Strabag UK is working on behalf of Anglo American to construct the world’s longest conveyor tunnel for a permanent mineral transport system (MTS) which will transport tens of millions of tonnes of polyhalite from under the North York Moors National Park.

The Polyhalite, a natural mineral, will then be crushed and granulated to create POLY4 – a multi-nutrient fertiliser which is suitable for organic use.

The hard rock Herrenknecht TBM was launched in June 2019 to build the 37km tunnel with an internal diameter of 4.9m. The TBM was named Stella-Rose by a local primary school pupil. 

The previous TBM drive record was set by a water conveyance tunnel project in the Middle East which was also built using a Herrenknecht TBM. The completed Woodsmith tunnel will set a new world record, which Strabag is expecting to be confirmed by Guinness World Records.

“We are extremely proud of the team at the Woodsmith project for reaching this incredible milestone and safely passing the current world record set for a single bored tunnel drive,” said Strabag UK managing director Simon Wild.

Woodsmith project director Andrew Johnson said he was delighted at the milestone. 

“It is a demonstration of the fruits of teamwork with our partners. We are now focused on looking forward and setting a new world record every day. The Woodsmith tunnel is a fundamental part of our commitment to create a sustainable mine with minimal environmental impact,” he said.