Potash of Gold
As the world’s population swells, so does the demand for food. That means the race is on to find more fertiliser to improve the yield and quality of plants grown on farms everywhere.
Globally, more than 200 potash mines are in the planning stages, spurred on by a jump in the price of the valuable fertiliser.
The key ingredient in potash is potassium, one of three vital nutrients that all plants need. There are big deposits in Canada, in Russia, and along the North Sea coast in northern England, where one company wants to build a new mine that would supply the world market for decades.
There's just one snag: the planned new mine would be in a protected area, the North York Moors National Park, where industrial developments are normally prohibited. Locals are taking sides for and against, in a dispute that has global implications. Peter Day reports.
Producer: Mike Wendling
Contributors to this programme
Head of Planning, North York Moors National Park
Managing Director and chief executive officer, Sirius Minerals
owner, Hadley’s Fish Restaurant
chairman, North York Moors Association
potash mining manager, Boulby Mine
chief finance officer, Cleveland Potash
Michel Prud’homme, director of production and international trade service, International Fertilizer Association