There has been a significant amount of historical exploration work conducted in the Project area since the 1930s, initially focusing on oil and gas, before extensive potash exploration in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. At this time a number of mines were proposed but only one - Boulby - was ever built.
Fast forward to 2010 and Chris Fraser, with a particular interest in potash (ideally in a stable jurisdiction) became aware of the deposit in the UK. Chris investigated further and this led him to the two men – Peter Woods and Rick Smith – who are the inspiration behind the name of the Woodsmith Mine. With their guidance, Chris and his team began gathering more data on the deposit to assess the potential opportunity.
Since the launch of the Project, tremendous progress has been made, from the development and exploration phases through to the beginning of construction and joining the Main Market / FTSE250 index. Details of our key milestones can be followed in the timeline below.
The Sirius Minerals Foundation announced the successful applicants for its first grant giving programme: seventy-five local charities, educational establishments and community groups from the Project area who were awarded £300,000, nearly three times the scheme’s original budget. Each group was awarded between £500 and £5,000 each.
On the 26 October 2017, Sirius Minerals announced the signing of a seven year take or pay offtake agreement for sale of POLY4 to Wilmar Group, a leading agribusiness group, for use and resale exclusively in South East Asia, with volumes ramping up to 750,000 tonnes per annum. The agreement may be extended by a further three years and increased to 1 million tpa by Wilmar.
The Sirius Minerals Foundation launched its first grant programme on 9 May 2017 to improve the lives of residents in North Yorkshire and Teesside and support the communities in which they live. The Foundation, originally funded by Sirius Minerals Plc, will receive an annual royalty of 0.5% of sales of production from the group’s fertiliser mine.
In May 2017 construction officially commenced, with the transition from preparatory works to formal construction. This also triggered the ‘section 106’ payment commitments to local authorities, covering contributions to environmental improvements, tourism promotion, skills development, educational training and rail infrastructure.
The Company joins the London Stock Exchange's Main Market and is subsequently included in the FTSE250 index.
On 24 February 2017 'Woodsmith Mine' was officially named by the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse. The mine is named after Mr Peter Woods and Dr Frederick Smith, the two geologists who worked with Chris Fraser to identify, acquire and define the Project’s polyhalite deposit.
Stage 1 financing is formally completed, raising approximately £1 billion in order to commence construction of the Project.
The Secretary of State provided formal permission for the final stage of the Project: the harbour facilities.
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council (“RCBC”), councillors unanimously resolved to grant permission for the mine and mineral transport system (“MTS”) planning application.
Members of the North York Moors National Park Authority granted permission for the Project's mine and mineral transport system planning application, subject to the finalisation of the Section 106 Agreement and final wording of conditions.
Polyhalite take or pay offtake agreement with US-based Fortune 500 agribbusiness for 500ktpa for five years, with an additional option for another 500kt.
In August 2015, this tripled to 1.5 mtpa.
Ore reserves first defined as 250.0 million tonnes at an average grade of 85.7 percent polyhalite.
The Company signed their first polyhalite take-or-pay offtake agreement: 1 mtpa for 10 years with Yunnan TCT Yong-Zhe Company Limited (Yunnan TCT).
Project Inferred Mineral Resources increased and upgraded to 2.66 billion tonnes at an average grade of 85.7% polyhalite (shelf and basin seams).
In January 2013, the the Marine Management Organisation granted Sirius Minerals with an offshore license to extract potash from beneath the seabed. However, the jouney was far from over, as the Company could only be granted permission to extract potash from under the seabed if planning permission was granted for a new mine onshore.
In September 2012, the Company revealed the exact location of the mine site, centrered at one of the thickest seams of high grade potash in the world.
Project Inferred Mineral Resources defined as 1.4 billion tonnes at a mean grade of 88.7 percent. polyhalite.
Project Inferred Mineral Resources defined as 1.4 billion tonnes at a mean grade of 88.7% polyhalite.
In July 2011, permission was granted for the first of the exploratory site drilling to begin. The original surface borehole was the first to be drilled for potash in North Yorkshire for almost 35 years and the first ever surface boreholes focused on the important polyhalite seam.
On 17 January 2011 Sirius Minerals acquired Chris Fraser’s Company – York Potash Ltd – and Chris became the CEO and major shareholder of Sirius Minerals. Bringing with him a small team, the development of the Project began from here.
During 2010 CEO Chris Fraser made connections with the two leading geologists who would make a significant impact on the future of the Project.
Chris contacted Dr. Smith and asked him to look at the potential opportunity provided by the potash resource, which had been the subject of interest in the 1960s and 70s. Rick advised Chris to expand his interest to the broader area and, in particular, at the polyhalite deposit - a piece of advice that has made significant positive impacts on the furture of Sirius Minerals.
Dr Smith then indroduced Chris to Peter Woods who has since made extensive contributions to the Project with his geological knowledge, coupled with his understanding of the sensitivity of the local environment.