Sirius Minerals has varied its existing mineral transport system (MTS) tunnelling contract with STRABAG AG to include the engineering, procurement and construction of the fit-out of the system at its polyhalite project in Yorkshire, England.
The MTS fit-out scope includes the fit-out of the MTS conveyor, the maintenance railway, electrical and communications infrastructure, and all other services in the tunnel essential to the operation of the MTS.
Sirius said the price of the MTS fit-out was in line with the company’s capital re-estimate announced on September 6.
The MTS will carry the company’s mined polyhalite from 360 m underground at the Woodsmith mine site to the materials handling facility at Wilton, Teesside, on a 37 km underground conveyor system. The tunnel will be constructed by three tunnel boring machines and the conveyor system in the MTS will be designed to handle 20 Mt/y of throughput. It will also contain maintenance rail and services, including a 66 kV power feeder from Wilton International industrial complex.
More than 50% of the MTS fit-out price is on a fixed rate or lump-sum basis, with the remainder based upon estimated prices to be converted into fixed prices prior to completion of stage two financing. The proposed schedule for the MTS fit-out is in line with the company’s overall project schedule, Sirius said.
This is a significant step forward for the project, with Sirius saying it has now completed its procurement for the major construction packages related to the stage two senior debt financing process.
Chris Fraser, Managing Director and CEO of Sirius, said the company’s efforts were now focused on the successful execution of its financing plan to fully finance the construction of its polyhalite project.
As previously announced, the company expects the capital funding requirement of the project to be $3.4-$3.6 billion (previously $3bn), with a $3 billion senior debt financing being the appropriate level of debt.
Given the timing of completion of the final procurement contracts, final lender commitment letters are expected to be received in December and January. The company is targeting financial close of stage two financing in the March quarter.