Further 140 jobs to go at Cleveland Potash mine

Boulby potash mine Image copyright Google
Image caption The mine at Boulby makes potash for fertiliser

A further 140 jobs are set to be lost at one of Europe's deepest potash mines.

Bosses at Cleveland Potash in Boulby said it faced problems with falling global prices and finding new areas to mine safely.

Redcar MP Anna Turley said the news was "unwelcome" and "disappointing".

Parent firm ICL axed 220 jobs and 140 contractors in November. It employs about 1,100 people and makes potash for agricultural fertilisers.

The company blamed the news on a "reduction in the level of economically-feasible reserves".

However, it said it was committed to retaining the mine and wants to extend planning permission for mining in the North York Moors and focus on producing a more profitable fertiliser, Polysulphate.

'Safeguard the business'

Peter Smith, executive vice president of ICL, said: "We understand that this will cause concerns for employees, their families and the wider community and we are committed to keeping the numbers affected as low as reasonably possible.

"No decisions will be finalised until consultation with the trade union has been completed."

Tim Bush, from Unite the union, said: "When we had the first round of redundancies in November we actually said this was a hammer blow for the East Cleveland economy which is obviously under pressure at the moment.

"This is going to further compound these issues, with both the people who work there and the supply chain."

Ms Turley said: "This is disappointing news and my immediate thoughts are with the workforce and their families affected by this announcement.

"Whilst ICL have been clear that reductions to the workforce would be made by 2018 when supplies of their traditional potash fertiliser stock are expected to completely run out, it is nevertheless unwelcome news for the local economy."

A man died at the mine in June after a sudden release of gas while working underground. Seven miners were inured in an underground fire in April.

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