North Yorkshire Polyhalite Project

Sirius Minerals plc
Sirius Minerals plc
£4.2 billion GBP
April 2019 — October 2019
Services performed
Dr. Sauer & Partners provided commercial support, SCL design verification and functioned as a mediator between Sirius Minerals’ mining and construction team.
North Yorkshire holds one of the largest, high grade polyhalite reserves worldwide. It is located within the North York Moors National Park, ca. 1800m below surface. Once processed, this mineral functions as an organic fertilizer to boost harvest. Sirius Minerals plc are currently developing the infrastructure to mine the polyhalite. This operation requires deep shafts to access the mineral body but also demands an extensive mineral transport system (MTS) to keep the impact on the National Park as minimal as possible. Therefore, at ca. 350m below surface, a series of SCL tunnels link the deep shafts to a conveyor belt system, which again connects the mining operation via a 37km TBM tunnel to its materials handling facility in Wilton. From there the product is transferred to the harbour in Teesside and shipped off.
Most of the MTS is developed within the Redcar Mudstone Formation. It comprises alternating layers of silty mudstone and clayey siltstones with subordinated thin beds of limestone and sandstone. Bands of ironstone nodules and fossil shells as well as pyrite are present in places. Multiple major fault systems were identified that cut the MTS alignment.
Yorkshire, UK


  • Fusion between mining operation requirements and transport system standards
  • Complex interfaces between deep shafts, SCL works and TBM drives in hard rock
  • Project management within a dynamic, interdisciplinary team

Project overview

Woodsmith mine site close to Whitby