Giant polyhalite mine announces landmark £2.9bn funding deal

Giant potash mine developer Sirius Minerals have today announced a major £2.9bn funding plan to complete one of the UK’s biggest construction projects.

The company say the new debt and equity deal will guarantee the next stage of the giant Woodsmith mine in North Yorkshire, just south of Whitby, both completing the mine and seeing the project into full production.

Chris Fraser, managing director and chief executive officer of Sirius Minerals, said: “In March we paused discussions with prospective lenders to work on an alternative financing proposal with J.P. Morgan Cazenove.

“Today we are pleased to announce that, as a result of that work, we are launching a comprehensive markets-led solution for our funding requirements which will enable Sirius Minerals to complete the development of its mine and unlock what we believe to be the world’s largest known high-grade polyhalite deposit.

“The funding package will bring together equity, convertible bonds, high yield debt, and a US$2.5bn revolving credit facility in a multi-stage, flexible structure that balances the availability of capital with the needs of the project.

“Today’s announcement provides a clear pathway to a fully financed project in the months ahead, while enabling us to progress construction at full speed.”

Construction is already underway at all main sites for phase one, where the product will be transported from the mine near Whitby on an underground conveyor to Teesside.

The first polyhalite is expected to be extracted from the seams in 2021, with the mine set to be producing 10m tonnes of fertiliser a year by 2024, supporting more than 2,000 direct and indirect jobs.

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