Potash production at Boulby is expected to end in six months time, with the loss of a 'significant' number of jobs.
Cleveland Potash Limited has said the company, which is East Cleveland's biggest employer, will transition to the mining of polyhalite, a multi-nutrient fertiliser.
The company is beginning consultation with its trade unions regarding the implications. It's expected 230 jobs could be lost.
Managing Director, Andrew Fulton has stressed that the move to polyhalite was vital to secure the mine’s future.
The Boulby mine is the world’s only producer of polyhalite, marketed as Polysulphate, which is a multi-nutrient fertiliser containing sulphur, in addition to potassium, magnesium and calcium.
Mr Fulton said that the company would have an initial production target of one million tonnes.
He explained “When we first announced our restructuring plans two years ago, we made it clear that potash reserves were close to the end and, at the point when they were exhausted, we would make the transition to polyhalite production, with the inevitable impact on our workforce levels”.
“At this stage, it is not possible to be precise regarding the numbers involved. We are committed to keeping job losses to a minimum and will be discussing the implications with our trade union. However, job losses could be in the region of 230.”
“We understand that this will be a difficult time for our workforce and their families. However, with the end of potash production, we have to concentrate on polyhalite production in order to ensure that we remain a viable business and are able to continue to make a major contribution to the local economy."
Sue Jeffrey, Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council says they are devastated by the announcement: