Tories revolt over ‘catastrophic’ cuts at Yorkshire mine owned by Anglo American

Anglo American is facing a backlash from local Tories over “catastrophic” cuts proposed at a Yorkshire fertiliser mine owned by the FTSE 100 company.

Anglo is planning to scale back investment at the Woodsmith Mine in North Yorkshire after seeking to fend off a £39bn takeover bid from rival BHP.

Tory candidate Roberto Weeden-Sanz, who is campaigning for Scarborough and Whitby constituency where the mine is based, said the project should not become a “sacrificial lamb” for Anglo’s efforts to prevent a BHP takeover.

Mr Weeden-Sanz said he believed Anglo was planning to reduce the workforce by 1,500 and keep a skeleton staff of 100 at the site, which he warned would be “catastrophic”.

He added: “We want them to rethink their current plans, which are essentially to mothball the project.

“There is a huge number of people across the area who are suddenly losing highly skilled, high-value jobs. We’re used to U-turns in politics and it would be no bad thing for there to be a U-turn in Anglo’s decision.”

Anglo chief Duncan Wanblad unveiled plans earlier this month that would leave Woodsmith at a near standstill – Ian Waldie/Bloomberg

Anglo American chief executive Duncan Wanblad unveiled plans earlier this month to dial down investment at Woodsmith and leave it a near standstill. BHP is no longer chasing a bid for Anglo but the group has committed to the Woodsmith overhaul after complaints about its cost from shareholders.

Anglo had been planning to spend about $1bn (£780m) per year on the site, but an update last month cut that back to $200m next year and $100 in 2026.

The company plans to undertake a study to test the site’s feasibility before potentially recruiting other miners to come on to the project as co-investors.

The FTSE 100 group is a major contributor to the local economy, contributing £305m last year.

Since construction at the mine started in 2017, the Woodsmith Project, which is the largest private sector infrastructure project in the country, has generated £1.5bn to the Yorkshire economy.

Ben Houchen, the Tees Valley mayor, said: “Anglo American should not be rushing into decisions that put the livelihoods of hard-working and highly skilled Teessiders at risk.

“We want to hear from Anglo American directly and see them engage with government to make sure every option is considered before drastic measures are taken”.

Jacob Young, the Tory candidate for Redcar, also warned that the project could never restart if contractors were laid off.

The former MP for the Scarborough and Whitby constituency Sir Robert Goodwill previously warned over the impact of shutting Woodsmith. He told The Telegraph last month he was seeking assurances from BHP over the future of Anglo American’s Yorkshire fertiliser mine.

Sir Robert is standing down at the next election.

Anglo declined to comment on the number of job cuts, but said: “These changes will have a direct effect on our business workforce and our team of contractors.”

More details of the cuts will be announced in mid-June, Anglo said.

Matt Earle

Matthew Earle is the Founder of MiningFeeds. In 2005, Matt founded MiningNerds.com to provide data and information to the mining investment community. This site was merged with Highgrade Review to form MiningFeeds. Matt has a B.Sc. degree with a minor in geology from the University of Toronto.

By Matt Earle

Matthew Earle is the Founder of MiningFeeds. In 2005, Matt founded MiningNerds.com to provide data and information to the mining investment community. This site was merged with Highgrade Review to form MiningFeeds. Matt has a B.Sc. degree with a minor in geology from the University of Toronto.

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