Sirius Minerals, a United Kingdom-based firm, has proposed developing an underground potash mine in North York Moors that supports say will create more than 1,000 local jobs and provide polyhalite for the 100 years.
The £1.7 billion mineral mine under the North York Moors would be developed with York Potash, The Guardian reported.
The project has won over many in the area who hope it will restore a proud mining heritage to the region.
About half of the proposed £1.7 billion capital investment has been put aside by Sirius to mitigate the development’s impact on the national park.
However, there is opposition to having such a large scale project built in the heavily-populated county.
The proposed project lies between Whitby and Scarborough, extending about 16 km (9 miles) inland from the coast and up to eight miles off shore and is surrounded by nationally and internationally protected moorland on three sides. Within this area lies the thickest and highest grade polyhalite ore reserve in the world over a mineable area of 25,200 hectares, according to York Potash.
The minehead itself would be situated in the less attractive eastern edge of the national park. Although designed to blend in to the environment as much as possible, plans suggest some winding towers and generators would be visible on the horizon from as far away as Whitby Abbey, one of the most popular visitor attractions in North Yorkshire.
The York Potash Project would also involve the development of a 23-mile underground mineral transport system from the mine to a proposed new materials handling facility at Wilton on Teesside, approximately four miles from Middlesbrough and close to the south bank of the river Tees estuary, The Guardian reported.
There is already a potash mine in the area, at Boulby on the northern edge of the national park.
There have been two recent major developments in UK national parks in recent decades: a gold mine in Loch Lomond and the liquefied natural gas pipeline in the Brecon Beacons. Supporters of the York potash project argue that the approved gold mine in the Loch Lomond and
Trossachs national park was granted consent despite making only a £50m annual contribution to the UK economy. The York potash contribution will be 45 times larger and is not an offshore registered company.