Sirius Minerals has entered into a design and build contract with STRABAG AG for the construction of the first drive on its 37km long, 4.7m diameter mineral transport system (MTS) tunnel between Wilton and Lockwood Beck on the York Potash Project in the UK. The initial 13km long section to be built by STRABAG is part of a low environmental impact tunnelled conveyor system to transport the mined polyhalite from Woodsmith Mine near Whitby to Wilton on Teesside for processing. Site mobilisation is to begin immediately.
The actual tunnelling works will include 150m to be built via cut-and-cover construction, 800m through conventional tunnelling and 11,900m using a TBM.
STRABAG was closely integrated in the project design through an early contractor involvement (ECI) process. This has allowed the company to develop efficient new solutions that convinced the client of its capabilities. “We are very proud to have acquired this project. It shows that the early involvement of the contractor in the preconstruction phase offers many advantages and can make a decisive contribution to the success of the project. Early contractor involvement makes it possible to recognise potential for optimisation at an early stage and to use this potential over the entire duration of the project,” says Thomas Birtel, CEO of STRABAG SE.
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Sirus Minerals has stated that the project remains on track to deliver first polyhalite and commercial production on time and on budget.
Chris Fraser, Managing Director and CEO of Sirius, commented:
“We are now looking forward to adding progress on our mineral transport system to the impressive progress we have already made on early works and mine shafts.”
Sirius continues to work closely with a number of parties in relation to the second and third drives of the MTS (Lockwood Beck towards Woodsmith and Woodsmith towards Lockwood Beck respectively) with a view to having these scopes of work awarded in conjunction with the completion of the stage 2 financing later this year. The Company is aiming to achieve first product from the mine by the end of 2021, ramping up to an initial production capacity of 10 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) by 2024.