Sirius Minerals PLC (LON:SXX) said it enjoyed a “productive” three months as it updated on progress at the giant Woodsmith operation in North Yorkshire, host to a potash-type fertiliser called polyhalite.
It said mine enabling work is complete, site preparation is “well advanced” and construction of a diaphragm wall that sits at the head of the pit shaft will get underway in the third quarter.
Though still very early in the development phase, the project remains on time and on budget, Sirius said.
Picking up the pace
It is currently looking for opportunities to accelerate components of the shaft and tunnel spend.
This it said would “further de-risk the implementation of the construction project and potentially create opportunities for shortening the project schedule”.
The company told investors shaft design “optimisations” have now been incorporated into the development plan.
And it is discussing options to bring tunnelling activities forward as part of the commercial discussions with a potential contractor.
Sirius, which recently joined the FTSE 250, is now planning the push for a second round of financing that will allow it complete the mine on the North York Moors.
At the same time, commercial discussions continue with potential customers in Europe, Brazil, South East Asia and Africa.
“Each of these opportunities represents material volume opportunities in major long-term markets for Sirius,” the group said, although it already has an impressive array of potential buyers of the product when Woodsmith goes into production in late 2021.
“The company is encouraged by the increasing market interest and positive engagement from multiple parties in these key markets,” Sirius added.
In parallel the company is trialling its product, called POLY4, with certain crops to validate its efficiency, effectiveness, flexibility and sustainability.