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UPDATE: Sirius Minerals "confident" on approvals process for York potash

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Sirius Minerals (LON:SXX) said it was "confident" that objections received for its York potash project will be appropriately dealt with through the planning process.

It updated investors on the approvals process on Monday - saying objections had been received from the Environment Agency and Natural England.

The firm said it was confident that these would be dealt with through conditions placed on any approval for the project and its experts along with the two organisations would be having detailed discussions to seek a solution before the planning determination meeting on July 2.

Chris Fraser, managing director and chief executive of Sirius, said: "The planning case for the York potash project remains compelling as it will deliver many benefits to the local and national economies, whilst also providing a unique multi-nutrient form of potash for the agriculture sector.  

"We remain confident in our submission and believe that detailed planning conditions can satisfy these objections and provide the reassurance of either no impact on neighbouring moorland, or achieving an improvement, without the need for unnecessary delays to the determination of this important project."

The objections have been submitted as part of the North York Moors National Park Authority's statutory consultation process and centre around four key issues.

One from Natural England is an in-principle objection on landscape grounds because the planned site is within a National Park.

Sirius said it believes it has submitted a world-leading design that demonstrates best practice for sustainable development.

The Environment Agency raised an objection relating to foul drainage plans. The company said an assessment done as a part of its planning application concluded there would be "no long term significant impact" with certain mitigating measures put in place.

The other two objections relate mainly to general water related issues and the possible impact on a relatively small area of protected moorland to the west of the mine site.

Sirius said it had conducted a detailed hydrological risk assessment as part of its recent submissions but noted that within these objections it was suggested  more survey data may be needed to better understand the possible impacts of the construction.

Sirius also said today it would meet with the MoD (Ministry of Defence) this week to try and resolve any outstanding issues about the impact of the project on the RAF Fylingdales facility.

Sirius added that the it will also be providing responses to reports issued by the National Park Authority about the potash market and about the project's potential impact on tourism.

"The company is undertaking detailed reviews of these documents and is preparing formal responses to each of them as, individually, they contain statements and conclusions that are inaccurate," it said in today's statement.

Sirius shares were lifted 1% following the news - to stand at 25.25p each.

Giles Gwinnett


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