Gina Rinehart is the richest woman in Australia. She has just announced that she has invested £245 million in the UK’s biggest potash mine.
The mine, valued at £1.7 billion, was given the go-ahead last year after a lengthy planning battle. It has promised to bring back mining to the region along with 1,000 jobs.
Once upgraded, the mine aims to produce up to 20 million tonnes a year of a potassium-rich mineral called polyhalite, a type of potash fertiliser Sirius has dubbed the “fertiliser of the future”.
Rinehart said: “This project delivers a new and natural product that is relevant to Hancock’s focus on agriculture, and after years of field tests and across many crop types, demonstrated improved yields.
“Sirius has a large, high-quality mineral resource and is located in a stable jurisdiction with a competitive tax rate. The project has the potential to become one of the world’s leading producers of multi-nutrient fertiliser and could have a life of 100 years – this fits with my approach of investing in strategic areas for the long term.”
The mine extension met with opposition from a number of environmental and heritage groups, but generally received resident support; Sirius said the mine will increase the local economy by 10 percent.
Chris Fraser, the managing director and chief executive of Sirius, said: “We are delighted to have signed this agreement with such an experienced party in the mining industry, as well as one that has very successful and strong leadership, and a long-term and growing agricultural interest.”