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Sirius targets US$500m for UK potash project

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 April, 2013, 3:17am

Sirius Minerals, which is developing a potash mine in Britain, is in talks with Chinese, North American and European investors to raise as much as US$500 million of funding for the project.

Sirius will raise US$300 million to US$500 million through selling equity and may also issue high-yield debt, chief executive Chris Fraser said over the weekend at the Boao Forum for Asia, on Hainan. A decision on potential investors may be made by the end of this year, he said.

The US$1.7 billion North York Moors National Park project, called York Potash, hosts the world's largest estimated resource of polyhalite, with 2.2 billion tonnes of the material used to make sulfate of potash. Britain's only potash mine, Boulby, is north of York. Potash is used to strengthen plant roots and protect against drought.

"Chinese people are talking to us, as are people in other parts of the world, especially Europe and North America," said Russell Scrimshaw, the mining company's non-executive chairman, also at the Boao Forum. "So when the time comes, after we get approvals, we'll be having some interesting conversations in this part of the world."

Sirius's new investors are likely to be major distributors of fertilizer or large investment funds, Scrimshaw said.

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