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Backing for plan for potash mine
4:51pm Monday 15th October 2012 in News
A PROPOSAL to build a huge mine under the North York Moors that would create up to 5,000 jobs has won backing from North Yorkshire County Council.
The authority has announced it will support York Potash’s £1.5bn project to tap into the world’s largest polyhalite deposit, before the firm has submitted a planning application for the mine.
John Weighell, the council’s leader, said the employment opportunities for North Yorkshire and Teesside, including 1,000 direct jobs when the mine reaches full capacity and 4,000 in the supply chain, would be “extremely useful” in tackling unemployment.
He will tell a meeting of the council on Wednesday that North Yorkshire, York and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership will concentrate its efforts on providing support for the “major growth opportunity”.
Coun Weighell said: “It is a very long time since I can think of a single development of such significance in North Yorkshire, and it will go on for many years.
“This is potentially a major boost to the county’s economy and I very much welcome the progress that has been made to date.”
He said while due process needed to be followed by North York Moors National Park Authority and transport issues needed addressing, the Conservative-led council and its partners would “continue to look at how we can make the most of the opportunity if it moves to construction”.
Coun Weighell said the proposals had received strong support from residents near the proposed mine at at Dove Nest Farm and Hacksby Plantation, south of Whitby, and blueprints for the minehead showed there would be limited damage to the national park.
A York Potash spokesman said the firm was pleased with the growing support for the proposals.
He said: “The public response both before and during our consultation period has been incredibly positive so we continue to work towards delivering these important plans.”
The North Yorkshire Moors Association described the council’s support as “premature”, as York Potash’s blueprints were deceptive, making the minehead look like “a cross between a wellmaintained orchard and an out-of-town shopping centre”.
Tom Chadwick, the association’s chairman, said: “The jobs are not guaranteed for local people, and work refining the polyhalite may be carried out in the Middle East as energy costs so much more on Teesside.
“York Potash has held recruiting exercises out of the area for people who are trained in working underground so they won’t have to train them themselves.”
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