Sirius : Stage IV

Captain Black's picture

"The owners of the Potash mine near Whitby say they are focused and committed to delivering the project.

Sirius Minerals have not been able to get the £400m it needs to fund the next stage.

It has taken the decision to reduce the rate of development in order to save funding to allow more time for alternatives.

Gareth Edmunds, External Affairs Director at Sirius Minerals, said:

"We've been focused since the day we started this project, which is nearly nine years now, on delivering it.

We've known that there's always been challenges to overcome; we've overcome a number of those challenges.

We're two and a half years into construction; we've made fantastic progress across the sites, we've got customers around the world who wants to buy this product, and now we need to find a way during this strategic review process to fund the remainder of the project."

He explained if there will be any job losses: 

"We're trying to minimise any impact on our staff; and our focus in making this decision is to buy ourselves an additional six months to find an additional funding solution.

That will be part of the strategic review and that will come up with options that will hopefully see us back into full speed ahead, and delivering the project which is our main focus."





Captain Black's picture

Blue Share ...

"In particular, ShoreCap noted that tunnelling rates have been faster than expected, already hitting the target of an average 17 metres per day and with a fastest rate achieved of 29.5 metres per day, despite the current ground being relatively difficult.

This potentially removes the need for a tunnel boring machine at Lockwood Beck and offers the potential to use the machine's mucking system to transport up to 6m tonnes per year of polyhalite during tunnel fitout, which would accelerate commercial production."

Captain Qahn's picture

Stella Rose ...

Sirius has completed a mile of its 23-mile tunnel under the North York Moors to transport polyhalite, a form of natural fertiliser

"Sirius has completed a mile of its 23-mile tunnel under the North York Moors to transport polyhalite, a form of natural fertiliser"

Another 8 miles ... ;-))

28.73 metres per day .... 

The Optimist.

Wots 64 weeks in English?

"Suppose a more accurate estimate of their orbit periods is that Mercury takes 7/30 Earth-years and Venus takes 26/42 Earth-years. "

Oh, OK ;-)



The Odd Boost

Unauthorised Encampment

""It was a complete surprise," one source said..."

"These changes, when they are adopted... will introduce substantial changes not only to an entire range of articles of the constitution, but also to the entire balance of power, the power of the executive, the power of the legislature, the power of judiciary ..."

"Is this the intention? To sneak in, under the cloak of a populist attack on a small minority, the criminalisation of walking on the great majority of England’s land?"

"Even while it remains a civil matter, the offence of trespass informs us that we are strangers in our own nation, unwelcome on the great majority of its acres."


dats as close as you get to a bear hug.. ;-0

"Johnson’s government would do the same to people living in tents or bivvy bags. There will be nowhere to turn."

Someone somewhere is keeping a record.

"But in casting the illiberal net so wide, the government might accidentally have created a coalition. Rather than allowing Roma, Travellers and homeless people to be picked off, all those of us who fear the criminalisation of trespass should join forces with them, protecting their rights while we defend our own. In responding to the consultation, which closes on 4 March, we should refuse to be trapped in the government’s framing. Instead of agreeing or disagreeing with its proposals, we should state under every confusing question that we reject all attempts to criminalise trespass.

History shows that attacks on general freedoms often begin with an attack on the freedom of a minority. It teaches us that we should never allow a government to divide and rule. An attack on one is an attack on all."

I quite like grapes in my cheese sandwich.

Green Credentials

As the Boards descend into psychological warfare :

"How will Microsoft achieve its goal?

Microsoft has suggested a range of ways it could remove carbon from the atmosphere, including:

  • seeding new forests and expanding existing ones
  • soil carbon sequestration - a process of putting carbon back into the ground. This could be achieved by adding microbes and nutrients to parched earth, which should have the added benefits of making the soil more fertile and less susceptible to erosion
  • direct air capture - sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, possibly by using large fans to move air through a filter that can remove the gas
  • bio-energy with carbon capture - growing crops and then capturing the CO2 they emit when, for example, they are burned to produce heat or fermented to make fuels such as bioethanol. Negative emissions become possible if the amount of CO2 stored as a result is greater than that emitted during production, transport and use"

Divide & Conquer?

You can't kill an idea...


"you are lodged in our memories, you tower over the world like a comet."

Back to it.

"After firm offer they won't be able to change it against other bidders, that's why they keep it open-ended."

"I can not see any reason why another potential bidder would make themselves known at this stage with this unofficial offer from AA swirling around.

I'm expecting others to emerge from the shadows if 5.5p is confirmed by AA."

Sensible words.

The Square Peg

tis written in the stars ;-/

"However, the reaction to the new outfit has been less than complimentary - with most pointing out the design will not help troops blend in during space missions.

One person tweeted: "How many trees are you expecting to find in space?"

Another pointed out: "Space is black... I feel like this is an important distinction when designing a uniform."

To the Three Dragons ...


Keep busy.

"Anglo American is dabbling in creative mergers & acquisitions. Buying an English fertiliser project for just over $500m (R7bn), excluding debt, is more than manageable for a $35bn mining giant that generated $1.3bn in free cash flow in the first half of last year. It's also a gamble on an unproven niche market that speaks to the paucity of large-scale acquisition options for cashed-up diggers.

Anglo said last week it may bid for London-listed Sirius Minerals, owner of a giant potash project under the North York Moors National Park.

The mine's future has been in question since a funding plan collapsed last year, after Sirius had to pull a $500m junk bond sale, making it impossible to unlock a $2.5bn credit facility from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

That makes this an opportunistic move by Anglo CEO Mark Cutifani. Anglo is offering 5.5p (R1) per share for a stock that traded at four times that less than a year ago. It's an affordable option - Anglo can easily support both the cost of the initial deal and a development spend estimated at $300m a year for the next two years.

It's a laudable effort at diversification too, away from SA, into a counter-cyclical commodity and a space the miner hasn't been in since selling its niobium and phosphates business in Brazil in 2016. It's also purchasing at a relatively low point for fertiliser ingredients - notable for an industry that in the past burnt billions buying at the top.

But none of this means Anglo should press ahead with a firm offer.

Anglo shareholders still bear bruises from its disastrous, peak-of-the-market Minas Rio deal - a Brazilian iron ore project that was plagued by years of cost overruns and delays, and ultimately contributed to the departure of Cutifani's predecessor. The $5bn Quellaveco copper mine in Peru, meanwhile, which was supposed to prove Anglo's ability to build from scratch, is still two years from production.

Anglo argues that the Sirius development is far more advanced than Minas Rio was. That's true. But it will still require about $3bn, by Sirius estimates, and a 37km tunnel under a national park, for a conveyor belt to take rock to port. A challenge, even with permits in hand.

Investors should be far more worried about Anglo bosses' willingness to bet on a project where demand for the end product - an alternative to traditional potassium-bearing minerals called polyhalite - is unproven, and prices are unclear. The selling point is that along with potassium it combines several key nutrients - magnesium, sulphur and calcium -and is low-chloride too, which matters for some crops. It's unclear how those extras are valued, though.

Only one company, Israel Chemicals, currently produces polyhalite, from one mine. Price estimates range from $100 to $200 per metric ton, making the economics difficult to calculate. Polyhalite accounts for a tiny sliver of the wider potash market.

Capacity of the Yorkshire mine dwarfs current demand. The polyhalite market amounts to less than 1-million tons a year, but the Yorkshire mine could produce 13-million tons. That's a mighty step up, even accounting for the purchase agreements Sirius has already signed. Success will require building substantial new demand and clawing market share away from potash giants like Nutrien. That may be a challenge.

There is some element of reassurance here. Even if it bids, Anglo won't be committing to develop the mine, making this an option of sorts.

That's small consolation for investors, though, who will fret that cash-rich miners looking for growth - and wary of overspending on coveted metals such as copper - will begin to experiment. Expect mixed results."