Tory MP to seek assurances over future of Anglo American’s Yorkshire fertiliser mine

A senior Tory MP is preparing to seek assurances from BHP over whether its attempted £31bn takeover of Anglo American will impact a major mining project in the north of England.

Sir Robert Goodwill, whose Scarborough and Whitby constituency is home to the Woodsmith project, said he would push BHP to reiterate its commitment to the fertiliser mine if its acquisition goes ahead.

The proposed Woodsmith mine in Yorkshire is Britain’s largest private-sector infrastructure project with an estimated cost of $9bn, employing around 1,400 local people.

It is expected to start production in 2027 but analysts at US investment bank Berenberg said BHP can “probably delay the Woodsmith project” given that it already has a separate fertiliser mine in Canada.

The warning from Sir Robert, who is also chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, comes after BHP made an unsolicited £31bn offer for Anglo American last week which was rejected.

It has so far failed to convince the London-listed company to sell, although its future remains unclear after it emerged activist investor Elliott has built up a $1bn stake in the business.

Sir Robert told The Telegraph: “If this takeover does go ahead, I’d be very keen to have an early meeting with BHP to seek reassurances that this won’t delay the Woodsmith project.

“They’re ploughing £1m a day into what will be the deepest mine in the United Kingdom, it’s more than a mile deep.

“They’re digging a 23-mile tunnel from Whitby to Teesport. Much of which has been completed.”

He said that if BHP does manage to pull off its acquisition, Woodsmith would serve as the “jewel in the company’s crown”.

Sir Robert added that mothballing the plant “would not be an option given how advanced construction is”.

Anglo American took over the Yorkshire mine after the company completed a rescue deal for Sirius Minerals in 2020.

It has since ploughed hundreds of millions of pounds into the project, which involves extracting a polyhalite, a new fertiliser product, from a mile underneath the North York Moors National Park and transporting it through a 23-mile tunnel to Teesside.

BHP was contacted for comment.

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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