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Sirius Minerals shares rise after mine developer hits the reset button

Earlier, Sirius said it had slowed development work on its project in the north of England to allow for a six-month strategic review period, funded by existing cash resources

Sirius Minerals PLC -
Work is underway at the Woodsmith Mine on the North York Moors

Sirius Minerals PLC (LON:SXX) strategic review lays the “path to an accretive outcome”, according to Liberum Capital, one of the City brokers following the travails of the ailing potash mine developer.

Analyst Richard Knights, while acknowledging there are still “many unknowns” to the company’s reformatted plans for the Yorkshire polyhalite deposit, was generally positive on the proposition to stagger its work commitments.

He also believes the financing options be less dilutive than speculated. The shares rose 12% to 3.58p in the wake of the latest update. Knights reckons the stock is worth 9p.

Earlier, Sirius said it had slowed development work on its project in the north of England to allow for a six-month strategic review period, funded by existing cash resources.

The thinking is that Sirius will develop the mine in stages now, or in what it calls “scopes”, thus limiting the requirement for one huge up-front funding package.

The first stage of development is likely to cost US$600mln.

As usual, the company has laid out the attractive nature of the economics of the project, but whether anyone will buy those numbers is another matter.

"Our analysis has identified a two-stage development plan that enables us to achieve the key de-risking milestone of first polyhalite, when the service shaft reaches the polyhalite ore body, with an upfront capital requirement of around US$600mln,” Sirius chief executive Chris Fraser said in a statement

“The additional works required to reach an installed and ramped up production capacity of 10 mln tonnes per annum contemplates up to US$2.5 billion of capital expenditure.”

Quick facts: Sirius Minerals PLC

Price: 5.4 GBX

LSE:SXX
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £379.09 m
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