(Bloomberg) — Anglo American Plc’s plan to buy a giant potash project overlooking England’s North Sea is a bittersweet twist for local residents.
The deal will ensure billions of dollars of investment in the downtrodden region of North Yorkshire. But people like Neil Trillo, one of the thousands who bought shares in project owner Sirius Minerals Plc before it ran out of money, have been left counting their losses.
“It was a bit of a local dream,” Trillo said from behind the counter of his coffee stand in the seaside town Whitby. “Get involved with something local, something on the doorstep with a hundred-year plus tenure. That’s what was sold to investors.”
The story of Sirius Minerals Plc caught the imagination of retail investors in a dramatic way. Across the country, regular people poured money into the company, betting on a vision from the management team to defy the critics and build the $4 billion project.
The ambitious plan calls for huge tunneling machines that will bore into the rich seams of fertilizer beneath the sea and moorland. The mining project is the U.K.’s biggest in more than four decades and offers the promise of jobs and life-changing royalties for some landowners living above the deposit.
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