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The Woodsmith project: polyhalite mine

Event organised by ICE

27 September 2023
10:30 - 14:00 BST (GMT+1)
Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel
Pontefract, WF9 1AB
United Kingdom

This event has now ended

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Mark will discuss the work that AngloAmerican are doing on the Woodsmith projects, it’s engineering challenges and how the team has overcome these. The project covers two main areas, at Woodsmith, the mine site, and Wilton where the processing plant and harbour facility will be.

With the mine site being located in the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors National Park, there are significant restrictions on what can, and cannot be undertaken during construction and operation. These restrictions have resulted in new approaches to traditional problems, and Mark will cover a number of these in the presentation.

The Pit to Port Concept: Mark will give a full overview of the project from the continuous miners that will operate one mile underground, to the loading of the processed granules onto ships at Teesside.

The two deep shafts, the Service Shaft, and the Production Shaft. Both headframes are hidden in a foreshaft, 43m deep, under a normal looking agricultural building. Surrounded by earthwork bunds, once completed most people driving past the site will have no idea of the major feat of engineering around them.

The aspects of the project are:

  • Service shaft

    The 1,600m shaft will provide access for the workforce and services to the mine’s pit bottom. The headframes at the top of the shafts, which hoist workers and materials up and down, are hidden in 43m deep 35m wide foreshafts to reduce surface visual impact - a world first.

  • Production shaft

    The production shaft will hoist polyhalite ore from the pit bottom to the Mineral Transport System level at -360m, where it is transferred to a 37km long conveyor belt and sent to Teesside.

  • Pit bottom (1,600 metres below)

    The mine workings are constructed entirely within the polyhalite seam at -1,600m. They will consist of a series of roads containing the conveyors and cutting machines required to excavate and transport the polyhalite ore.

  • Mineral Transport system

    The Mineral Transport System takes the polyhalite ore from near Whitby to the Mineral Handling Facility on Teesside for processing and shipping. Using a tunnel for ore transport eliminates the need for heavy rail or pipe transport infrastructure on the surface as is common in most mines, another unique sustainable design feature of Woodsmith Mine.

  • About Polyhalite

    Polyhalite is a naturally occurring mineral that contains potassium, sulphur, magnesium, and calcium plus numerous micronutrients, making it an ideal natural fertiliser. We simply crush it and granulate it produce POLY4, our flagship low carbon, multi-nutrient product suitable for organic farming. First product is expected to be available from Woodsmith Mine in 2027.


If you wish to attend this meeting, please advise the Hon Secretary by Wednesday 20 September by clicking the 'book now' button. Please indicate whether you'll be bringing a guest (include name) and also if you'll be staying for lunch (and if taking dessert).


Ticket Price
Per person £2.00
Main course buffet £13.00
Dessert £5.00


10:30 - 11:00

Registration, coffee & tea service

11:00 - 12:45

Presentation by Mark Calvert, followed by questions and discussion

12:45 - 14:00

Bar open and buffet lunch service


Mark Calvert

Mark Calvert

Anglo American

lead design engineer

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Mark Calvert

Mark Calvert is the Lead Design Engineer for Anglo American, Crop Nutrients. He has over 16 years’ experience in a wide variety civil engineering and infrastructure projects. These projects range from small road upgrades, to motorway upgrades, bridge assessments, Tram extension projects and upgrading of major railway lines in the UK.

He was the Chair of the ICE Yorkshire and Humber Region from between 2017 and 2019. In his spare time, he is a volunteer at the Middleton Railway in Leeds, and duties as the Railways’ civil engineer includes everything from clearing drains, driving steam engines and construction of new buildings.