Sirius Minerals has today begun construction on its 23-mile fertiliser transport tunnel at Tees Valley’s Wilton International site.
Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry MP was joined by Tees Valley Mayor and South Tees Development Corporation Chair Ben Houchen to break ground on this important milestone in Sirius’ £3.2billion Woodsmith Mine project.
When production begins, the tunnel will be used to transport polyhalite, a fertiliser, from Sirius’ under-construction mine near Whitby in North Yorkshire to Tees Valley via a high-capacity conveyor belt.
When it arrives at a purpose-built materials handling facility and harbour, it will then be exported across the world.
The project will have a transformative impact on the local economy and could result in further investment and development on Wilton and the adjacent South Tees Development Corporation.
The work has begun just weeks after the Development Corporation signed a landmark partnership agreement with energy and utilities firm Sembcorp to maximise investment opportunities at both the Development Corporation area and Sembcorp’s Wilton International site.
The Memorandum of Understanding is an agreement to jointly promote investment, directing businesses to the most appropriate site for their requirements.
Jake Berry MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse said: “Through the development of its Woodsmith Mine, Sirius Minerals is becoming a global player within the Northern Powerhouse set to create thousands of new jobs and provide a major economic boost to the Northern Powerhouse economy.
“It’s the rapidly growing Northern Powerhouse with advanced manufacturers, makers and innovators like Sirius Minerals who are boosting exports from our region while helping us deliver a strong and resilient economy which is fit for the future.
“Schemes of this type only serve to promote further sustained investment into areas like Wilton International and the South Tees Development Corporation, with the benefits keenly felt in their surrounding communities.”
Ben Houchen said: “The ground breaking represents an enormous vote of confidence in Teesside and the development potential of the neighbouring South Tees Development Corporation site.
“The global vision of Sirius is exactly what is needed and will help to attract new investment to the area.”