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What: Sirius Minerals (LSE: SXX), the £200m mining and exploration company, updated the market this morning on the status of its potash mine in North Yorkshire. The firm has decided to submit the application for its mine at the end of September 2014 and the overall development schedule to deliver the first production remains mid-2018. The shares fell 9.8% in early trade.
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So what: Sirius plans to transfer the mineral to Teesside, reducing the above-ground construction otherwise required by using an underground conveyor belt. The submission for the mineral transport system and the mine application have been coordinated to make the process more “straightforward”.
Now what: Sirius Minerals and the North York Moors National Park Authority (NPA) have agreed to an informal pre-application ‘Planning Position Statement‘. The NPA understands that the York Potash project has the potential to bring “significant economic benefits”, but that it is likely to have “adverse impacts” on the National Park. The agreement provides a framework for further dialogue on the remaining issues.
Chris Fraser, the chief executive of Sirius, commented:
“We believe this is the most productive way forward, particularly as this doesn’t impact the overall project schedule. In the meantime, the common ground we have currently reached with the authority officers provides very clear guidance as to detail that the applications need to include at the point of submission.”