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Whitby: Fertiliser mine to halve jobs as work slows down – BBC News



Whitby: Fertiliser mine to halve jobs as work slows down – BBC News

Image caption, Woodsmith Mine near Whitby extracts polyhalite for the production of fertiliser

  • Author, Ian Reeve
  • Role, BBC News

More than 100 jobs at a fertiliser mine near Whitby will be lost when the site’s owners begin a “slowdown” period to reduce costs.

Anglo American confirmed that it intends to cut the workforce it directly employs at Woodsmith Mine – meaning a loss of about 180 of the 360 roles.

Contractors have also been told to supply fewer staff to the project as work on the sinking of one of the two shafts has been paused.

Anglo American is under pressure to reduce spending at the polyhalite mine by more than £2m per day.

‘Budget constraints’

Work on the boring of a 23-mile underground tunnel to the River Tees, where the materials will be processed and exported, will now slow down.

The company’s chief executive officer in the crop nutrients division, Tom McCulley, said that the reduced staffing was expected to be in place for 18 months.

He said: “I want to highlight that we have spoken to people about their roles, so everyone is aware around the slowdown.

“The project has really delivered over the last couple of years. But budget constraints within Anglo, which are outside of the Woodsmith team’s control, necessitate that we slow down for 18 months. ”

Redpath, one of the main contractors providing workers for the mine, said it would reduce the number of employees sinking the shafts at Woodsmith from 700 to 300, though many will be redeployed to other projects.

The business said it was currently “working through plans to understand the impact of the slowdown”.

Mr McCulley added: “We do have multiple contractors across the workforce. The work will stop at different times. We need to be at a safe place to stop.

“So we have stopped some work right now but by mid-2025 we should have in the region of 900 people, a 60% contractor reduction compared with where we are today.”

Construction of the Woodsmith extraction site began in 2017 before Anglo American took over its running from Sirius Minerals in 2020. It supported 2,000 jobs, the majority of them contractor roles.

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