Woodsmith & Boulby III

Captain Black's picture

A starter for ten: Where are we?

"Following the grant of planning permission, and the appointment of Contractors, more efficient construction techniques and other improvements have been identified that have resulted in the evolution of the approved scheme at Woodsmith Mine. These include:-

1 -The redesign of the foreshafts within the Men & Material, and Mineral Shafts, adopting an alternative approach to their construction (diaphragm walling) and associated changes to the building layouts to enable access and ventilation to be incorporated, removing the need for the Drift Portal, and the -45m level road network;

2 -The early use of the permanent winders at the site to remove the need for temporary winders/temporary headframes at the Men & Material, and Mineral Shafts during the construction period;

3 -Re-Construction and Operational Platform levels and groundwater management,which removes the need for the previously approved grout curtain around the Platform;

4 -The reliance on a limited range of internal Shaft diameters to provide a greater level of flexibility during the construction phase;

5 - The use of diaphragm wall construction for all shafts (i.e. below foreshafts), to 120 metres below-ground (approximately 80 metres AOD);

6 - Reconsideration of the location and layout of the water attenuation ponds within the site; and

7 - Amendments to the internal road link."

Is something missing?


The Planning Statement re the material amendments S73 Application is of interest as it does confirm the environmental impacts would be reduced at the Woodsmith Mine site.  It also refers to the original application, ie Alternative Sites, the MDT & importance of the development:

"Whilst the detailed assessments undertaken to support this assessment are not repeated here, in summary, the application material demonstrated that:

1 - The development had the potential to be developed as a highly efficient new mine with high quality access to the most significant Polyhalite resource in the world;

2 - The production of Polyhalite would help to provide a solution to the challenge of UK and global food security as Woodsmith Mine would become one of the most significant large scale suppliers of multi-nutrient fertilisers;

3 - At full production, the development would supply approximately 4% of the world potassium-based fertilizer market which is forecast to grow by 60% by 2050, to address world nutrient deficiencies and a growing global population;

4 - The characteristics of Polyhalite make it well suited to a wide range (approximately 85%) of world food crops and markets;

5 - Sirius Minerals Plc had already secured commitments from international buyers for the large scale supply of Polyhalite, demonstrating a defined need for the product;

6 - Market and pricing studies demonstrate that it is realistic to expect the approved development to reach and sustain its full planned level of output for well over 100 years, generating a long and lasting contribution to the local, regional and national economies;

7 - The development would have significant and positive economic benefits, including: an increase in GDP; a nationally significant reduction in the trade deficit; over 1,000 high value direct jobs and many more in the supply chain; corporate and income tax receipts and royalty payments, helping to rebalance the national economy and substantially strengthen the regional and local economies;

8 - At full production, the development would generate approximately £1.2bn of exports each year, which would reduce the UK’s trade deficit by just under 4%;

9 - The environmental impacts of the approved development were, in general, limited and mostly temporary in nature; and

10 -There were no alternative sites for the proposals, either within or outside of the National Park."

Erm, except Boulby.  

".. these key characteristics of the North Yorkshire Polyhalite Project were central to the planning justification for the application. Combined, these characteristics were acknowledged as exceptional circumstances sufficient to justify major development in the National Park."

Page 10 : "The redesign of the foreshafts within the Men & Material, and Mineral Shafts and the adoption of an alternative approach to their construction (diaphragm walling), along with associated changes to the building layouts to enable access and ventilation to be incorporated, removing the need for the Drift Portal and the -45m level road network future construction amendments." 

All boxes ticked so far.

Oh, just a minute :

Page 12: "The proposed amendments to the North Yorkshire Polyhalite Project are limited to works taking place at the Woodsmith Mine site."

Indeed.  All very Bairdish.  Lets take a birds eye view of the York Potash site Boundary Plan.


Hmmm  ...   it has three legs http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/the_island_that_swapped_donke...

How Now, I can't quite remember which shafts are to be shifted: Skip to :

"Design work has continued to identify simplification and capital reduction opportunities in parts of the Project.  These include the redesign of the mine infrastructure between surface and 120 metres below ground, refinement and optimisation of the granulation process in the materials handling facility ("MHF") and simplification of the mineral transport system ("MTS") conveyor design.  Given the early stage of the overall project development programme, the Company believes it is too early to recognise any of these opportunities as a reduction in total project cost.

The Company had been pursuing the opportunity to accelerate the diaphragm walling ("D Walling") component of the shaft sinking programme.  Unfortunately, this opportunity was not able to be captured due to mobilization and design delays.  The opportunity to accelerate the commencement of tunnelling activity continues to be progressed with further design and logistics works to be completed over the balance of this year before a final decision to proceed can be made...

"In relation to the MTS, the Company has entered into an agreement with the Hochtief Murphy Joint Venture ("HMJV") for early contractor involvement activities with a view to progressing the engineering and design in advance of negotiating a design and build contract...

"MTS related geotechnical activity continues with emphasis in this period on the seismic programme along the tunnel segment between the MHF and Lockwood Beck.  The high quality of the data being received so far will be of significant assistance in the detailed design process for the tunnel.  In addition, a series of geotechnical boreholes have been drilled to inform the design of the tunnel boring machine launch caverns located at Lockwood Beck and Woodsmith."

"The Company is working closely with HMJV with a view to evaluating the opportunity to commence preparatory tunnelling activities from the MHF location early in 2018.  This opportunity will be assessed with a view to improving the aggregate project schedule and expediting production ramp up."


The  'Listening Well'


"Given these conclusions, it is considered that in the context of the MDT, the exceptional circumstances that justified approval of the original application are unchanged. Equally, there are no other changes in policy or circumstances that suggest an alternative outcome for the application is appropriate. It is hoped, therefore, that this s73 application can be positively determined, to assist the continued progress of the North Yorkshire Polyhalite Project."

Page 19/20 : "Each revised phasing submission has been accompanied by a phasing plan, detailing the specific elements to be included as part of the proposed package of works. This approach is expected to continue as future work packages are identified. To reflect this on-going approach, it is proposed that the approved phasing plans are to be replaced with annual progress plans that both reflect submissions already made, thereby updating the original plans but also providing an enhanced understanding of future key packages of work, and how they interact.

It is also proposed that these annual progress plans become illustrative drawings rather than approved documents, to avoid the procedural need to formally amend drawings when amendments are made to the precise nature of construction activities planned for the site. The requirement remains to discharge the relevant phasing details, pursuant to retained planning conditions and hence the NYMNPA retains control of on-site activities as appropriate, but the requirement for formal applications to adjust phasing plan detail would be removed."

Locked Stock  & two smoking barrels?

Shift or drift.

Boulby is in North Yorkshire.

In the thicket.


About that Bush Telegraph