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Have Your Say on Potash Mine in North York Moors

North York moors

8:51am 18th February 2013
(Updated 9:46am 18th February 2013)

The North York Moors National Park Authority has now started a public consultation on the proposal to create a second potash mine within the National Park. 

The Authority says the detailed plans for the mining proposal are set out in the planning application which was registered on 4th February and provides more information on the scale and extent of the development at Dove’s Nest Farm, south of Whitby than the earlier concept which was subject to widespread public consultation. 

The public are being encouraged by the Authority to comment on the documents on their website (www.northyorkmoors.org.uk) and a public meeting to explain the proposal further will be held at the Raven Hall Hotel, Ravenscar at 1.30pm on March 13th.

This is a significant development within the National Park, say the Authority, in both economic and environmental terms and the application contains numerous plans and supporting documents including an Environmental Impact Assessment Statement which covers the wider project including the pipelines and processing infrastructure. 

The key aspects of the development as laid out by the North York Moors National Park Authority are:

The Site

  • The area of land at the mine head site which will be subject to surface development amounts to approx. 40 hectares of open farmland and woodland situated at a height of 205m lying between the Heritage Coast and the A169 Pickering to Whitby road. Open heather moorland which is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and subject to European habitat designation immediately surrounds the site to the south and west.

Buildings and Structures

  • A complex of mining and on-site processing buildings is proposed which together cover an area of nearly 14,000m2 (1.4ha) and with a maximum roof height of approx. 9m;
  • Two mine shafts are to be sunk up to a depth of 1700m within a buried chamber which is to be excavated to a depth of approx. 90m:
  • Support and welfare buildings cover 2982m2 and measure 13m high;
  • A 76 space car park and emergency helicopter landing pad with a planned 120 car space extension to the  approved Whitby Park and Ride site to ensure most workers park away from the mine head site;
  • The amount of excavated spoil from the shafts, access tunnel and chamber is approx. 600,000m³ in volume and is to be used to form earth mounds and bunding around the site up to a height of 10m above the current land levels.

Transportation of Potash

  • Although not included in this application as they are classed as ‘nationally significant infrastructure’, the York Potash proposals include the construction of two 44.5km pipelines which will be buried 1.8m deep, crossing approximately 26km of the National Park to transport the potash mixed with brine to a processing plant at Wilton on Teesside.
  • The ‘working width’ of the pipeline corridor will be 50m and the construction period will be over two years.

The Product

  • Potash is a generic term for a variety of potassium-bearing minerals. It occurs in beds lying beneath the National Park, extending to the south towards the Humber and under the North Sea to Germany, where it is also mined. The current proposal intends to extract a harder form of the mineral known as Polyhalite, which will be processed at Teesside.  Up to 20 million tonnes per year are to be extracted, most of which will be for overseas markets. Additional plant and buildings are proposed on site to deal with a second phase of production scheduled for 4-5 years after initial production.


  • The mine head site within the National Park will initially provide 554 jobs which is expected to rise to 706 when full production is reached in 2024.


  • The planning application seeks consent to mine Polyhalite in an area of the National Park covering 253km² for a period of 100 years. It is expected that the site will be under construction for a period of 3-4 years if consent is given in May 2013.

You can have your say by visiting www.northyorkmoors.org.uk

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