Sirius Minerals has confirmed that ground engineering work to develop its new polyhalite mine at Woodsmith in North Yorkshire has got underway with the start of diaphragm wall shaft construction on the site.
“Activity levels at the Woodsmith Mine continue to increase every month and now step up significantly as we commence diaphragm walling activities,” said Sirius managing director and CEO Chris Fraser.
There are two shafts planned for the site, measuring 32m and 35m in diameter and 120m in depth. Sirius said that the scope of the diaphragm wall work has been increased but this has allowed a series of roadways at 45m depth and related grouting to be removed from the programme.
Fraser confirmed that the project was on time and on budget but said that opportunities to accelerate the diaphragm wall shaft activity had been lost in mobilisation and design delays. However, he added that work was still underway with preferred contractor Hochtief Murphy Joint Venture to look at the potential to speed up the tunnelling programme.
While Fraser has praised the progress, he also reported that the project has suffered its first accident and said that one recordable incident had been reported during drilling activities at the Woodsmith site. Fraser did not reveal the details of the incident but said that thorough investigation has been undertaken from which additional safeguards and procedures have been implemented.