Israel Chemicals monopoly on potash mining in the United Kingdom will be challenged by a proposed US$2.7 billion potash mine that’s set to become the largest in the U.K., and is in talks with lenders on helping to finance the development. London-based potash mineral company Sirius Minerals Plc explores for and mines potash on properties in North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia, and they have done a preliminary study on a mine on the Yorkshire coast in northeast England. The project, called York, may host the world’s largest estimated resource of polyhalite, used to make SOP (sulfate of potash), the rarer and more valuable of the two main forms of the fertilizer nutrient. Sirius plans to produce an annual 1.4 million tonnes of potash as from 2017 and is studying an expansion to 4.1 million tonnes a year by 2024 at an additional cost of about US$3.3 billion. The project could include also gypsum and epsomite (a hydrous magnesium sulfate mineral) production.
Besides the North Yorkshire mine, Sirius Minerals (formerly Sirius Exploration Plc) holds tenements in the Williston Basin in North Dakota in the United States, the Canning Basin in Western Australia, and the Adavale Basin in Queensland, Australia. The company acquired York Potash Ltd. in January 2011.