As Anglo-Americans fight back in bidding war, 1,100 potash mine jobs are at risk

  • Mining giant admits there will be ‘impact on workforce’
  • Boss Duncan Wanblad announced that Anglo would cut spending on the project
  • Sources said 80% of the 1,400 employees working on site could face the ax

Anglo American last night admitted that jobs will be lost at its potash mine in Yorkshire.

The mining giant admitted there will be a “workforce impact” – days after chief executive Duncan Wanblad announced it would cut spending on the Woodsmith fertilizer project near Whitby.

Sources told the Mail that 80 percent of the 1,400 staff working on site could be affected by the ash. That would amount to 1,120 jobs.

The cuts to investment at Woodsmith are part of a massive restructuring plan unveiled by Wanblad as he desperately tries to fend off a takeover by the company’s bigger rival BHP.

The plans include divesting De Beers’ diamond business, as well as its South African platinum business and its coking coal and nickel businesses.

Cuts: Anglo American has admitted jobs will be lost at its Yorkshire potash mine

Anglo has rejected two bids so far – valued at £31 billion and £34 billion – and Australian giant BHP has until Wednesday to submit a new bid.

The job losses at Woodsmith will be a bitter blow to the local community and heighten fears that the future of the project is in jeopardy.

Many hoped the mine – which will unearth an unusual type of fertilizer known as polyhalite, which contains potash – would revitalize the area and become a major employer.

Wanblad’s survival plan will allow the company to focus on its lucrative copper and iron ore mines – while preserving the Woodsmith project.

Despite Anglo insisting the project is ‘committed’, Wanblad said it would spend just £160m on Woodsmith next year and nothing at all in 2026. Previously it had planned to spend £800m every year.

The slowdown in investment also means that the first extraction of fertilizer from the mine, which should take place in 2027, will likely be postponed.

Anglo wants to make a final investment decision on the project before pouring any more money into it – and also wants to find another investor to share the costs.

The scale of the project is one of the biggest challenges as it involves digging two shafts one and a half kilometers deep and building a 37 kilometer tunnel (longer than the Channel Tunnel) under the North York Moors National Park to prevent damage to the water. landscape. Anglo expects it will cost £7 billion.

Anglo bought Woodsmith for £405m in 2020 after the company, then known as Sirius Minerals, was on the brink of collapse.

Sirius was a stock market favorite for years, but its share price collapsed after it failed to secure a crucial funding package. This has wiped out the savings and pension pots of around 85,000 individual investors.

Many were local residents who wanted to defend the project.

An English spokesperson said: ‘These (jobs) figures are entirely based on rumours. We are focused on being transparent to the project teams and our local stakeholders.’

BHP must offer £40 billion

According to JP Morgan, BHP will have to increase its bid for Anglo American to £40 billion to secure a deal.

The mining giant, known as the ‘Big Australian’, has already seen two takeover proposals worth £31 billion and £34 billion rejected by the board of its London-listed rival.

And with the deadline for submitting a firm bid approaching next Wednesday, analysts at the investment bank said a £40 billion bid would be needed to win over UK bosses and shareholders.

Anglo has said BHP’s previous bids ‘significantly undervalue’ the company. Speculation is mounting that other bidders will join the fray.