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140 job losses at Boulby Potash Mine

Boulby Potash mine Photo:

ICL, a global manufacturer of essential minerals, has today announced 140 job losses at Boulby Potash mine in North Yorkshire.

Under the restructuring, the company has also announced that it is to seek approval from the North York Moors Park Authority to extend its planning permission for a further 40 years.

At the same time as accelerating Polysulphate production the mining of the remaining reserves of potash will continue at a lower rate until completed.

The company says the need to realign potash production reflects the continuing decline in potash prices. As a consequence, ICL UK has begun consultation with the recognised trade union job losses by the end of the year.

“When we announced the restructuring of the business last November we made it clear that, given the very limited level of economically feasible potash reserves, we had to move our focus to Polysulphate production.

“That remains the central element of our strategy to safeguard the business and continuing operations at Boulby, with the business remaining a significant employer in the area. With support from ICL, we are working hard to expand the Polysulphate market including a program of developing a range of innovative Polysulphate products. In addition, we have identified an opportunity to produce a compacted potash and Polysulphate product marketed as PotashpluS. Developments since November mean that we believe that the right strategy is to bring forward the programme of Polysulphate production. We have seen global potash prices continue to decline. In addition, we are having to make operational changes reflecting the limited areas where we can economically mine whilst maintaining our commitment to ensure that we place safety as our top priority.

“This means we need to now set a production level to reflect these factors-- in other words a reduced level of Potash mining operations over the next couple of years whilst we build the Polysulphate market. This involves considering the implications for our workforce levels and we are beginning consultation over proposals for a reduction of circa 140 jobs.

“We understand that this will cause concerns for employees, their families and the wider community and we are committed to keeping the numbers affected as low as reasonably possible. No decisions will be finalised until consultation with the trade union has been completed.

“As we explained in November the restructuring, although difficult, is aimed at ensuring that ICL UK has a future as a supplier of world-class products for many years to come, which is underlined by our decision to submit an application to the North York Moors Park Authority to extend our planning approval for a further 40 years.”

– Peter Smith, Executive Vice President-Potash of ICL

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