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Anglo American's Strategic Shift at Woodsmith Mine

Anglo American's Strategic Shift at Woodsmith Mine

20 June 2024

Anglo American has announced a "slowdown" at its polyhalite mine, Woodsmith Mine near Whitby, leading to the loss of about 180 of its 360 directly employed roles. Contractors have also been told to reduce staff, with work on one of the mine’s two shafts being paused. The project, which includes boring a 23-mile (37 km) tunnel to the River Tees, will slow down, and the reduced staffing levels are expected to last for 18 months. Tom McCulley, CEO of Anglo American’s crop nutrients division, cited budget constraints for the decision and stressed the importance of communication with affected employees. Redpath, a key contractor, will cut its workforce at Woodsmith from 700 to 300, with many workers reassigned to other projects.

By mid-2025, Anglo American expects to employ around 900 people, marking a 60% reduction in contractor roles compared to current levels. The Woodsmith Mine, which began construction in 2017 and was acquired by Anglo American in 2020, has been a major employer, supporting 2,000 jobs at its peak. This move highlights the financial pressures on large-scale industrial projects and the tough decisions companies must make to remain viable. Despite the setbacks, McCulley remains optimistic about the project's future, noting that work on the service shaft, which is at the halfway point of 2,600 ft (800 m), will continue and the slowdown is a temporary measure to navigate current budget constraints.

AFRIQOM Market Reporter

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