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Sirius agrees new contracts

Published by , Assistant Editor
World Fertilizer,

Two local companies have sealed deals to supply steel equipment for Sirius Minerals’ new multi-billion pound polyhalite fertilizer mine in Teesside and North Yorkshire.

Under one deal, Stockton-based steel fabricator, Francis Brown has been contracted by DMC Mining Services, the company sinking the mineshafts for Sirius Minerals, to fabricate and weld 50 t of steel formwork which will be used as used as lining for two 1600 m deep shafts at Woodsmith Mine in Whitby, as well as two shallower access shafts at the site near Lockwood Beck, Guisborough. The equipment will be entirely manufactured at the company’s Stockton factory.

The company is a global supplier of fabrication and engineering services to the renewables, chemical, rail, nuclear, power, construction, and oil and gas markets, and has long been associated with projects of global importance.

The second contract is with William Hare’s local steel fabrication facility in Scarborough, which has been contracted to manufacture 3000 t of equipment, including the steel headframes for the winding gear and the galloways used during the excavation of the access shafts for the 23 mile mineral transportation tunnel to Teesside.

The majority of the equipment will be fabricated in Hare’s local factory in Scarborough, with the remainder in Wetherby. William Hare Ltd (WHL) is a leading independent steel fabrication company in the UK and has helped construct many landmark buildings in London, the UK, and in over 50 countries throughout the world.

The headframes that William Hare will manufacture, also known as winding towers, are structural frames above the mineshafts which house the winding gear used for lowering and lifting workers, equipment, and mined ore. They will be sunk below ground level to reduce their visual impact, as part of Sirius Minerals’ strategy to lessen the mine’s impact on the local environment, which will see all surface buildings kept to a minimum and the site landscaped and screened by indigenous woodland to help it blend into its surroundings.

The 20 m tall galloways are multi-decked steel platforms containing excavation equipment which are suspended in a shaft during shaft sinking. They will be used to construct the Woodsmith Mine and Lockwood Beck tunnel access shafts, down which tunnel boring machines will be lowered to construct the underground mineral transportation system.

Steve Duffield, Director at William Hare said:

“William Hare Group is delighted to engage with and support Sirius for this strategically important investment for the region. Hare will support with local expertise and resource from their facilities in Scarborough and Wetherby as well as drawing down on other capabilities within the group.”

Jamie Brown, CEO for Francis Brown Ltd, said:

“As a 115-year-old family business, we are glad that Sirius and DMC recognise our rich heritage in providing unique fabrication and welding skills to a range of industries. The work we are doing is not only supporting real jobs and providing opportunities for our own apprentices, but also the wider community, through local stockists and sub-contractors.”

Gareth Edmunds, External Affairs Director at Sirius Minerals, said:

“We are delighted that our contractors are working with local partners to manufacture the equipment and services required for construction. This supports our aim of maximising local benefits, including the creation of new jobs and business opportunities with our suppliers. The company has always been committed to ensuring that the local community benefits from the project - working with local businesses and developing a strong local supply chain is an important way we can do that.”

There are now 900 people directly working on the Sirius project – in Scarborough, at Woodsmith Mine near Whitby and at the Lockwood Beck and Wilton sites. Two thirds of employees are from the local area. This includes 320 people from Teesside, most of whom are based at Wilton International, where over three quarters of the workforce is local. The company expects this construction workforce to increase to 1700 in the coming years, and to provide over 1000 long term, permanent jobs when the mine is fully operational.

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