Global manufacturer ICL is set to cut 140 jobs at its Teesside-based Boulby Mine, on top of the 220 announced last year, as it continues to undergo a major restructure.
In November, the company revealed plans to make a transition from producing potash at the mine to producing polysulphate; an environmentally-friendly fertiliser. At the time, it said 220 jobs and 140 contractor positions were set go.
Now, ICL UK has begun consultations with trade union on a further 140 jobs being cut by the end of the year.
ICL said it would be advancing its programme for the production of polysulphate, with the mining of the “limited remaining economically viable reserves of potash” set to continue at a lower rate until completed.
Peter Smith, executive vice president of potash at ICL, said: “When we announced the restructuring of the business last November we made it clear that, given the very limited level of economically feasible potash reserves, we had to move our focus to polysulphate production.
“That remains the central element of our strategy to safeguard the business and continuing operations at Boulby, with the business remaining a significant employer in the area.
“Developments since November mean that we believe that the right strategy is to bring forward the programme of polysulphate production. We have seen global potash prices continue to decline.
“In addition, we are having to make operational changes reflecting the limited areas where we can economically mine whilst maintaining our commitment to ensure that we place safety as our top priority.
“This means we need to now set a production level to reflect these factors; in other words, a reduced level of potash mining operations over the next couple of years whilst we build the polysulphate market.
“This involves considering the implications for our workforce levels and we are beginning consultation over proposals for a reduction of circa 140 jobs.”
Smith added that no decisions would be finalised until consultation with trade unions has been completed.
“We understand that this will cause concerns for employees, their families and the wider community and we are committed to keeping the numbers affected as low as reasonably possible,” he said.
“As we explained in November the restructuring, although difficult, is aimed at ensuring that ICL UK has a future as a supplier of world class products for many years to come, which is underlined by our decision to submit an application to the North York Moors Park Authority to extend our planning approval for a further 40 years.”
Source: Insider Media
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