Sirius Minerals Plc (SXX), which is developing a potash mine in the U.K., is in talks with Chinese, North American and European investors to raise as much as $500 million of funding for the project.
Sirius will raise $300 million to $500 million through the sale of equity and may also issue high-yield debt, Chief Executive Officer Chris Fraser said in an interview yesterday in the southern Chinese province of Hainan, where he’s attending the Boao Forum for Asia. A decision on potential investors may be made by the end of this year, he said.
The $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 metric tons of the material used to make sulfate of potash. The U.K.’s only potash mine, Boulby, is immediately north of York. Potash is a form of potassium 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,” Russell Scrimshaw, the mining company’s non-executive chairman, said in an interview 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.”
The proposed site is about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the coastal town of Whitby and is currently used for farming and commercial forestry. Sirius is still awaiting some approvals from the North York Moors National Park Authority.
Sirius’s new investors are likely to be large distributors of fertilizer or large investment funds that are either state- owned or private, Scrimshaw said.