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UK’s Cleveland Potash Mine to Lose Further 140 Jobs

Cleveland Potash Mine near Redcar, one of Europe’s deepest potash mines, is about to lose further 140 jobs due to challenging market conditions and especially falling global prices, Israel’s ICL announced. The company also added that the “reduction in the level of economically-feasible reserves” was one of the reasons too. The mine is also facing problems with finding new areas to mine safely. Redcar MP Anna Turley that the news was “unwelcome” and “disappointing”.  Ms. Turley also stressed that “Whilst ICL have been clear that reductions to the workforce would be made by 2018, when supplies of their traditional potash fertilizer stock are expected to completely run out, it is nevertheless unwelcome news for the local economy.”

Parent firm ICL cut 220 jobs and 140 contractors in November last year. It employs about 1,100 people and makes potash for agricultural fertilizers. However, ICL confirmed that it was committed to retaining the mine and it is planning to extend permission for mining in the North York Moors and concentrate on producing a more profitable fertilizer – polysulphate. Peter Smith, ICL’s Executive Vice-President for potash, commented that “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.”

Mr Smith then also assured that polysulphate would remain a “significant employer” but added that the company understands that the layoffs “cause concerns for employees, their families and the wider community and we are committed to keeping the numbers affected as low as reasonably possible. No decisions will be finalized until consultation with the trade union has been completed.” Tim Bush from Unite the union commented on this development that “When we had the first round of redundancies in November, we actually said this was a hammer blow for the East Cleveland economy which is obviously under pressure at the moment. This is going to further compound these issues, with both the people who work there and the supply chain.”

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