Potash miner Sirius Minerals (LON:SXX) said it had begun drilling this weekend at its York Potash project.
The first hole is expected to take up to 60 days to complete. Following completion of each hole in the drilling programme, it is estimated that approximately three weeks will pass before Sirius receives the assay results from that hole.
The firm said that two rigs will be used for each hole in the York Potash drilling programme to improve efficiency and reduce impact. The first, smaller ‘top-hole’ rig will sink each hole to approximately 750 metres before a larger ‘coring’ rig is brought onto the hole to core the entire ‘evaporite’ (sedimentary deposit) sequence.
Each hole is expected to intersect the two potassium chloride targets that the firm is targeting – the Sneaton and Boulby seams – as well as the potassium sulphate target: the Fordon polyhalite seam. While coring is occurring at one hole, the top-hole rig will move onto the next hole and the procedure repeated.
PR Marriott Drilling has been appointed to undertake the drilling programme. The firm has more than 60 years experience in providing drilling services to the oil, gas and geothermal industries and is the largest onshore drilling contractor based in the UK.
“The commencement of drilling in North Yorkshire is a major milestone for the York Potash project,” said Chris Fraser, Sirius’s chief executive officer. “These will be the first new surface boreholes drilled for potash in North Yorkshire for almost 35 years and the first ever surface boreholes focused on the important polyhalite seam. The drilling programme will help us define the parameters of a world-class potash project and to advance the preparation of detailed proposals and designs.”
As well as the York Potash project, Sirius holds potash assets in the US and Australia.