Capital Hill

Captain Black's picture

Blistering Barnacles ...

Half year results for period ended 30 June 2018 :

"Post balance sheet date events:

Since the half year end the Group signed a materials handling agreement with Redcar Bulk Terminal Limited ("RBT") to provide port and ship loading services for up to 10 Mtpa, and a long-term lease of land agreement with RBT for storage facilities adjacent to the port facilities. 

The Group also entered into a design and build contract with STRABAG for the remaining drives of the MTS tunnel and an EPC contract with Jacobs UK Limited for the MHF at Wilton.  Procurement for the major packages is now substantially complete.

As a consequence of finalising the major procurement packages, the Company announced on 6 September that it expected its stage 2 funding requirement to increase of between US$400m to US$600m.  The Company is actively reviewing the most cost effective and efficient sources of capital to fund this additional capital requirement.

On 20 July, the Company announced that it had entered into take-or-pay supply agreements with two new Chinese customers, Guangzhou Eiliseng Biotech Co Ltd and Yantai Service Agricultural Science and Technology Co Ltd, for peak contract volumes of 1.15 Mtpa and 800,000 tpa respectively.  Due to its changing growth plans Yunnan Dian Huang Peony Industrial Group Co Ltd ("Dian Huang") and the Company mutually agreed to terminate their existing agreement for supply of up to 1 Mtpa of POLY4 into Yunnan and Sichuan.  Eiliseng now has the rights to resell POLY4 in these provinces and to service demand from Dian Huang.

On 17 September 2018 the Group announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire 30 per cent. equity interests in Cibrafertil Companhia Brasileira de Fertilizantes and OFD Supply Inc (the "Cibra Group Companies") for a total of 95 million fully paid ordinary shares of Sirius Minerals Plc.  The agreement is linked to a take-or-pay supply agreement between York Potash Limited and the Cibra Group Companies for peak contract volume of up to 2.5 Mtpa.  Completion of the arrangements is subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions precedent and are expected to take place in the coming weeks.

Year to date the Company has entered into new supply agreements increasing the peak aggregate sales volumes by a net amount of 3.8 Mtpa, subject to the completion of the Cibra agreements.  This exceeds the Company's stated target to execute 2 Mtpa incremental supply agreements in 2018.  The Company's total peak aggregate supply agreement volumes currently stands at 8.2 Mtpa. 

The Company agreed an amendment to the Minerals Royalty Deed entered into with Hancock British Holdings Ltd ("Hancock") in October 2016 (the "MRD").  Pursuant to the amendment, the Company has received the US$250m proceeds from the drawdown of the royalty component of the MRD."

"The Group has deployed £148m during the period for the purposes of developing the Project.  Total funds at the end of June 2018 were £323.4m, comprising bank deposits and cash equivalents of £263.7m and restricted cash of £59.7m."

"As at 30 June 2018, 1,221 bonds remain outstanding with an aggregate face value of US$244m representing 67 per cent. of the total number of bonds issued as part of the stage 1 financing.  If fully converted, these bonds would lead to the issuance of a further 794m ordinary shares."

An emphasis of matter:

"CEO of Sirius, commented:  "The business made excellent progress during the third quarter of 2018, achieving a number of key milestones. Procurement is now substantially complete for the major construction packages including the STRABAG AG agreement for the mineral transport system.

"The announcement of our largest supply agreement to date with Cibra, Brazil's sixth largest fertilizer distributor, has enabled us to exceed the target peak aggregate POLY4 take-or-pay volumes intended to support stage 2 financing and further agreements are expected to be completed soon. 

"During the quarter we confirmed Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world's largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers, as our North American partner and starch supplier, which serves to underline the confidence that our world-class distribution partners have in POLY4 and its place in the future evolution of the global fertilizer market.

"The coming months are a pivotal period for the Company as we work towards fully financing the construction of our world-class long-life polyhalite project."

"The Company has now achieved peak aggregate take-or-pay contract volumes of 8.2 Mtpa which exceeds the target peak aggregate volume of 6 - 7 Mtpa intended to support the bank due diligence process for stage 2 financing"

"On 6 September, a design and build contract with STRABAG was signed for the remaining mineral transport system ("MTS") drives and an Engineer, Procurement and Construction contract was signed with Jacobs UK Limited for the construction of the materials handling facility ("MHF") at Wilton.  Sirius is in advanced negotiations for the remaining scopes of work which includes the MTS fit-out and the port facilities.  The Company has identified STRABAG as its preferred contractor for the MTS fit-out.  Sirius currently expects that the costs of the outstanding procurement contracts will be in line with its original estimates."

"The Company continues to work with both the UK Infrastructure Project Authority and the lending banks, and the stage 2 senior debt financing due diligence process is ongoing.  Bank commitment letters are expected to be obtained from commercial lenders in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The Company is preparing its revised financing plan to incorporate the additional estimated capital requirement of between US$400m and US$600m.  Sirius believes that US$3bn of senior debt is the appropriate level of debt and will not seek to increase this amount.  A number of financing alternatives to fund the increased capital requirement are under active consideration.  Financial close of stage 2 financing is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2019."

On track to meet 2018 guidance:

"At the Woodsmith Mine site, diaphragm walling activities on the service shaft are complete and the excavation of the service shaft foreshaft is now underway and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2018.  Three diaphragm walling rigs are in operation on the production shaft and activities are progressing smoothly.  Excavation of the production shaft foreshaft is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2018.  The Vertical Sinking Machine ("VSM"), which will be used to sink the mineral transport system ("MTS") access shaft to 120 meters, has arrived at site and is preparing to be launched. 

The MTS portal construction at Wilton, which will facilitate the launch of the MTS drive 1 tunnel boring machine ("TBM"), remains on track for completion in 2018 ahead of the TBM delivery at site in early 2019.  The initial ~125m of MTS Drive 1 will be a shotcrete lined ("SCL") tunnel development section and will be constructed using civil engineering excavation techniques.  The SCL section will advance the tunnel to a depth where the geology is appropriate to launch the TBM.  Design work for the MHF earthworks is complete, and earthworks are scheduled to commence in the coming weeks.

At Lockwood Beck, construction of the MTS intermediate access shaft is progressing well, with surface and basement works ongoing to prepare for the sinking of a slightly larger diameter shaft that facilitates the launch and operation of the drive 2 TBM."

Progress Presentation:


Ah, so ...

Fell out of bed.

The next Liaison Group Forum will take place at Littlebeck Village Hall, Littlebeck, Whitby, YO22 5HA on 23 October 2018 at 1pm.


Oh, OK:

The Steep ... the steeep





Benefitz Betty's picture

Gold Sponsors

Mediterranean with Simon Reeves

Flying Carpets ...

"Sirius Minerals are looking for an experienced and commercially-focussed Executive Assistant to support our global Chief Marketing Officer and his internationally-based team of 26.

Sirius Minerals are looking for an experienced and commercially-focussed Executive Assistant to support our global Chief Marketing Officer and his internationally-based team of 26. The role will manage and coordinate all of the administrative activities that ensure the team can work efficiently.

The role requires a proactive, forward thinking individual who can coordinate multiple diaries, assist with projects and coordinate the required administration and documentation for sales meetings and events with minimal support. Experience of supporting global senior teams with remote contact will be a distinct advantage. As the team is internationally based, the successful candidate must be prepared to work outside normal UK office hours. Some international travel may be required..."

Good quality bricks...

Benefitz Betty's picture

Little Acorns

"Now in its ninth year, the event was founded in 2010 by The Scarborough Business Ambassadors with huge support from Unison Ltd, Scarborough Borough Council and NYBEP Ltd, it was and is driven by the need to promote careers in engineering and the local progression routes available to improve recruitment in the sector.

For 2018, we are encouraging a greater presence of Science related activities. Science has always been very much part of the event and for 2018 we have proudly changed the name and logo to reflect this.

This year the event will feature as part of The Year in Engineering initiative set up by the government which celebrates the world and wonder of engineering. It also forms an important part of our Industrial Strategy which is committed to boosting engineering across the UK, ensuring everyone has the skills needed to thrive in a modern economy.

Empowering young people to take control of their future in an ever-changing world is essential for successful futures, especially as they progress to careers which do not yet exist, use technology not yet invented and solve problems we do not even yet know are problems. This is at the heart of Scarborough Science & Engineering Week (SSEW).

The event is not for profit and we rely on your support and commitment to bringing Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths to life for young people. Each year we take on board comments we receive to try to improve the event and ensure we are constantly improving."

"The event features as part of The Year in Engineering initiative set up by the Government which celebrates the wonder of engineering."

Captain Black's picture

'The Stilling'

"All over the world, the wind is slowing. Bit by bit, low-level land wind speeds have been decreasing since reliable records began in the 1970s. It is called "the stilling".

"The decline was silently sneaking through under the radar until Australian National University professor Michael Roderick and his colleagues made a mistake.

They noticed that the pan evaporation rates in the Northern Hemisphere were going down — not what you would intuitively expect in a warming world.

The pan evaporation rate is a measure of how quickly water evaporates from a pan, which is useful to know in relation to water storage and soil dryness.

They concluded it must have been because of increased pollution or potentially increased cloud cover blocking the sun...

"The obvious industry that could be affected is wind farming, but at the moment it is hard to know by how much.

Current studies have only looked at wind speeds 2 metres above the surface.

"An important thing to remember is a modern wind farm is typically 100m above the surface, so what's happening up there could be a little bit different. Could be a lot different actually," Professor Roderick said.

The stilling is happening and until we know more, we will have to watch and see how the wind blows."


With 800 workers across three sites .. tis not to be sniffed at:


fascinating ...


Captain Black's picture

Outdoor Events


"Maybe tile it blue and have a nice wee mosaic of a dolphin in it!"

One Day Rudders ...

Page 82 :

It will pass.

Straight Face.

Oh,OK:   A Night Off

“I feel like a hobbit actually,” he said, as he stood on a rock with a fishing rod in his hand. He also managed to complete all the challenges thrown at him.

“You love smashing stereotypes, don’t you?” said Grylls, although I am not quite sure what constitutes a stereotypical dwarf."

Sweet Dreams

Capt. 'Bob''s picture

The Boring Company

"Walked full length of Boring Co tunnel under LA tonight. Disturbingly long. On track for opening party Dec 10. Will be very one-dimensional."

What about Earthquakes?

"Tunnels, when designed properly, are known to be one of the safest places to be during an earthquake. From a structural safety standpoint, the tunnel moves uniformly with the ground, in contrast to surface structures.  Additionally, a large amount of earthquake damage is caused by falling debris, which does not apply inside tunnels. Some examples:

  • 1994 Northridge Earthquake: no damage to LA Subway tunnels
  • 1989 Loma Prieta (Northern California) Earthquake: no damage to tunnels, which were then used to transport rescue personnel
  • 1985 Mexico City Earthquake: no damage to tunnels, which were then used to transport rescue personnel"

Bricks ;-)

Seventy Million per mile...

20/30% mucking out costs.

It Fitz.. Forgot the T.

Navel Gazing, moi?


Capt. 'Bob''s picture

Teesside Port Construction Contract Signed

"05 November 2018  Sirius Minerals Plc

* Port handling facility EPC contract signed with McLaughlin & Harvey

* Contract price in line with capital re-estimate announced on 6 September 2018

* Procurement of the major construction packages for stage 2 financing near completion with only the MTS fit-out package outstanding

Sirius Minerals Plc ("Sirius" or the "Company") announces that its subsidiary York Potash Processing and Ports Ltd and McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd ("McLaughlin & Harvey") have entered into an engineering, procurement and construction contract for the development of the Company's port handling facility at Teesside (the "Contract"). 

The Contract scope comprises the design and build of works associated with the port handling facilities including; product storage facilities for approximately 250,000 tonnes of product, ship loading equipment, ship outload infrastructure, and the final product screening facility.  The Contract price, which will be incurred in GBP and EUR, is on a lump sum basis and is in line with the Company's capital re-estimate announced on 6 September 2018.  The proposed schedule for the works fits within the Company's overall Project schedule. 

The Company's stage 2 financing related procurement programme is nearing completion for the major construction packages with only the mineral transport system ("MTS") fit-out scope remaining.  The Company has identified STRABAG as its preferred contractor for the MTS fit-out and is in the final stages of negotiation for this scope of work. 

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

"We are pleased to have entered into another significant construction contract for the ongoing construction of our world leading polyhalite project.  In 18 months we have made great progress and are now nearing the completion of the procurement programme to support our stage 2 financing process. 

"The construction of our port infrastructure is another example of the level of investment and skilled job creation we are delivering in both Teesside and the UK as we develop a project that has the potential to make the UK a world leader in the fertilizer industry."

Ben Houchen, Mayor of the Tees Valley, comments:

"I am delighted to see yet another step forward for Sirius Minerals' nationally significant project.  The level of commitment to Teesside from this project is huge as it will continue to generate jobs for local people and help expand our global reputation.  The successful development of the Sirius project will see over £400 million invested in Teesside and will importantly see the regeneration of the former Redcar steelworks port frontage.  We expect many more regeneration projects will be announced on the South Tees Development Corporation site very soon."

Port handling facility

The port handling facility will receive the Company's polyhalite fertilizer after it has been transported from the Woodsmith mine site via the 37km underground mineral transport system and processed into the finished product, POLY4, at the Wilton Materials Handling Facility.  At peak production the Company expects to export 20 million tonnes per annum of POLY4 to markets all over the world.  Offtake agreements have already been signed with customers on four continents for 8.2 million tonnes per annum in peak aggregate volumes of POLY4."

Yee Ha ...


Capt. 'Bob''s picture

The Civil Engineer

"The new £4.2bn potash mine in the North York Moors is using a raft of new technologies to excavate its two 1.5km deep shafts and 37km of tunnels.  

These include the UK’s first use of an innovative vertical shaft sinking machine (VSM) and the longest ever conveyor belt.

The project will also be the first time in the world the VSMs will be used to a depth of 120m. To construct the lower depths of the shaft, the project will use a new shaft boring roadheader (SBR), used only once before in Canada. The conveyor belt in the tunnel will be the longest single belt in the world and be used to transport the polyhalite to the processing plant.

“One of the things I take pride in being part of this project is that we are an innovative project, we’re not afraid to make decisions and take risks, hence the optimisation of the new technology on the project,” said Sirius minerals project civil engineer Mark Pooleman.

“My personal view is that we should embrace new technology and never be afraid to take those risks.”

The massive project will involve building the two vertical shafts down to the mine site in the North York Moors at Woodsmith, an intermediate shaft at Lockwood Beck, and three, 6m external diameter, 12.5km long tunnels costing £1.5bn.

The tunnels are being dug to carry the mined polyhalite – a fertiliser – to a processing plant at Wilton near Teesside Harbour, after transporting the material at ground level through the moors was not deemed an acceptable solution.

The construction of a cut and cover pipeline was put forward as an alternative to tunnelling, but dismissed due to it being not very environmentally friendly, potential complications over the lifetime of the mine and high maintenance costs.

In total, three tunnel boring machines (TBMs), each starting from different locations, will excavate simultaneously at a rate of approximately 17m per day. 

Contractor Strabag started the first drive, launched from ground level from Wilton to Lockwood Beck in in June this year after winning the design and build contract in April. However, the TBMs launched from Woodsmith and Lockwood Beck will be constructed underground from a launch cavern at approximately 360m below ground level.

Pooleman said tunnelling has been chosen to go through the Redcarr Mudstone strata as it is soft enough to tunnel through and would avoid the water bearing rock and abandoned mine workings above.

To avoid transporting the 1M.m3 of material excavated from the tunnel and the shafts through the park, it will be used on the Woodsmith mine site to build up bunds around the buildings, hiding the mining site from view.

In all but one of the areas, the bunds will have a natural looking slope at around 1:7 to reflect the surrounding landscape. In the area where the bund is too steep, mechanical stabilisation will be used.

“The area will be landscaped to fit in with its surroundings,” he said. “This was a key part of getting permission to build the mine, and rightly so.”

Shine on...


Captain Black's picture

Baltimore, MD

Capt. 'Bob''s picture

Up the Strabag

"12 November 2018 Sirius Minerals Plc

Procurement complete for the major construction packages

* Mineral transport system fit-out agreed and finalised with STRABAG

* Fit-out price in line with capital re-estimate announced on 6 September 2018

* Procurement now complete for the major construction packages for stage 2 financing, a significant milestone

* The Company is working towards financial close of stage 2 financing in Q1 2019

Sirius Minerals Plc ("Sirius" or the "Company") announces that it has varied its existing mineral transport system ("MTS") tunnelling contract with STRABAG AG ("STRABAG") to include the engineering, procurement and construction of the fit-out of the Company's MTS. 

The MTS fit-out scope includes the fit-out of; the MTS conveyor, the maintenance railway, electrical and communications infrastructure, and all other services in the tunnel essential to the operation of the MTS. 

The price of the MTS fit-out, which will be incurred in GBP, is in line with the Company's capital re-estimate announced on 6 September 2018.  More than 50 per cent of the MTS fit-out price is on a fixed rates or lump sum basis.  The remainder of the MTS fit-out price is based upon estimated prices that will be converted into fixed prices prior to completion of stage 2 financing.  The proposed schedule for the MTS fit-out is in line with the Company's overall Project schedule. 

The Company has now completed its procurement for the major construction packages related to the stage 2 senior debt financing process, which represents a significant milestone for the Project. 

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

"Procurement of the mineral transport system fit-out marks the completion of our major construction procurement programme to support our stage 2 senior debt financing process and is a significant milestone for the Company.  Our efforts are now focussed on the successful execution of our financing plan to fully finance the construction of our world-class, long-life polyhalite project."

Stage 2 financing

The varied MTS contract, which is the final procurement contract for our stage 2 senior debt financing process, will now be provided to the stage 2 lenders for review by the lenders' independent technical consultant.  Following completion of the procurement contract review, the Company and its lenders will assess the required capital contingency levels for the Project and will determine the overall capital funding requirement of the Project.  As previously announced, the Company expects the capital funding requirement of the Project to be US$3.4bn - US$3.6bn (previously US$3bn).  The Company believes that a US$3bn senior debt financing is the appropriate level of debt and will not seek to increase this amount.    

Given the timing of completion of the final procurement contracts, final lender commitment letters are expected to be received in December 2018 and January 2019.  As previously announced, the Company is targeting financial close of stage 2 financing in Q1 2019.    

Mineral transport system

The MTS will carry the Company's mined polyhalite from 360 meters underground at the Woodsmith mine site to the materials handling facility at Wilton, Teesside, on a 37km underground conveyor system.  The tunnel will be constructed by three tunnel boring machines.  The conveyor system in the MTS will be designed to handle 20 Mtpa of throughput.  The tunnel will also contain maintenance rail and services, including a 66kV power feeder from Wilton International industrial complex. "

Onwards ... ;-)


Ssssh .... only one eye open



Capt. 'Bob''s picture

A Stretch in Time

"In September the company said it was revising its design of the tunnel, widening it by a centimetre at an extra cost of £460m."

Give 'em an Inch ...



"EIGHT years ago, The Yorkshire Post received a press release that seemed too outlandish to be true.

Was somebody really considering building a giant mine in the North York Moors? Surely the application would be swiftly sent to the rejection bin by councillors? Would anybody seriously consider such a vast industrial undertaking in one of Britain’s favourite beauty spots?

Was it possible that beneath the hills lurked a stash of potash that could create a mini-version of the Klondike?

Today, bosses at Sirus Minerals are proving the sceptics and naysayers wrong. They are to be applauded for their patience, tact, determination and vision. They have developed a project that will make North Yorkshire’s economy less dependent on tourism and farming.

It’s impossible not to feel inspired by the giant mine that is being built by Sirius Minerals near the Yorkshire coast. The polyhalite project is one of the biggest private sector investments in the North of England.

When completed, it is expected to support thousands of skilled jobs and play a major role in boosting the scale of the UK’s exports. The mine will provide long term employment on a sophisticated project. The mine site is cleverly shielded from the surrounding world. You could drive past the front entrance and hardly be aware it was there.

The seam in North Yorkshire is one of the world’s finest deposits of potash. Apart from being a key component in fertiliser, potash can help to boost crop yields at a time when many are starving. So the North Yorkshire scheme could help to feed the world.

Sirius Minerals has announced that procurement is now complete for the major construction packages relating to stage 2 of the scheme’s financing, The company has signed an agreement with STRABAG for the fit out of the mineral transport system (MTS). The contract involves building a 23 mile underground conveyor system from the Woodsmith Mine, near Whitby, to Teesside. It will be designed to handle 20 million tonnes per year of polyhalite ore.

Chris Fraser, the managing director and CEO of Sirius, said: “Our efforts are now focused on the successful execution of our financing plan to fully finance the construction of our world-class, long-life polyhalite project.”

The new mine will have a transformational impact on the region’s economy and could help to improve global food security. It’s a £3.2bn capital investment project which is expected to generate £100bn for the UK economy over the next 50 years. Apart from creating 1,000, long-term, skilled jobs, the project is also set to support 1,500 supply chain jobs.

When the scheme was first proposed in 2011, the UK’s economy was still trapped in the deep freeze that followed the financial crash.

But bosses at Sirius held their nerve and calmly climbed over each obstacle that was placed in their way. They managed to allay fears about the mine’s environmental impact and started to secure support from investors.

Key figures from the mine project have made their home on the Yorkshire coast; a sign that they care about the local community and want to support the county’s economic growth.

"In common with all coastal residents, the mine’s bosses have been infuriated by shortcomings in the train service. They haven’t been afraid to speak out on behalf of local people about the “hugely frustrating” cancellations and delays on the train system serving Scarborough.

There is, of-course, much work to be done. The company is targeting the close of the stage 2 financing in the first quarter of 2019. It aims to hit the first polyhalite in 2021 and be in full operation as quickly as possible afterwards.

The Sirius Minerals story shows what can be achieved when business leaders have the courage of their convictions and take a long term view. It’s the perfect riposte to the short-termism that blights so much of the City."

The Fully Procured.

“Using our facility as a safe sanctuary to breed critically endangered animals is something we have been doing for decades.

“Our inspiration has always been to return offspring back to the wild and to replenish dwindling world populations. This is the only way of preventing the extinction of this majestic species."

Ah, so ...

"One aspect of today’s announcement that I don’t think has drawn any comment - the potential benefits of STRABAG being responsible not just for delivering a nice, shiny new tunnel, but also all its fit-out.  I could envisage that will at a minimum avoid the potential for disputes had different contractors been responsible for those two packets of work - “your tunnel’s not straight/leaking etc” vs”I told you not to drill holes like that in the liner, now look what you’ve done” etc etc.

And at a maximum, expedite the timely completion of the fitted-out tunnel; no need to wait until every last metre of the tunnel is finished, inspected and accepted....and certainly no delay to mobilise the fit-out crew and get all their kit delivered."


Captain Black's picture

Bob on the Ball


Keep Digging.


"We are wondering whether this galaxy is just the tip of an iceberg, and the Milky Way is surrounded by a large population of nearly invisible dwarfs similar to this one."

Ohm, Ohm ...

Ah, So

"OLKO-Maschinentechnik GmbH has ordered the electrical equipment for two Blair Multi-Rope machines (BMR) from Siemens. The hoisting winders are being used in the Woodsmith mine run by Sirius Minerals, a world leading producer of polyhalite, a unique multi-nutrient fertiliser in North Yorkshire, UK.

One hoist will work as a so-called production winder for material hoisting, one as a service winder for personal transport, with a hoisting capacity of 35 t payload. The polyhalite is hosted from approximately 1,450 m below sea level to the surface at a hoisting speed of 18 m per second (m/s). The delivery includes a medium-voltage synchronous motor with an output of 9.3 MW and a torque of 1,550 kilonewton metres (kNm) for each machine which are powered directly from a medium-voltage Sinamics SM150 (PWM) frequency converter.

Both winders are fitted with a COBRA01 multi-channel brake system which is a joint development between OLKO and Siemens. The digital speed control and supervision unit, which was developed by Siemens, meets the Safety Integral Level 3 standard (SIL 3, corresponds to IEC 61508) as well as the German TAS standard which applies to shaft hoisting systems. Siemens is therefore the first company in the world to integrate the highest safety standard in a mine hoist. The delivery also includes complete commissioning as well as annual inspection, maintenance and servicing.

From 2021, the Woodsmith mine will be the world’s largest polyhalite producer, a material which is used to produce fertilisers. This is hoisted via two mine shafts and conveyed out of the national park to Seesside via a 37 km bconveyor belt system in an underground tunnel. The majority of the polyhalite is exported once it has been pelletised.

OLKO-Maschinentechnik GmbH, part of Thyssen Schachtbau holdings, received the order to supply two mine hoists for the extraction of the world’s largest polyhalite deposit. Siemens supplied the electrical equipment consisting of medium-voltage synchronous motors which are powered by medium-voltage Sinamics SM 150 frequency converters. The COBRA01 multi-channel brake system provides a soft braking, comparable to a cars ABS system, but operating with four independent hydraulic braking channels. The production hoists is one of the largest in the world. The drum diameter, including the disk brakes, is 6.8 m. The motor has an output of 9.3 MW."


"That’s how we mine the future. What about you?"

Ah, well ...

Ohm, Ohm




Captain Black's picture


Capt. 'Bob''s picture

Sirius Lake View

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

“As part of our commitment to growing a local workforce, it’s our priority to generate an awareness of these apprenticeships, which will prepare people for long-term roles in the company, to those who live in the area.

We would like to reassure people who cannot make either of the events that they will be held in the future and we will make sure that all the information about these opportunities is made available on our website."

"Tunnelling began today on Sirius Minerals’ 23 mile underground mineral transportation system at Wilton International on Teesside. The tunnel will convey up to 20 million tonnes a year of polyhalite ore, a natural mineral used as fertilizer, from the company’s new underground mine near Whitby, to a new processing and shipping facility on the River Tees for distribution around the world.

The company expects to export £2.5bn worth of fertilizer every year at full capacity from a new purpose built processing plant and port in the shadows of the old Redcar Steelworks, creating 1,000 direct long term jobs. Sirius expects to strike first polyhalite in 2021 and be producing 10 million tonnes per annum by 2024.

“The start of the tunnelling marks another major milestone for this world class project,” said Chris Fraser, CEO of Sirius Minerals. “We’ve made great progress this year already, having broken ground here on Teesside in the summer and made great strides with the construction of Woodsmith Mine.”

The first 125m of the tunnel will be created with traditional tunnelling methods, before a tunnel boring machine (TBM) takes over for the rest of the 8 mile drive from Wilton. Two more tunnel boring machines will be lowered into the ground at the mine and an intermediate site to drive the remaining 23 miles. The underground transportation system, linked to the mine, was chosen to avoid impacting the surface landscape of the local area.

“We are very proud of our innovative, low impact sustainable design, which has been part of the project’s DNA from day one,” said Fraser. “We are selling a unique, multi-nutrient fertilizer that can make a significant positive difference to farming practices and agricultural sustainability around the world. So it’s important that the project design delivered innovation and sustainability, giving us a world class project that the country can be proud of.”

A small ceremony took place at the site prior to the tunnel portal breakthrough to mark St Barbara’s day, the patron saint of miners and tunnellers. Cllr Sue Jeffrey, Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, sounded a horn to mark the start of excavation. Cllr Jeffrey has agreed to act as the patron of the tunnel, a traditional ceremonial role in the industry, which oversees the welfare of all who are working underground.

“This project is going to bring jobs and economic benefits for this area for decades to come,” said the councillor. “I understand there are already up to 800 people working on the project and they expect around 1,700 people to have worked on its construction by the time it is built. It’s so important for Teesside and the whole North East to have companies like Sirius bringing long term investment that will make a significant difference to generations of people here.”

Wilton :

Benefitz Betty's picture



Senior figures from across the North of England are heading to India in a bid to forge trade links with the world’s fastest growing economy.

The group, which includes entrepreneurs and civic leaders, is aiming to highlight Northern expertise in a range of technologies.

They are forming the first high profile delegation to take advantage of a new direct air link between Manchester Airport and India, in the form of Jet Airways’ direct service to Mumbai.

A spokesman said: “During their trip, the delegates will look to exploit opportunities for trade and collaboration between India’s fast-growing tech sector and the North’s specialisms in areas such as advanced manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence, cyber security, health technology, and FinTech.”

Rachel Clark, director of trade and investment at the Sheffield City Region, said: “High-growth markets such as India are increasingly important to the Sheffield City Region, particularly in the context of Brexit. We’re looking forward to building long-lasting, mutually productive relationships during this visit and as part of our wider programme.”

Sirius Minerals, the company behind the giant polyhalite Woodsmith Mine, near Whitby, is also taking part in the trip to India.

Gareth Edmunds from Sirius Minerals, said: “India has the potential to be an important market for us and we’re pleased to be involved in this event.

“In years to come we hope to be seeing POLY4 from North Yorkshire benefiting farmers and agricultural practices across India.”

International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, said: “I’m delighted that businesses are already making the most of the new Manchester to Mumbai flight path.”