through the share sale and a $405m offering of convertible bonds.

The company needs to raise a further $500m through a high-yield bond so it can tap a $2.5bn credit facility by provided by JPMorgan. In another document published this week, Sirius said it has incurred $35m of fees and expenses in connection with the share sale and convertible bond offering."







It was cheaper than the IUK option at £48mil fees AIUI...



Super Duper


Oh Do cheer up ;-))


"Following a period of commissioning and launch ramp construction, our Herrenknecht AG TBM, Stella Rose, is about to enter the tunnel portal. Next stop Lockwood Beck."




Seriously, did sombod say 1metre every 10 minutes?

Ooh .... 222.22 days fully optimised.

"with TBM 1.... Prospectus page 587 of 601"


I'll be bach.

Shame about Ms May, innit.  That Gnome should resign too..


"We can see from the shot taken inside the portal looking out, that works are complete and all auxilliaries have been removed and base ramp cast.

From above we can a gap in the casting either side of the portal enterance......this should be for the pushing off frame to be fitted behind the TBM (see video 50s in)


Cast off in the next day or so I would say.

Incidentally, the full spec for the TBM from the SRK report shows it capable of a theoretical cut rate of 1m every 10mins....."

"... Prospectus page 587 of 601 (actual page 581) Section 18.4

"Optimisation of the MTS Fit-Out, MHF and PHF scopes are ongoing. The MTS Drive 1 has commenced with shotcrete lined excavation. The TBM has been shipped and is being delivered to site. Sirius are working to start Drive 1 as soon as possible to gain on the project as this provides an alternative option to excavate Drive 2 if the Lockwood Beck MTS shaft is delayed."


"And that’s not the only record that has been set. With a rate of advance of 61.04 m in 24 hours in May 2017, the tunnel clearly surpassed the previous records held by the two Swiss rail tunnels Lötschberg Base Tunnel (52 m) and Gotthard Base Tunnel (56 m)."





Captain Qahn's picture

Much Ado About Nothing


"Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani (standing, left) and UK Prime Minister Theresa May(standing right) attending the signing of a shareholders agreement for Qatar Investment Authority's (QIA) acquisition of a share in National Grid, the UK's gas distribution company, as part of a consortium, on the sidelines of Qatar-UK Business and Investment Forum. The agreement stipulates that QIA acquires 61 percent of National Grid as part of the consortium that includes Macquarie Group, China Investment Corporation, Allianz Capital, Hermes Investment Management, Dalmore Capital and Amber Infrastructure. 

The UK has showcased projects worth a combined value of estimated £14bn on the second day of Qatar-UK Trade an Investment Forum, before the potential Qatari investors in Birmingham, yesterday.
Of the projects unveiled, the mega project in terms value is in the mining industry infrastructure. The $2.9bn worth project, coming up in North Yorkshire, is expected to The start the first production in 2021. The company is looking for $1.8bn investment in 2018.

The London –listed Sirius Minerals intends to build the first potash mine in the UK for over 40 years, in Teesside, North Yorkshire. The Project involves the large scale extraction and granulation of polyhalite for use as for use as multi-nutrient fertilizer."

... if only the Tate did Batman ;-)



"The QIA also revealed it had a stake in Sirius Minerals, the FTSE 250 company which is building a huge fertiliser mine under the North York Moors. That follows a £327 million fundraise at Sirius by issuing new shares – likely to have been snapped up by the QIA.

It also has major holdings in Barclays, Sainsbury's, the London Stock Exchange Group and miner Glencore. Its private investments in the UK include the Shard skyscraper, Canary Wharf, Harrod's and a chunk of Heathrow Airport and Siemens."

Leeds United & Al Jazeera ...

The Pirate Coast.

About that Canal ... tis like Little Britain, innit ;-)


Baldrick !¬! 

"... the Salwa island project ...

Five unnamed international companies with experience in digging have reportedly submitted bids to carry out the work worth 2.8 billion Saudi riyals (Dh2.74 billion).

The canal will stretch from the town of Salwa just south-west of the Qatari border to Khor Al Adeed. It will be 200 metres wide and 15 metres to 20 metres deep, allowing ships up to 295 metres long and 33 metres wide to navigate it."


Are they running out of oil then?

Quite fancy a Qatari Cove...







Captain Qahn's picture

Pelham Capital Pickled

Not to be missed :


"‘technology and operations’"


Anhoos there some rather 'large' global investors in our Sirius.. Whitby... York Potash Project.. not to be sniffed at.

J P Morgan


Pelham Capital

Qatar Holding LCC

The Capital Group Companies, Inc

Norges Bank

ADM (Archer Daniels Midland Company)

Intercontinental Trade DMCC Dubai ("ITL Trading")

Cibra Group Companies

The Wilmar Group

Yunnan Dian Huang Peony Industrial Group Co., Ltd ("Dian Huang")

Hancock (Gina Rinehart)

Good Old Jupiter :-)





20,000 Yorkshire Bods & a phew others

etc etc etc ;-)


Someone Somewhere mustava list...


Exciting, innit.

I feel another fat sheep comin on ...


Gertyafingers out ;-)


Big Ears.




Captain Qahn's picture

A Jagged Edge

"It should have been a single line, stretched across the sky by the galaxy’s gravity. But there’s a monstrous hole in the star stream. And that hole — like a bullet hole — has a jagged edge where the force of an impact knocked stars out of alignment."


"When we move through the landscape, what we see is that the water is already being used,"





A National Park.

"Problem is, there’s more gravity about than there is observable mass.

In fact, there’s must be about 27 per cent more mass out there somewhere than we can see in the form of stars, dust and gas.

It’s been dubbed ‘dark matter’ simply because it’s invisible. And we’ve not been able to figure out what it is made of.

But this hole could give us some clues as to what form such ‘dark matter’ takes.

The hole in the stream of stars is about 30-65 light years across.

That’s the size of a globular star cluster."

A Sirious weekly....



"“Wow, what is that, man?” one says. “Look at it fly!”




"Experts, however, caution against extraterrestrial explanations. Senior astrophysicist Leon Golub said “there are so many other possibilities — bugs in the code for the imaging and display systems, atmospheric effects and reflections, neurological overload from multiple inputs during high-speed flight.”

Captain Qahn's picture

Vertical Shaft World Record

"Typically, shaft lining would be created from pre-cast concrete segments but, in conjunction with contractors Careys Civil Engineering and Joseph Gallagher Ltd, Sirius utilised a new ‘slip form’ technique to pour the concrete lining. Using this technique, by continuously pouring the shaft walls simultaneously with the VSM’s excavation activity, the team was able to line the shaft more safely, rapidly and cost-effectively. Cutting-edge 3D, 4D and virtual reality (VR) modelling technologies were also used to digitally construct the shaft, forecasting a range of possible outcomes for each aspect of the construction process.

The machine reached a depth of 115.2 m in May 2019, setting a new world record for this type of excavation in the process – the previous record was 84 m – Sirius said this is a “testament to the groundbreaking, innovative approach that we have taken to construct our project.”





Captain Qahn's picture

Question Time

IMO 'tis all a bit back to front ... ie why not drift in the MTS shaft at Woodsmith via Ruswarp

A Question for the AGM?



The Ironic


Keep Busy.

"I still find it difficult to believe that there will be a cavern constructed to lower and assemble an almost 2000 ton 1/8 of a mile long tbm in stages along with all the ancillary power and fluid connections. When you look at the time to construct one in a reasonably accessible above ground location it makes the underground assembly mind boggling."

Frankly my Dear ...


Captain Qahn's picture

Let Victory Prevail

"12 June 2019 Sirius Minerals Plc

Supply agreement signed in India

* Major take-or-pay supply agreement signed with IFFCO for POLY4 supply

* IFFCO is one of the largest co-operative societies in the world with access to over 55 million Indian farmers

* Terms are for 11 years ramping up to 1 Mtpa in year eight, with a mutual agreement option for an additional 250,000 tonnes per annum

* Total peak aggregate volumes now under contract stands at 11.7Mtpa (13.4 Mtpa including customer volume options)

Sirius Minerals Plc ("Sirius" or the "Company") has signed a take-or-pay supply agreement (the "Agreement") with Indian Farmers Fertilisers Cooperative Limited ("IFFCO") for the supply of POLY4 in India. Volumes will ramp up to one million tonnes per annum ("Mtpa") in year eight, with an option subject to mutual agreement of the parties to increase this to 1.25 Mtpa.

IFFCO is one of the largest co-operative societies in the world with over 36,000 member cooperatives and access to over 55 million Indian farmers. Its primary business is the manufacturing and marketing of fertilizers and it is in the top 100 of India's Fortune 500 group of companies.

India is one of the top three fertilizer markets in the world with a total nutrient consumption of around 30 Mtpa. The demand for fertilizers in India has been growing steadily due to increasing demand for food as the country's population increases. With the need to increase productivity per hectare, multi-nutrient products like POLY4 are well suited to Indian agriculture and soils.

The Agreement is for the exclusive supply and distribution of POLY4 throughout India and is on a take-or-pay basis. Volumes ramp up to 1 Mtpa in year eight of the 11 year term, with the option for an additional 250,000 tonnes per annum by mutual agreement, and pricing is based on a nutrient linked formula on a CIF India basis. IFFCO has a break clause after year eight and there is a 10-year extension option subject to mutual agreement by the two parties.

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

"We are delighted to be embarking on a long-term partnership with IFFCO, an organisation with a wide reach and a proud history in India and a substantial profile in the global fertilizer market. POLY4 can undoubtedly have a hugely positive impact on Indian agriculture, both in terms of yields and sustainability and we look forward to working with IFFCO to deliver these benefits for Indian farmers for many years to come."


"POLY4 offers a unique opportunity for IFFCO to help deliver our vision of increasing farmer's incomes by increasing crop productivity and the balanced use of energy efficient fertilizers. The multi-nutrient characteristics of POLY4 are well suited to Indian soils and crops. Having seen the ongoing crop science work and results, I know that this partnership between Sirius and IFFCO will have an important role to play for farmers in improving yield, quality and profitability of crops.

"This Agreement is very much in line with IFFCO's ongoing initiative of achieving balanced nutritional management for soil, because good quality soil will help our farmers to increase their yields. In turn this can help in our Prime Minister's initiative of seeking to double farmer income by 2022 as well as helping to address the most challenging issues of agricultural sustainability and food security.

"POLY4's combination of potassium, sulphur, magnesium and calcium, together with trace micronutrients, low chloride content and suitability for organic use, means that it can help to offer better balanced crop nutrition and sustained soil health to Indian agriculture and farmers."

Jai Ho.















Captain Qahn's picture

AGM & The Mighty Hike

".. the overall progress is astounding.."


"CF ... answered all questions without hesitation, and remarked that he was more confident than ever that the bonds will be granted and that the mine will be built... lots of progress with a view to delivering before the estimated timelines on time and within budget."

"the end and important point from this being that if all goes according to plan then there would still be access to $1bn as contingency or otherwise once the initial monies have been spent"

This $1bn within the RCF is separate and excess to the $450m contingency and escalation figure built into the project budget."

"It seems clear that the intent is to keep going full speed to 13mtpa."

"The Qatar fund invests in companies all around the world for long term gain - the fact that they have chosen SM is one hell of an endorsement."

"Great contribution to the UK economy with over £355m spent and £200m of this locally in the region
900 employees directly involved in project, another 245 indirectly
Approx. 80,000 shareholders ( hoping we might have enough members attending next year to hold AGM in York Barbican………hint hint to bod )
Target is late 2021 for first production, with incentives for all to achieve March 2021, but without indication that I can recall, that they are any reasonable distance ahead of timescales. Too early for that, but see next note.
Redcar Mudstone is where the TBM is operating through. They are finding a straightforward operation due to this type of rock and as such should help in achieving good progress ahead of target production. Local Boulby mine had significant excavation of similar stone and apparently they managed without lining the shafts? Not sure whether not needing to ‘grout’ was mentioned ( perhaps Myo can elaborate on this )
Worldwide distribution network, tailored/relevant to local conditions( eg Brazil, India 55m farmers!! )
Potential to combine with other existing competitor’s products for their enhancement. I expect announcements of this perhaps in the coming months.
2021-2023 CF perhaps to move on and hand over to a mine “operator” as CEO
Confirmed that IPA was a major hurdle before Stage 2 deal. Sirius could not wait for our beloved politicians ( my words ) otherwise the mine progress would have ground to a halt ( and perhaps govt have decided to limit support to the Northern Powerhouse, to putting USB points in the old steam trains up here ). Quoting “If government had acted in an honest way”……whatever that means from CF??
Slide 17 a good illustration of funding………..with contingency of $1bn. I am hopeful that the board with the support of its contractors can minimise the use of this and certainly not overspend to the same degree as our aforementioned politicos/government depts.
Another quote which interested me was that the SP is……… “So far from fundamental value”. Having attended the meeting I am more confident in the progress of our company. The board seem to be very professional and approachable, but some need to be more of a board than bored."

"Capital have been dynamic whilst Jupiter have been more passive"

"CF then went on to describe the current position with the bonds.....JPM are finalising the rating which is being done in conjunction with the "bond prospectus" being finalised........"the US is a different regulatory market" (separately, all the necessary additions, amendments and legal obligations are being set and fulfilled.....recent additions the the portfolio of sales will do the rating no harm)

CF then described flexibility in how the RCF can be used and explained how the market at the time will dictate how all this will be applied in relation to further bonds......the end and important point from this being that if all goes according to plan then there would still be access to $1bn as contingency or otherwise once the initial monies have been spent......which in turn further reduces risk and enhances the rating for the bond.

CF also made the point that the intention is to get these bonds to the market soon........(separately.....we have to be clear and cautious....when we rely on the timelines and input of others.......the end point is effectively out of your control....."we've been stung by this before")"



"Thomas Staley, who was perfectly charming, and not 'bored' at all, as intimated by some here. I was curious to know why, given the proportion of Australians at senior level on the BoD, and also the heavy involvement of Hancock and Gina Reinhart, why Australia has never (as far as I am aware) featured in any of the marketing, distribution and agronomy testing discussions. In fact, it has been omitted entirely on some of the global maps they have presented. After all, I'd have thought they would be eager for their own great nation to partake in the enormous product benefits? He explained that Australia is a hard market to crack in any area, and farmers there have very firmly established practices of using fertilisers which are heavily phosphate based. However, he then went on to say that they do in fact already have plans to start marketing and testing etc in Australia, so watch this space."



"maybe we could just throw Poly4 down a hole and catch it at the other end"

The Bottom Line ;-)


Just get on with it.



Work Placement :-)


Oh, OK:


Never Mind.

Captain Black's picture

Patent of the Month






"The SBR is equipped with a roadheader boom and a rotating cutting drum – this allows the cutting of variable shaft diameters from eight to twelve metres. The boom is telescopic and allows for the excavation of the entire shaft crosssection with a depth of one metre in a single cycle. The SBR is suspended from ropes and is connected to winches on surface – as it descends, permanent shaft lining is inserted in sections from an upper working deck. A pneumatic conveying system lifts all excavated materials to sinking buckets that are hoisted to the surface."

IO io  ...


"For all your apparent disappointment this project has evolved into a very different prospect to those early days back in 2011/13 from being a 'pipe dream' forgive the pun to the reality of what is going to be the Worlds biggest fertilizer producer in the most environmentally considerate engineering feat ever anywhere in the world, I for one am extremely proud to be involved in this amazing project for the wellbeing of North East of England's population and the country as a whole, and secondly I have no fear about my own personal investment in SXX, I believe patience will be my virtue financially in years to come."



Follow the Cat


Yawnnn ....

tis a bear market.

Next Generation.