THE Boulby fertiliser mine in East Cleveland is celebrating approval for another 25 years of work at the site - even though it will cost it around £14m.

The decision from the North York Moors Park Authority Planning Committee has been hailed by General Manager Andrew Fulton as “a major step forward in securing the future of our business and our ability to continue providing jobs and investment for many years ahead”.

Mr Fulton was speaking after the decision to approve his application for the continuation of polyhalite and salt production until 2048 after the current permission expires in 2023.

As part of the approval the company will undertake a programme to improve the visual aspects of the mine, including removing some building structures, and, in line with its responsibilities to the community, will support a range of measures, including almost £9million for landscape enhancements and a contribution of almost £5million towards tourism activities.

Mr Fulton said: “We are grateful that the Park Authority’s balanced decision provides the long-term security which will enable us to both remain at the heart of the local community, as the largest employer in East Cleveland, and exploit our position as the world’s first and only producer of polyhalite, which is now helping to meet the world’s food needs across the UK and five continents.

“The decision comes at a particularly important stage in our development plans. Having weathered the worst impacts of the pandemic—and remaining in operation throughout—we are now significantly enhancing production.

“October saw us achieve our highest hoist of over 90,000 tonnes and record our best ever monthly processed polyhalite production performance of over 80,000 tonnes.

“The last few years have been very challenging with the transition from decades of potash production to becoming the world leader in polyhalite. This positive decision helps to put us on a firm footing for the future which is good news for our business, our workforce and our area.”

Polysulphate is available in its natural state and is mined, crushed, screened and bagged, with no other industrial processes. It is soluble, easily absorbed and a popular boost for crop nutrition, as it contains four key plant nutrients: sulphur, potassium, magnesium and calcium.