I wanted to share one of my best ever days in UKTI .... down a mine at Boulby with Cleveland Potash Ltd.
Let me say upfront the management and all the staff at CPL are first class and looked after me so well on the day.
We descended about 09.30 am with Richard , our top class guide. It really hit me when Richard gave us our safety briefing and emergency oxygen, etc. The cage drops about one mile underground, at 24 feet per second. From there we travelled out about six miles out under the North Sea, where CPL is mining the world's largest potash seam.
Potash is a pure chemical compound from about 300 million years ago and is used extensively worldwide in the fertiliser industry.
CPL extract, process and export from its excellent operations at Boulby.
At the mine face we had a briefing from Shift Supervisor 'Chunky' who was an excellent host in the 40 degree heat and darkness. The machinery, drillers, diggers, extractors and conveyors all doing their bit.
The high salt content makes the atmosphere very dry. That said about a million gallons of water are still extracted every day to keep the mine operational.
A fantastic experience - and one I 'd highly recommend. Mining engineering is a fantastic science and one where the UK still has global skills to offer.
Our guide Richard has just graduated with a Masters in Mining engineering from Cornwall. His knowledge of the seams, the structural stresses and strains were fascinating.
We resurfaced about 1 30pm; a fantastic four hour tour which I'll never forget. CPL export potash worldwide - and long may it continue - generating jobs and providing skills to the community .
And finally, before I go I'd like to say a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year to all.