Sirius Minerals received a decision notice from the North York Moors National Park Authority that formally grants planning permission for the company’s York potash mine and mineral transport system application. Located near Whitby, North Yorkshire, the mine will be the first new potash mine in the U.K. for 40 years, focusing on the extraction of polyhalite, a mineral used as a fertilizer.

Receipt of the notice represents a major milestone for Sirius and concludes more than four years of work in the planning process. The company is now finalizing its definitive feasibility study (DFS). It now has all the planning approvals it needs to commence construction and is also continuing value engineering work with a number of contractors to prepare for future construction. “We are delighted to be through this key approvals process and to now be moving into the delivery phase of this world-class project,” said Chris Fraser, managing director and CEO, Sirius Minerals. “We look forward to beginning construction during 2016.”

The project lies between Whitby and Scarborough, extending about 16 km inland from the coast and up to 14 km offshore. According to the company, York potash will be a deep-shaft mine of unprecedented design. Within this area lies the thickest and highest grade polyhalite ore reserve in the world. Development of the 20-million-metric-ton-per-year (mt/y) operation would take place in two phases. The first phase is designed provide 10 million mt/y before scaling up to full capacity over a number of years.