SBC Town Hall Potash Presentation


Tom Fox welcomed Chris Fraser, Graham Clarke and Gareth Edmunds to the Town Hall and thanked them for the opportunity to allow members of the public to ask questions.

The presentation started promptly at 9.15 am with Chris Fraser talking through the slide show. Focusing on the benefits of the product Polyhalite and dismissing the ICL report on lack of global markets for Polyhalite; “ We know it is false”; “It ultimately comes down to price and the security of supply”.

Fraser talked of the Crop Studies results recently undertaken by Durham University and future studies to be undertaken by Universities in San Paolo, Brazil and Shang Hai Agricultural University.  With a mention of further crop studies being undertaken on cabbages, notably Tom Fox smiled at that one.

Fraser explained the ‘ Law of The Minimum’, spoke of Natural Blends and Natural Synergy with the product being of great value and internationally significant. The product had an organic label and was chloride free, needing less water, having only 4 of the 6 MOP ingredients, a more balanced fertilisation  taking away the nitrogen and phosphorous run off, that were most harmful to the environment.

Whilst Fraser ran through the product benefits I couldn’t help but feel he looked slightly bored, remaining seated throughout the presentation and not looking very impressed with the assembly.

Fifteen minutes later Graham Clarke took over the presentation to highlight the subsurface nature of the mineshaft design and subsurface facilities at Doves Nest. Clarke confirmed the pipeline was the most efficient method to transport the mineral to the processing plant at Teesside.

Clarke went on to describe the achievements to date of the mine design, in breaking traditional mining concepts, ie how to build “a mine that won’t be seen”. Which I thought was a bit far-fetched, but I got his confidence in the design, build, concept was pushing him through his nerves. Talking through slides showing the movements of the spoil around the site and the size of the bunds and what they might look like.

Fifteen minutes later Gareth Edmunds took over and talked about the planning case, how the product could not be accessed from anywhere else because it was not economically viable. Testing had been carried out at the Whitby enclave and Cloughton, but the further South you go, the deeper the product became to access.

Edmunds then spoke of the exceptional circumstances to the planning application, moreover, the Major Development Test, saying that national needs were not being met and that the project was one of ‘National Importance’. He did not elaborate other than to say this was the only deposit in the UK, with access being from within the National Park.

Edmunds then went on to quote the Socio-Economics report, highlighting the 6000 jobs over ten years in the construction of the mine and pipeline with £55m being put into the local economy at the first stage of the project rising to £944m at the end stage. (I think he meant phase II, not the end).

Curiously, he went on to state that £55mil would be paid to land owners (about 500) in the first year and then said “the economics behind the project were quite striking”, with over 4000 shareholders in the NE of England.

Edmunds then went on to explain the no project scenario with the loss of 337 jobs, including those that were already in the supply chain. Adding “If we can employ locally then we will.”

Fox was staring full ahead through all of this, as if he had heard it all before,  with Jim Dillon seeming the most interested  throughout.

With the Sirius boys presentation over it was time for questions, firstly from the Councillors then the public.

Quite surprisingly, and totally apt, Tom Fox interjected with the first question; “after reading in various media outlets that the amount of spoil had been compared to the size of Wembley Stadium….” .  That was the big question in that room and I hate to say it but was quite impressed that Tom Fox had picked up on that.  Amusingly, Graham Clarke gave estimates on the internal capacity of Wembley Stadium compared with the external  measurements, etc, etc, it was obviously something he had taken on board and looked at in great detail.  Clarke added that the spoil calculations had now been submitted as worse case for both the sunken facility and sunken mine shaft, with 300,000 cubic meters temporarily and 800,000 cubic meters to form bunds around the site that would reduce noise and visual impact.

Dilys Cluer asked if some of the spoil was to be transported away from the site,  adding “was this spoil inert?” Clarke confirmed that only the Potassium  and Sodium Chloride amounting to 17/20,000 cubic meters would be taken away from the site “not a huge amount” compared to other mines and went on to explain in further detail.

Geoff asked about “the destroying of jobs in the tourism industry”. Fraser confirmed there was a ‘difference of opinion on this matter’ that was being worked through with the Park Authority.

Sam Cross asked about vehicle movements and transport issues. Again these were being looked at closely and mitigated within the application.

Bill Chatt asked, in his own way, about why the site had to be sited in such a sensitive area? Gareth Edmunds again said “ it was the only site viable from an economic point of view”.

Brian Cox asked of the experiments (crop studies) on the corn had been carried out on cereal crops or maize? Fraser replied.

Penny Marsden asked something or other.

Questions from the Public; MM from Scarborough asked about the time scales.  Fraser answered that if approval was given on 29th July then the site works and spoil movements would begin within three months,  working towards the shaft sinking in January. With production commencing fourth quarter 2016. (e)

Dalton Peake asked about the processing, whether this would be carried out in Teesside or the Middle East, where it had been said would only cost 10% of the processing costs. Fraser replied that the potential of the new Polyhalite product would mean less processing. Originally, with the old product processing in the Middle East had been considered but not now. Any processing would be done at Teesside in the UK, with the hope of keeping jobs within the UK. This was a UK product and a UK company.

Time for questions ran out because of the Cabinet Meeting. I managed to catch up with Graham Clarke outside of the meeting with my question. Was any of the Polyhalite to be stored on site? No, it was going straight from the mine through the pipeline up to Teesside.

I asked Graham how he felt about working with Sirius Minerals; “It was the best decision I have ever made”.  Clearly, he meant every word of  that and was very positive about the whole Sirius Project.

I then caught up for a chat with Gareth Edmunds and asked him about the possibility of an uptake agreement or a possible  takeover by a larger Potash company. Not clear with that, or unable to respond, I then asked him if  ‘Sirius’ were going to ‘stick around’ if they got the approvals needed. And we briefly chatted about past Sirius and future Sirius. I think he told me in a round about fashion that they, the ‘new’ Sirius,  intended to stick around.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to catch up with Chris Fraser, he was talking to others.

To sum up, my overall impression of the meeting was that they felt slightly uncomfortable and were very guarded about their words, perhaps with the possibility of becoming misrepresented.

I did appreciate the fact they were very pleasant , if not quite humble, considering their massive ambitions. My feelings were that this new ‘Sirius’ are still finding their wings locally and are very vulnerable. I guess all this testing and probing is slightly wearing and tiresome.

I did expect a lot more enthusiasm and heavy slick sales stuff, but there was none of it. Was I missing something? I think there was a very poor turnout, especially from ‘members of the public’. This is the most exciting development project on the Yorkshire Coast for a very long time. It will change us. It is challenging. Why don’t or haven’t  more people get involved, especially from Scarborough? Frankly I am beginning to wonder if the Sirius boys are having doubts. About us that is, the locals.

24 Responses to "SBC Town Hall Potash Presentation"

  1. Vanda  June 18, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Each article/blogg has its own ‘ditty’ song, this one is for the National Park, it helps to keep on track. Many thanks to the RW team for publishing this promptly.

  2. Jon Owen  June 18, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Thank you Vanda for your work.


  3. george conway  June 20, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Dear Vanda

    pity you did not ask a question publicly yourself however they will have been asked the same questions so many times at other public relations excercises it may have been a waste of time.

    Nothing new then?

  4. Cllr Mike Cockerill  June 20, 2013 at 11:09 am

    A slight correction to your article, I don’t believe Sam Cross was at the presentation so don’t see how he could ask a question.

  5. Nigel Ward  June 21, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    @Vanda: On a point of detail, Councillor Mike WARD tells me that you have misidentified Councillor Sam CROSS, who was not at the meeting.

    It was in fact Mike himself who asked that question.

    Just saying . . .

  6. Vanda  June 21, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Sorry Mike. It sounded like Sam Cross!? There were only 10 councillors there which I thought was a tad rude, glad you were there Mike, representing Whitby!

  7. Richard Ineson  June 22, 2013 at 7:24 am

    I would have been at the meeting but had other irons in the fire on that day. Good report and interesting that some of our Councillors managed to ask a few questions.This is a big project and hopefully, will, if it goes ahead, provide some jobs for local people, naturally the people who do not have to do anything except sign a piece of paper, the landowners/shareholders will be the main beneficiaries, as usual.One question that didn’t seem to get asked was, what will go in the hole which will be left behind after the minerals have been extracted, and who will own the hole? Another one is, if the NYMNPA give permission for this project to go ahead, will this compromise their position as regards granting permission for other projects which require ‘special’ consideration because they are providing jobs?

    • Vanda  June 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm

      PS did I forget to mention the MoD detail? Apparently ‘of a mind to remove the objection’ this is being worked out between the MoD and NYMNPA as part of the conditions of planning. ‘Sirius/YP’ will be complying to the recommendations made. So don’t expect any further objections from them, the MoD. So go and fill your boots UTP.

    • Vanda  June 23, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      Richard, sorry got distracted, I do appreciate your wise words, keep checking in! Get back sooner,will report back from meeting on 26th. ATB

  8. Vanda  June 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I see the penny is proverbially dropping in the iii sites, well done Chem, keep going. You will come to the same conclusions as I did months ago …. and guess who is paying for it – smooth, smart but yet to be articulated …. work it out!

  9. Vanda  June 23, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    oh yeah UTP, ;-) – IMO the share price wont be going any where, its deliberately being kept neatly where it is,to stop the small investors from getting out.

  10. Vanda  June 23, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    UTP; yes you are a fool, it is a criminal offence to record meetings without permission, of course you were too much of a coward to go yourself, in the words of one present “identify yourself” lol – idiot. I was being diplomatic, not misrepresenting, when you ever get round to doing a presentation yourself you will understand that nerves and pressure get the best of you. You are an idiot and did not get the atmosphere, nor the sense of that meeting. I was very fair.

  11. Vanda  June 25, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Went to an excellent meeting today. I can only disclose that letters will be sent out over the next few days.

  12. vanda  June 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm


  13. Vanda  July 3, 2013 at 4:47 am

    Potash mine drop-in events

    The company behind the proposed potash mine near Whitby is holding a pair of drop-in days to update residents of the progress of the plans.

    The informal sessions will be held by York Potash, on Thursday July 4 between 10am and 2.30pm at Hawsker and Stainsacre Parish Hall and on Friday July 5 between 12pm and 6.00pm at Sneaton Village Hall.

    The company claim the sessions are part its ongoing commitment to keeping local people informed of developments at the site, and members of the project team will be on hand to answer queries about the proposed development.

    A planning decision on the mine is not expected from the National Park Authority until 29 July.

    The proposed mine is the first of its kind for 40 years.

    Potash is an essential component for plant growth and without it food would not be able to be produced with the same l evel of efficiency and certainty.

    The proposed location for the mine access is an existing farm and commercial forestry block located approximately two kilometres south of Sneaton village and four kilometres south of Whitby.

    If the plans are approved, around 1,000 jobs would ultimately be created.
    For further information, call 0845 543 8964 or email info@

  14. David Perry  July 3, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Fertiliser is produced widely and is used already. The fertiliser this lot claim to be using will only be used for export to rice growing areas. And there are not too many of those in this country.

    As for a 1000 jobs ultimately being created. Do you really believe everything they tell you? They’ve only got 70 car parking places allocated on their planning documents. I suppose they are somehow going to enforce all the rest of the staff to use public transport or park and ride. Some hope!!

  15. Vanda  July 8, 2013 at 9:48 pm

  16. Dave Red  July 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    What About The Workers?

    What about the workers in Whitby? I read recently that the Potash Mining company is to commission and pay for three extra trains per day from Teesside to Whitby to bring workers in from Teesside to work in the Potash mine near Sneaton.

    Second point. Has planning permission been applied for at the site at Teesside for the processing of the material which is to be extracted from the mine situated near Sneaton, Whitby?

    Something else:-

  17. Neil Perrins  July 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm


    ” IMO the share price wont be going any where, its deliberately being kept neatly where it is,to stop the small investors from getting out.”

    Don’t ever go into financial services. 23rd June 25p; today 27.5p. 10% return in 15 days. Pity those poor investors who are trapped in this horrendously beneficial investment.

    • Vanda  July 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      Aw Shucks, thanks for the advice. Would have thought it better manners to keep the stone hurling until after the 29th! keep it polite xx

  18. Dave Red  July 12, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I omitted to mention above that the train service that the Potash mine company is to pay for (such generosity, I am almost speechless, we could do with a couple of post offices too in this area and maybe an Asda at Sneaton. I am certain a farmer could be persuaded to give up his farm to make way for a supermarket, need some buses too, currently there is no bus service on the road past the site of the proposed potash mine) will be operating an almost 24 hour service with the first shift starting at 6 am and the last shift finishing at 10 pm. Thinking about Asda opening a branch at Sneaton, good accessiblity by road and the impact the extra jobs would have on the unemployment statistics, immeasurable.


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