North York Moors mine worker camp scrapped after backlash: Anglo American decides against building site for hundreds of employees
Anglo American has scrapped plans to build a temporary camp for hundreds of mine workers in the North York Moors National Park after a furious backlash.
The global mining company applied for permission to convert an award-winning caravan site near Whitby to house up to 400 workers. It included 189 two-person cabins with solar panels, and ‘welfare lodges’ – which could have included a bar.
But locals said the site would be a ‘disaster’ for the area and would ‘ruin the tranquillity’ of nearby Egton village. Anglo has scrapped the plan, saying it will go back to the drawing board following ‘feedback’ from the community.
Haven: But Anglo American wanted to house up to 400 workers on the site
The FTSE100-listed miner did not have a back-up option if the caravan park plan fell through. It had hoped the temporary camp would accommodate workers for five years while it sank two miledeep shafts at the nearby Woodsmith project – Britain’s biggest new mine in decades.
It is the latest setback for the planned potash mine previously owned by Sirius Minerals. Anglo withdrew the temporary camp application after being approached by The Mail on Sunday about dozens of outraged responses to a public consultation. Locals feared the site would scare away wildlife in the area, stretch the sewage system to breaking point and put the safety of villagers at risk.
Others threatened to move away if the site, which would effectively have doubled the size of Egton, went ahead. One letter objecting to the planning application said: ‘Our roads are busy enough as it is without these comings and goings. It’s absolutely absurd to believe this won’t add a risk to people and wildlife.’
Another said: ‘I feel so strongly about this that if it is accepted we may well leave the area for good.’
Several respondents said there might be trouble – especially if the site included its own bar or pub.
‘With alcohol comes girls,’ one said, adding it would ‘only be natural’ for workers to want female company. Another said it could ‘seriously affect the balance of village life and quality of life for the residents’, adding: ‘I think Anglo American are naive – or insulting our intelligence – to believe that providing a canteen and gym will be sufficient to pacify 400 workers for five years or more.
‘They will filter into the village, that’s human nature.’
Anglo said it had a zero-tolerance approach to alcohol at the mine itself and that all workers would be tested before shifts began. It is understood that both male and female staff would have been housed on the site.
Anglo rescued the project in 2020 when Sirius teetered on collapse. Anglo has already ploughed in hundreds of millions into the scheme.
An Anglo spokesman said it would ‘explore other options’, adding: ‘Listening to people’s views has always been an important part of the project’s ethos.’