Anglo American, the mining firm has reviewed its schemes for the Woodsmith polyhalite project and has the purpose to modify its boring method, shaft building plan, and underground ventilation arrangement.
According to a detailed technical review, the mining company stated that many elements of the project’s design would benefit from modification to bring it up to the firm’s “safety and operating integrity standards and to optimize the value of the asset for the long term”.
The miner is particularly paying attention to the sinking of the two key shafts, the development of the underground mining area, and the changes needed to accommodate using only continuous miners instead of a hybrid mining method.
These developments will need the installation of extra ventilation earlier in the development of the mine as well.
The mentioned changes to the mine infrastructure design are going to result in a distinct construction and production ramp-up plan.
“This is a very long-life asset, and we are going to take the necessary time to get every aspect of the design right to match our long-term vision and value aspirations,” stated Mark Cutifani, Anglo American’s chief executive.
He added: “We have said from the outset that we expect to make improvements and that we will execute certain elements of the construction differently and with a more conservative schedule.
“We expect to have completed our design engineering, capital budget, and schedule at the end of 2022.”
Meanwhile, construction of the mine’s two 1.6km deep main shafts and the mineral transport tunnel continues to progress. Approximately 17km of the 37km conveyor tunnel has now been finished, and shaft boring has been begun on the service shaft.
In addition, the miner plans to invest another £530M into the project in 2022.
Anglo American is also making a change to the leadership of the project following its integration into the firm and ahead of the full project execution phase. The company acquired the mine as part of a takeover of Sirius Minerals earlier last year.