York Potash 2016

Mortal Mindy's picture

OK OK OK ... time flies ... March is gonna be a buizzy month! I got ducks too... 

The last RNS:

"27 January 2016

Sirius Minerals Plc

DFS update

The Directors of Sirius Minerals Plc (AIM: SXX, OTCQX: SRUXY) ("Sirius" or the "Company") provide an update on the Definitive Feasibility Study ("DFS") timing for its York Potash Project (the "Project").  The Company had previously planned to announce the material findings of the DFS in January 2016, but now plans to do this before the end of March 2016. 

The completion of a DFS for such a large scale project is a very detailed process and there is a large amount of complex information from various suppliers, consultants and engineering firms that needs to be compiled, reviewed and then integrated into the final DFS.  While this process is time consuming, it is vitally important for a project with an expected life of over 100 years that it is robust.

In addition to the finalisation of the DFS the Company is moving towards the selection of preferred tenderers for the three initial critical path components for project implementation, being site preparation, mine shafts and the mineral transport system.  Tender information is being used in the completion of the DFS and is providing important and current contractor inputs into its finalisation.

The Company is confident that the final DFS will define a world class project that will be best in class in many aspects.  Based on the final DFS the Company is confident that it will execute a financing strategy that will bring the Project into production and deliver significant value to shareholders.

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

"We are continuing to build a very robust business that will be capable of strong returns throughout the many cycles it will experience over its +100 year life.  We thank our shareholders for their patience as we finalise the DFS and look forward to announcing its findings in due course."

Tis almost execution time ....

OCD? Moi ?



Oh, ok , why all the flapping ... well this is the third time I picked up Construction expected to start 'Q4 2016'

see here p4, 3.9  http://democracy.scarborough.gov.uk/documents/s67474/1640%20Scarborough%...

However, September 2016, fits in neatly with a six month prep works starting in erm .... April. The prep works won't start until Stage I funding is in place ... so yup tis all adding up to a very exciting 'Spring'.

Anyhoos ...  Easter is early this year ... and counting.



Mortal Mindy's picture

Wot a Charlie

 ... he talks to plants ;-) http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/business/14283856.Former_steelworker___...




Charlie has had the local seat or seal of approval for some time and an old hide out is at : https://handedon.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/hackness-hall-yorkshire-2/

Now, I, is only speculating .... but that little list on the end of BITC ... tagged?

Mortal Mindy's picture

Tiberius or Tarzan

T - tis not 'Tiberius' btw   ...

Biomass? Jolly Good. Wot no 'toons'?


Still in't Disney World ... Dragons.

Testing Times.

Is alf expecting Ozbo or Tarzan to step off that train...

Buckets. Lights. Green. ;-?

wtfdik ... Woods. Trees. 


Moi, a Drama Queen? pmsl ... tiz all about the 'Betzy' ... sssh.


Hobbitz ...  Q.


Benefitz Betty's picture




That looks like the North of t'other bank to YP's facility.  

"The Planning Inspectorate issued a report of recommendation to the Secretary of State on 20 April 2016. The Secretary of State has 3 months in which to issue a decision. The decision letter and report of recommendation will be published on this page of the website once a decision has been made."


Captain Qahn's picture

SM: DFS News

15 March 2016

Sirius Minerals Plc

DFS announcement date

Sirius Minerals Plc (AIM: SXX, OTCQX: SRUXY) ("Sirius" or the "Company") announces that the Company expects to announce the material findings of the Definitive Feasibility Study ("DFS") for its polyhalite project in North Yorkshire, on Thursday 17 March 2016 at 7am. 

The announcement will be accompanied by an updated investor presentation and webcast, available on the Company's website (www.siriusminerals.com).

Sirius will be hosting an analyst briefing at 15:00 GMT in London on the same day of the announcement.  Any analysts wishing to attend should email sirius@tavistock.co.uk to register.

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

"The DFS announcement will allow us to clearly outline the Company's strategy and value proposition throughout multiple scenarios and cycles.  I look forward to detailing the world class and robust nature of our polyhalite project in North Yorkshire."

Captain Qahn's picture

SM: CEO Frazer @ China Fertiliser Conference

The Argus FMB Asia Fertilizer conference will be held in Beijing, China on 13-15 April 2016. The annual conference attracts 500 market players with representation from 54 countries of which 190 delegates were based in China....


2016 Confirmed Speakers include:

  • Gao Xiangzhao, Director of Water Saving Agricultural Division, Ministry of Agriculture, China
  • Qi Zhaoying, Deputy Secretary General - Potash Fertilizer Branch, China Inorganic Salt Industry Association
  • Zhang Fusuo, Professor, Yuntianhua
  • Yang Huafeng, CEO, Xinyangfeng
  • Kevin Moran, Chief Technology Officer, Kingenta
  • Satish Chander, Director General, Fertiliser Association India (FAI)
  • Gao Li, Deputy Secretary General, China Nitrogen Fertilizer Industry Association (CNFIA)

A sample of companies registered for the 2016 Conference include:


Ameropa, Anhui Huilong Agricultural Group, Anhui Liuguo Chemical Industry, Aries Fertilizers, Beijing Harvest AMPC,  Belarusian Potash Company, Bulk Trade International, Canpotex, Cebeco Meststoffen, CF Industries, China Certification & Inspection (Group) Guangxi Co, CNAMPGC Holding, Crop Production Services, DELCORP, Devdhar Chemicals, Dragon Asia Fertiliser, EcoFusion,  Engro Fertilizers, Erlianhot Tianyu Trading Co, ETG (TIANJIN), Etherchem International Company, EuroChem Agro, Ferpacific, Fertisul International, Ferttrade, FOX-Chem, Gavilon Fertilizer, GF Trading, Guangdong Tianhe Agricultural Means of Production, Guangdong Zhanhua Group, Guizhou Chanhen Chemical Corporation, Guizhou Kailin and many more…



Captain Qahn's picture

NE: Work Starts to Deliver


"North Yorkshire County Council says Balfour Beatty is installing a new junction at Mayfield Road, in Whitby.

The improvements form part of Sirius Minerals’ potash mine plans, with the council saying the company is contributing £400,000 towards the £705,000 improvements.

Sirius has permission to build its York Potash Project on the outskirts of Whitby, which bosses say has the potential to create and support thousands of jobs by extracting up to 20 million tonnes of the multi-nutrient mineral polyhalite every year.

Bosses say operations could start in 2021.

The council said: “The planning permission for Sirius’ new mine requires the junction to be improved.”

Last month, Sirius released a definitive feasibility study (DFS), wherein bosses said they will target earnings, before taxes and interest, of up to £2bn once the mine is fully operational, adding they want to raise £2.4bn to fund the project through two stages.

Interested parties are now digesting the figures ahead of putting forward potential backing.

Chris Fraser, Sirius’ managing director and chief executive, said he expects the mine to produce polyhalite at $30 a tonne and sell it for potentially $200 a tonne.

He told The Northern Echo: “We now go back to those who have visited the project and give them the real detail so they can comb through it and go to their investment committees and boards.

“First product is expected in 2021 (but) the work doesn’t start until the funding is there.”

Sirius will sink shafts at the former Doves Nest Farm, underneath the North York Moors National Park, to extract polyhalite.

The mineral will then be transported via conveyor belt to a handling site at Wilton, near Redcar, before being exported from a harbour, which is planned for Bran Sands, on the mouth of the River Tees.

Sirius already has a number of supply agreements for York Potash, including a deal with a US-based firm to annually dispatch 1.5 million tonnes for seven years, which could be extended further across two five-year periods."


Captain Qahn's picture

SM: Liberum - Frazer ... Take III

Financing a Potash Mine:


Lost in Trans... 


"Speaking in a video by house broker Liberum, the potash mine developer boss, explained how the orebody at the Yorkshire site was so thick and such high grade that everything mined will be the finished product and there was no processing step other than a sizing one.

"For us one tonne of rock that we move in the mine through our infrastructure system is one tonne of product that goes on the ship," he said.

The plan is the mine will initially produce 10mln tonnes of polyhalite a year, though there is the capacity to double output.

The cost to generate these 10mln tonnes is put at US$3.56bn, with the financing done in two tranches, and talks with potential funders were “well developed”, the firm said last month.

A long awaited DFS put its net present value at US$15bn using a 10% discount rate, rising to US$27bn once the mine is up and running. The after-tax internal rate of return is put at 26%.

Sirius' operating costs centre around bulk scale logistics, moving product and connecting it to the ship.

"When we compare that against other potassium (K) sources around the world from the chloride free standpoint we are miles below what they are..,"  he added."

Ooops...  Kettles ;-)


Capt. 'Bob''s picture

Liberum - Frazer - Trans-scripted ...

Clamp  - LSE - Nicked

"Transcribed answer from CF on the Liberum video.. Apologies for any errors:

Why should investors take part today?

Well we’re going to have a position where you’ve got a constantly evolving risk and return dymanic and every day that we move closer to production, the risk is reducing and the return potential is rising – so value recognition through that period of time we fully expect to see, through the first financing hurdle is where people will focus, then suddenly it is a big difference in terms of the dynamic of what it is.

Buying in now, through the market or through any kind of capital raising that we might do, is going to: a) giving you access to a volume of shares (which you can’t get by going to the market (going in and buying in the market means you have to buy them from someone so obviously then you are in the dynamic of ‘what’s the value’), but you obviously then have the ability of sitting in with the long, large position – you can take a proper diligenced approach to what you’re doing and then go in and settle down for that process and that time and then be a part of that value appreciation during construction.

I mean from the way we think about it is, from now until when we’re in a steady state of production of producing over a billion dollars of EBIDA, we know at that point the fair value of the company will probably is between 10, 15, 20 billion dollars (depending on how you are valuing a company that has got 70-85% EBIDA margin, growing potential to double production – you know that’s a pretty nice place and that’s 5 to 7 years away.

And you’re going to go from where we are today, which is a hell of a long way away from that valuation – you know you will get there [hand goes higher] and so investors coming in now, through either investing through the market or through us, means that you’ve got the maximum return potential. And obviously buying now on the market means that you’re buying before the uncertainty of the financing is solved.

So I think the expectation is rerating that and gradually as the risk comes off the project you’re getting closer and closer, you’re getting Stage 2 debt coming, more off-take contracts – you know the parameters that define the return for the investor, you know the risk in each of those is narrowing almost every day as you move through that – and that’s the primary driver of return during this construction period.

We look at that return profile as being pretty compelling, compared against any investment opportunity. Obviously it’s a value investment driver – not a dividend driven period of cashflow during there, but after that it’s just this wall of cashflow that comes and comes for a hundred plus years. Those sorts of dynamics of investing on those kind of horizon are pretty compelling."

Yep, its not wot he says, its wot he doesn't say ;-) 



Oh, Clamp...parts I, II & III?  ;-))

Benefitz Betty's picture

SM: Agronomy Trials - aka Food

Ah, so that SXX thing :-)

"The update provides an overview of results from trials conducted in China on chili peppers, tea and oilseed rape, plus a demonstration of residual value to soil nutrient status for these field grown crops.  The webcast summarises the crop trial results, with individual presentations on each of the studies also available at: http://www.siriusminerals.com/our-products/

The agronomy studies help to further demonstrate the value in use of the Company's POLY4 product and also support ongoing engagement with current and potential customers. 



Captain Qahn's picture

SM: China Cup Cakes


"... The fertilizer development company released on overview of results from agronomy trials conducted in China to show the efficacy of its POLY 4 on keystone crops in the region.

China has announced a target of zero growth in fertilizer use by 2020 to resolve existing soil issues, which has been a major agricultural and ecological issue plaguing the Republic for decades.

It currently dominates global agricultural production, with an output of 1.74bn tonnes of crops contributing US$872bn to global economy.

It has identified the need for balanced fertilization from efficient nutrient sources.

That’s where Sirius Minerals comes in. POLY4 is the group’s flagship polyhalite product, a natural blend of nutrients essential for plant growth. It is mined from the world’s largest and highest grade deposit in North Yorkshire.

On-going crop trials have demonstrated POLY4’s effectiveness, showing a positive impact on soil nutrient legacy and not significantly affecting soil pH, meaning a more efficient use of the fertilizer.

The special blend is suited to China’s main crops. POLY4 is low in chloride, to which tea and chilli pepper crops are particularly sensitive.

Of the 4.8mln tonnes of tea consumed worldwide annually, China supplies 72%.

China produces 15.8mln tonnes of chilli peppers a year, around 39% of the global market.

The blend is also ideally suited to China’s $41bn annual oilseed rape market. Studies have shown it increased yield by 7% and improved nutrient uptake.

“The agronomy studies help to further demonstrate the value in use of the Company's POLY4 product and also support on-going engagement with current and potential customers,” said the group."


Benefitz Betty's picture

SM: RNS - Bigger Bowls

The York Potash continues its expansion and has resized its reserves for polyhalite:

"17 May 2016 -  Sirius Minerals Plc

Polyhalite reserve increase

Sirius Minerals Plc (AIM: SXX, OTCQX: SRUXY) ("Sirius" or the "Company") announces an increase in its Probable Ore Reserve ("the Reserve") at its North Yorkshire polyhalite project ("the Project").

The Reserve has increased to 280 million tonnes at an average grade of 88.4% from the previous level of 250 million tonnes of polyhalite at a grade of 87.8% (as announced on 18 September 2013).  The Reserve has been reported in accordance with the 2012 Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves as published by the Joint Ore Reserves Committee of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Australian Institute of Geoscientists and Minerals Council of Australia ("the JORC Code"). 

The increase in the Reserve results from the completion of the Definitive Feasibility Study ("DFS"), the results of which were announced on 17 March 2016, and the detailed work that has been completed on the mining schedule and resource by SRK Consulting (UK) Ltd ("SRK") as part of the DFS.  Specifically it comprises the tonnage of mineralisation previously reported as an Indicated Mineral Resource which is planned to be mined and then transported to Teesside.

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

"This increase, in what was already the world`s largest and highest quality polyhalite reserve, adds further confirmation of the outstanding nature of this deposit."

Tables n Chairs:


Spoons. ... wot no 'Goldilocks'?

Shovel ready expected Sept 2016. (subject to implementation & finance), tho mid 2016 was mentioned previously ...


Oops missed a significant bit :

"SRK considers that there is a good likelihood that a proportion of the currently reported Inferred Mineral Resource will be upgraded to the Indicated Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve status once the mine has been established and the polyhalite horizons have been accessed and underground exploration and grade control drilling commences.  It also considers that additional Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves are likely to be generated following ongoing exploration and assessment during the mine life."

Shar Ruh ...  the Zeichstein basin 


Ah, so ... http://www.srk.com/en

Tunelling for a Toon:-)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPNTC7uZYrI

Benefitz Betty's picture

NE: Sirius - Hails Reserves, 'Chilli & Tea'


"...Production is planned to start in 2021 and the company says fresh tests have strengthened its position..."

"...“Oilseed rape, chilli peppers and tea are major crops in China, with a value of $33.3bn (£23m) annually, and these trials help us show Poly4 can play a significant role in helping achieve more sustainable and effective fertiliser solutions...."

"...Bosses also confirmed they want to raise £2.4bn to fund the project through two stages, and said interested parties are digesting the figures ahead of putting forward potential backing...."


Benefitz Betty's picture

SM: Jorc Potash with Bolts On

19 May 2016 - Sirius Minerals Plc

De-icing salt opportunity 

§ Scoping study identifies de-icing salt as an additional product line

§ 550 million tonnes JORC compliant Inferred Mineral Resource of high grade de-icing salt

§ Salt production could be used to utilise excess infrastructure capacity as polyhalite production levels vary according to the Company's price and volume strategy

§ US$29m capital investment required to facilitate additional infrastructure capable of producing at a rate of 2 Mtpa

§ Disruptive influence as a low cost salt producer, ideally located to serve major markets of Europe and North America as a swing supplier

Sirius Minerals Plc (AIM: SXX, OTCQX: SRUXY) ("Sirius" or the "Company") provides an update on its high grade de-icing salt opportunity. 

A JORC compliant Inferred Mineral Resource ("the Resource") of halite (salt) of 550 million tonnes has been delineated at the Company's North Yorkshire polyhalite project (the "Project").  The Resource is within the immediate polyhalite mining area and will be accessible from the planned underground mining infrastructure for the Project and has an in situ mean grade greater than 93% NaCl, which is suitable for consumption in the de-icing salt market.  It also includes 210 million tonnes of higher grade halite with a mean grade greater than 95% NaCl. 

With the majority of the key infrastructure (shafts and tunnel) at the Project able to extract 20 million tonnes per annum ("Mtpa") of ore, salt could also be extracted as polyhalite production levels vary according to the Company's price and volume strategy.  The Company's salt scoping study shows that it could extract up to 2 Mtpa for an investment of up to US$29 million as an optional bolt-on to the existing polyhalite mine plan.  The assumed capital and operating estimates are based on a +/- 25% accuracy level and have been reviewed by SRK Consulting (UK) Ltd.

It would adopt an opportunistic approach, bringing on supply when market demand for salt was strong, although not at the expense of its polyhalite production.  The Company's Project and its port is centrally located and able to readily access the two primary target markets of Western Europe and North America which, depending on the winter weather conditions, are between 10 to 15 Mtpa and 20 to 30 Mtpa in size respectively. 

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

"Our clear priority is the rapid development of the world`s largest and highest grade polyhalite resource but the increased optionality of our significant additional resource of high grade salt is an exciting future business opportunity.  The bolt-on to the core infrastructure could allow us to make an opportunistic entry into a commoditised global market, generating an additional valuable revenue stream."


Through a combination of data from historical exploration and that conducted as part of Sirius' own exploration programme, a JORC compliant Inferred Mineral Resource of halite (salt) of 550 million tonnes - all of which is within the currently planned polyhalite mining area - has been delineated by FWS Consultants Limited ("FWS").  Further, if the mine infrastructure is extended as mining progresses and more polyhalite is demonstrated to be present (as the Company believes) then this will access more halite and so is highly likely to  increase the Inferred Mineral Resource presented here which remains open in all directions.

Accessibility of the resource

The salt would be readily accessible from the polyhalite workings via the driving of twin ramps into the halite seam that could be constructed within a 12 month period.  The salt would be mined using conventional methods utilising the same mining equipment planned for use in polyhalite mining with over 2 Mtpa achievable from a single production unit.  While additional approvals would be required to extract salt, the Company is confident that given the minimal above-surface infrastructure required, that it would be granted as required.

The Project's seaboard location is strategically placed to access the main de-icing salt markets in North America, Europe and the UK.

The market

Independent research conducted by Roskill Consulting Group has confirmed that Sirius' projected FOB costs are below that of major competitors in Europe and North America.  The combined annual consumption of de-icing salt in these markets is between 30 and 45 million tonnes per annum dependent on weather conditions.

The investment required to unlock an annual production of 2 Mtpa is low at under US$30 million.  Production costs of US$22/t FOB are estimated and in a severe winter this strategy could add between US$32 million and US$104 million of EBITDA, depending on the nature of the industry response.  In mild winters the potential EBITDA contribution could range from US$14 million to US$54 million, again depending on the nature of the industry response.

A short webcast providing further commentary on the opportunity is available on the Company's website."


Saltz.  Wow .... that should cover the waltzing lessons. Erm ... running costs (almost).

"The Project's seaboard location is strategically placed to access the main de-icing salt markets in North America, Europe and the UK."


Benefitz Betty's picture

SXX: Ten to the Million - Unsaturated

RNS "8 June 2016 Sirius Minerals Plc Offtake agreement

Sirius Minerals Plc (AIM: SXX, OTCQX: SRUXY) ("Sirius" or the "Company") announces that it has entered into a new take-or-pay agreement (the "New Agreement") with Yunnan Dian Huang Peony Industrial Group Co., Ltd ("Dian Huang").

The New Agreement replaces the offtake contract announced on 27 June 2013 with Yunnan TCT Yong-Zhe Company Limited ("TCT") (the "TCT Agreement"), which TCT and Sirius have mutually agreed to cancel. The TCT Agreement was for a period of three years with a seven year extension option. The New Agreement is for a period ten years from first production, ramping up to one million tonnes per annum over the first six years of the contract.

TCT has facilitated the Dian Huang agreement as a replacement and upgrading of the contract to supply Yunnan. The Agreement with Dian Huang strengthens the Company's supply position in Yunnan by supplying a customer closer to the end user and also by removing the conditions that were included in the original TCT Agreement. Dian Huang is a national peony seed oil production enterprise in China with strong government support and backing.

As with all of the Company's offtake contracts the price to be paid under the New Agreement will remain confidential. It is, however, based on a formula linked to the market price of nutrients contained in POLY4, which is consistent with the Company's other offtake agreements. The TCT Agreement in Yunnan had a fixed price for three years followed by a renegotiated price for the remaining seven years. The ten year pricing mechanism in the New Agreement gives greater confidence to both parties moving forward. Previous guidance provided on the expected pricing range to be achieved at first production remains the same.

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

"There is great potential for our multi-nutrient product in both Yunnan and China so firming up this supply arrangement is another positive step for us, especially at such a competitive time for the fertilizer industry.

"We look forward to working with Dian Huang for many years to come and our POLY4 product playing a significant role in more effective, efficient and environmentally sustainable agriculture in the region."




Oh, OK spose tis healthy:-)


Captain Qahn's picture

SXX: May Presentation 2016

The missing link :


Stage 1 Financing - Page 43

10 - 15 % Coupon PIK (Payment in Kind)

Does that mean - no interest, a bit of stuff/P4/equity?

Structured Debt - assume that's a draw dawn facility payable on sign off over progress?

Is the 'lien' attached to the equity element?

Equity being the highest risk they get first call on asset? :> Equity holders are the 'cornerstones'/ constructors ... 8 years (2 year non recall)  2 years to deliver to plan ... services rendered.

to get to consolidate at : Stage 2 Financing - Page 44 whereby all 'liens' are released into 'bonds' that cover the whole of the parts.

Symbols or somin... tis quite simple & makes sense.

Get it, Good. Learn to read ;-)

Ah, so .... synergy  'the hole is greater than the sum of its parts.'

AKA multiplex :-) Each multiple cojoins ... invest its own 'asset' into the 'equity' and in doing so keeps shirt on, a free lunch and plus some. Maxed. 

btw, tis June now, not May >>>


Elevator music ;-) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbGs_qK2PQA

Captain Qahn's picture

SXX: Conditions & CEMP





Public highways improvements works at Doves Nest scheduled June 2017 .... thats for the Shaft access. Give 6 months lead times on the hardcore, more boring, drilling, weightings etc

Site clearance by January 2017, 3 months on site  ... scratching (earth movers) bunds etc shovel action Dove's Nest  Oct/Nov/Dec 2016. imv.

Ah, so ...

Page 9 - "Platform"


Wot no choppers?   Prior  'PRIOR' to prep works a highways schedule will be submitted & approved :-))




Captain Black's picture

SXX: Potash Pledge


"“If they can encourage their children to take out their dummy to learn nursery rhymes and action songs with their child, it will significantly support the development of their child’s early communication and language.

The company behind a £2.2bn polyhalte mine in North Yorkshire, has backed the Scarborough Pledge.

Sirius Minerals is creating apprenticeships, providing work placements, supporting local undergraduates and is planning to contribute £750,000 over ten years to support STEM ( science, technology, engineering and maths) learning in schools.

External affairs manager Matt Parsons said: “We are planning to create over 1,000 new jobs and want to give opportunities to young people in the area. We have already seen that there’s a lot of talented young people in

Scarborough and we are committed to working with local schools to make sure they are ready for employment.

“It’s not just about helping the most gifted students, but making sure that others don’t get left behind. There are many businesses involved in the Pledge with the same mission and it’s really inspiring to be part of it.”"


Spitting out their dummies?

And there's more '-)






Benefitz Betty's picture

SXX: Potash News




"CHANGSHA -- Dongting Lake in central China is a quiet place these days: a sign by the lake reads, "No Fertilizer."

This forms a sharp contrast with summer scenes from 2014 when boats would clutter the lake, carrying fishermen as they fed the fish.

"Sometimes they poured in as much as 100 tonnes of fertilizer in a single day," said Xu Haijun, general manager of the Shanpo Lake fishery.

Dongting Lake is China's second largest freshwater lake. Fertilizer thrown into the lake over many decades has boosted the growth of highly-invasive water hyacinth, as well as polluting the water.

"During the worst periods, the water turned dark and smelly," Xu said.

Since 2014, fisheries near the lake in counties such as Anxiang, Taoyuan and Linli, in Hunan Province, were ordered to stop feeding the fish with fertilizer.

As a result, fishermen began planting water grass and putting algae in the water to feed the fish instead.

Their efforts paid off. In the past two years, water quality has improved from level five, the worst on a five-tier assessment scale, to level three, which means the water is acceptable for drinking and swimming.

But the ban on fertilizer reduced the amount of fish.

"Fertilizer could speed up growth of the fish," said Xu Haijun. "Now we can only allow them grow naturally."

Output of fish before the ban was close to 2 million kilograms per year. Last year the number dropped by half a million kilograms, and revenues fell by more than 6 million yuan (about 900,000 U.S. dollars).

More than 200 households from the Shanpo Lake fishery saw their annual income decrease to 50,000 yuan last year, 20,000 yuan lower than the previous year, Xu told Xinhua.

Measures have been taken to make up for the loss. Fish from the lake are now labelled as "organic," which commands a price two yuan per kilogram higher. Shanpo Lake fishery has also planted lotus flowers in the water to attract tourists.

Sponsored by the local fishery, Cao Jingxin, a 40-year-old fisherman, who started fishing as a teenage boy, spent more than 100,000 yuan to renovate his house: it is now a family inn.

"I work in a fishery, so surely I can cook fish," he said. "My cooking skill is as good as a chef."

A further 12 households have also started to run family inns to make money.

At the same time, however, some fishermen note that the water quality is not stable, especially on rainy days when sewage washes into the lake.

"Improvement of water quality in a lake is a big project and we need comprehensive remediation," said Gao Dali, vice head of the managing bureau of East Dongting Lake national natural reserve.

"We hope that the government can give subsidies and incentives to fishermen, so as to encourage more people to protect the water in Dongting."