Anglo American provides update on purchased Sirius project

31.07.2020

 Anglo American says construction is continuing on its Woodsmith polyhalite mine in the UK, acquired in January 2020 with the takeover of Sirius Minerals.

With strict monitoring in place during lockdown, the workforce has increased from around 600 in May to nearly 1,000 by the end of July, with more expected to be added in the coming months, the company said in its 30 July statement.

“After a brief pause at the beginning of the [Covid-19] outbreak, we’ve been able to continue construction under new enhanced operating procedures based on and in some areas exceeding government guidelines,” said Gareth Edmunds, External Affairs Director for Anglo American’s Crop Nutrients business Woodsmith Project. “We remain vigilant of the risk and will continue to do all we can do keep everyone safe. It is important for the area that this project gets built and that we continue to deliver the jobs and opportunities for local businesses that are needed now more than ever.”

Anglo American acquired Sirius Minerals for £405 million at the beginning of 2020. The acquisition marks a return to fertilizers for Anglo American, which sold its phosphates assets in Brazil in 2016.

When announcing the takeover, Anglo said it believes the Woodsmith mine has the potential to become a world-class, low-cost and long-life asset. The company said the project is currently the world’s largest known high-grade polyhalite deposit with a JORC Reserve of 290 million tonnes, with a grade of 88.8%, and a Resource of 2.69 billion tonnes.

Anglo expects to invest approximately US$300m (GBP 235m) each year in 2020 and 2021. The underground mine will be connected to a 23-mile tunnel, which will transport the ore to the port of Teesside for processing and shipping. The tunnel will avoid any disturbance to the land above, which is part of the North York Moors National Park. The tunnelling operation has reached 4.5 miles, the company said. Excavation of the mineshaft is expected to begin later this year.

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