Sirius Minerals to Begin Work on Underground Transportation Tunnel
The company behind North Yorkshire’s new multibillion-pound polyhalite fertilizer mine has unveiled the first of its 1,800-ton tunnel boring machines that will be used to build the company’s underground mineral transport tunnel between Whitby and Teesside.
The machine will pierce the first of three planned tunnels that will form the 23-mile tunnel from a new underground mine, near Whitby, to a processing facility on Wilton International in Redcar.
Two more machines are expected to be launched in 2020 from Whitby and Lockwood Beck, near Guisborough, to complete the last 15 miles of the six-meter-diameter tunnel.
Workers will run the machine 24/7, lining the tunnel with concrete segments as they go.
When completed, the tunnel will transport up to 20 million tonnes per year of polyhalite ore on a conveyor belt from the mine to a specially designed processing and shipping facility in the shadow of the old steel mill. Redcar, for worldwide distribution.
A tunnel was chosen as the transport solution to avoid impacting the local landscape and will have no impact on the ground above, located on average 250 meters below ground level.
Chris Fraser, Managing Director and CEO of Sirius, said: “The assembly of our first TBM is an exciting milestone for the company and the region.
“With approximately 1,000 people currently employed across our sites, the team working to make this project a success continues to grow as we deliver this world-class project.
“We plan to create hundreds of additional skilled construction positions in the coming months to help build our mine shafts, tunnel and mineral handling facility. ”
Sirius plans to reach the polyhalite vein in 2021 and produce 10 million tonnes of fertilizer per year by 2024, creating around 1,000 new long-term operational jobs.