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Anglo American in advanced talks to buy UK's largest mining project

By Ramla Soni

The global miner said it was in advanced discussions with Sirius Minerals over a 5.5p per share cash offer, valuing the company at almost £386m

Fertile plan: mining project aims to dig potash from beneath the North Yorks Moors

Global miner Anglo American has made an offer to buy Sirius Minerals, giving a potential lifeline to Britain’s largest mining project.

Around 85,000 retail investors are said to have injected money into Sirius Minerals' plans to dig the fertiliser potash from under the North York Moors.

The FTSE 100 company said it was in advanced discussions with Sirius over a 5.5p per share cash offer that would value the company at almost £386m.

Shares in Sirius, which closed at 4.1p on Tuesday, jumped 34.6 per cent to 5.4p on Wednesday.

In November, Sirius said it was seeking a backer to help fund a revised development plan.

Sirius has struggled to get financing so far for the project which was approved in 2015, and is reviewing the North Yorkshire polyhalite mine after scrapping in September a plan to raise $500m in a bond sale, delaying the project.

Demand for potash is said to rise over the next decade as farmers try to satisfy the changing diets of a rising global population with less arable land.

If the deal goes ahead, it could save more than 1,000 jobs in one of the poorer areas of the UK.

Sirius shares lost more than 80 per cent of their value last year.

FURTHER READING: Miner BHP to focus on growing oil and gas division after exiting shale

FURTHER READING: China's Jiangxi Copper receives $213 million loan from parent following 18% stake buy in Canadian miner

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