Controversial plans for the world's biggest potash mine to be sunk in the North York Moors National Park are to be submitted today.
The firm behind the £1bn scheme near Whitby, says it would create 1,000 jobs, but critics say it would blight one of the region's finest landscapes and pave the way for other large scale developments in Britain's national parks.
The mine would target the world's largest untapped reserve of polyhalite - a mineral which is used as fertiliser to boost crop yields.
North York Moors National Park officials said today the mine is believed to be the largest ever major development proposal submitted to a National Park Authority in England.
If operating today at full capacity of 13 million tonnes of polyhalite ore per year, it is understood that the mine would be the world’s largest potash mine in terms of the amount of potash extracted.
The plan involves the construction of two 1,500 metre deep mine shafts on land at Dove’s Nest Farm, near Sneaton, four miles south of Whitby.
Also planned is a 250 metre deep tunnel running 23 miles from the mine site to Wilton on Teesside where the extracted mineral would be granulated for export.
The tunnel would have an access shaft at Dove’s Nest Farm and three intermediate access points on the route to Wilton, one within the national park, near Egton, the second just outside the park boundaries near Lockwood Beck Reservoir and the third near Guisborough.
A decision on whether to grant the mine permission is expected next year.