Sirius Minerals PLC (LON:SXX) has revealed some new diversity to its mining plans in North Yorkshire, with a scoping study identifying the possibility of producing de-icing salt at only a small additional capital cost.
The mine developer told investors that some 550mln tonnes of high grade salt deposits, suited to the de-icing market, could be accessed and mined at a rate of 2mln tonnes per year for an additional US$29mln.
Salt production could use the mine’s excess infrastructure capacity as polyhalite production levels vary, as anticipated in the company's price and volume strategy, Sirius said.
Sirius highlighted it could have a disruptive influence on the industry as it would be a low-cost salt producer and would be ideally located to serve major markets in Europe and North America as a swing supplier.
The company emphasised it would be an opportunistic approach - it would aim to bring on supply when demand for salt was strong, but not at the expense of polyhalite production.
"Our clear priority is the rapid development of the world`s largest and highest grade polyhalite resource but the increased optionality of our significant additional resource of high grade salt is an exciting future business opportunity,” said Chris Fraser, Sirius Minerals chief executive.
“The bolt-on to the core infrastructure could allow us to make an opportunistic entry into a commoditised global market, generating an additional valuable revenue stream."