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Major Phase Of Tunnel Construction At Whitby Potash Mine

Vertical Shaft Sinking Machine

Published by Karen Liu at 2:45pm 13th September 2018. (Updated at 5:38pm 13th September 2018)

Sirius Minerals has started a major phase of the construction of a tunnel near Whitby.

The 23 mile-long tunnel will convey extracted polyhalite ore from the Woodsmith Mine to Teesside for processing.

Production is expected to begin in 2021.

Sirius Minerals brought over a new 75 tonne Vertical Shaft Sinking Machine from Germany.

Local schoolchildren from Sleights Primary School won a competition and have named the machine 'Bessy'.

Vertical Shaft Sinking Machine at Woodsmith Mine near Whitby

Chris Fraser, CEO of the company, said:

"This machine will take us 120m below ground and we'll then come in with a traditional shaft sinking, where we go down to 360m and create a cavern.

Then a tunnel boring machine which will be lowered into this shaft.

It'll tunnel its way towards about 12km towards Wilton and there's two other machines, one working its way back from Wilton and one two thirds along at Lockwood Beck.

This is one of the steps in terms of how we're building the project.

We pursued a different number of ways and looked at different solutions and we're a company that's not afraid to push innovations and change,.

Thsi is the first time this machine has been used in the UK, so we're really happy we're able to bring it to the UK and see what benefits a system like this can bring.

They can be used inside cities and all sorts of things to create ways to get underground much faster."

All the machines will meet up and complete the tunnel in 2022.

Today (13th September) a priest visited the site and blessed the machine.

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