Article by Ian McNeal courtesy of the Evening Gazett
A FURTHER 200 new jobs are to be created as development of the giant Woodsmith Mine continues to enjoy further progress.
Owner Anglo American said jobs will be made available over the coming months as it begins to sink the main mineshafts to the polyhalite ore body, over a mile beneath the surface at the site near Whitby.
The company needs to fill a wide range of roles, from specialist engineers, surveyors and skilled trades people, to non-specialist construction worker roles, and hopes as many vacancies as possible can be filled by local people.
The recruitment for the rapidly developing multibillion-pound project is the latest boost following the global mining giant’s £405m, takeover of the project from financially stricken Sirius Minerals.
Chief development officer of the Woodsmith Project Simon Carter said: “This area has a rich mining heritage going back several centuries, so it’s a real honour for us to be building on that history with our 21st-century mine.
“We are building a project that people can be proud of and is providing opportunities for local people. These new jobs are another example of us doing that.
The roles will become available in stages over the next few months and will include jobs both working directly for Anglo American and for its construction contractors. All will be advertised on the company’s website and via local job centres.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time for the project and a great opportunity for the right people,” said Simon. “They’ll be helping to build the first new mine in the UK for a generation – the deepest mine in Europe, and the first mine in the world to be designed to blend into the landscape. “It’ll be hard work and you need a strong work ethic, teamwork and communication skills, and a positive attitude to safety. But it’ll also be incredibly rewarding work – a job you’ll be telling your grandchildren about.”
Anglo American is sinking two mineshafts into the polyhalite ore over a mile beneath the surface using huge shaft boring machines, which cut the rock, remove the material, and line the shaft as they go.
A second 360m deep shaft, to allow a tunnel boring machine to be lowered into the ground to excavate the mineral transport tunnel to Teesside, is being sunk with conventional drill and blast technology.
When the mine is complete, extracted polyhalite ore will be hoisted up the production shaft and transferred to the mineral transport tunnel, which will carry the ore on a 23-mile long underground conveyor belt to a processing plant on Teesside, avoiding any impact on the countryside above.
From there, it will be shipped around the world and sold to farmers as a natural fertiliser.
Overall, it is estimated that the project will create about 4,000 direct and indirect jobs in the local economy. Last month, The Gazette reported how Anglo American has had to import thousands of tunnel sections – because it is laying them faster than they can be made.
Work is progressing fast on the 23-mile underground tunnel, which will transport Anglo’s polyhalite to Teesside.
Contractor Strabag has imported a kilometre of concrete sections, using Teesside logistics firm AV Dawson’s Port of Middlesbrough facility.
Anglo American plans to invest around £235m a year in 2020 and 2021 on the project, including the mineshafts and the first section of the tunnel from Teesside. After that, the next stage would be to complete the mine, tunnel, processing and shipping facilities in order to bring the mine into production.