Market Report: Sirius Minerals hit by York Moors planning report


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The Independent Online

The odds are stacking up against Sirius Minerals. More than four years on from the acquisition of the potash project on the North York Moors National Park, the AIM-listed company, down 3.25p to 18.25p, is no closer to getting the green light to build a fertiliser mine.

Its planning application now hangs in the balance after a report from officials stated that the economic benefits of the mine do not outweigh the potential environmental damage to the Yorkshire beauty spot. But the report did not say whether the project should be allowed to proceed.

Sirius’s chief executive, Chris Fraser, rejected the findings: “We remain determined to pursue the positive planning decision that will allow us to deliver this project and all of its benefits.”

Liberum Capital’s analysts remain upbeat about the planning decision on 30 June: “There is no change to our view that approval is the most likely outcome.”

A rally from mining stocks lifted the FTSE 100 from five-month lows, up 27.33 points to 6,707.88, with gold producer Randgold Resources rising 119p to 4,546p after a weaker dollar boosted the price of precious metals.  Anglo American, up 25.1p to 990.7p, and Johnson Matthey, 74p higher at 3,120p, benefited from a rise in platinum prices.

The electronic parts distributor Premier Farnell dropped 10.4p to 179.3p as it warned that first-half profits would be down, with margins under pressure.

The estate agent Hunters unveiled the blueprint for its AIM float. The Saracens chairman Nigel Wray, the largest shareholder with an 18.8 per cent chunk of Hunters, will be hoping to replicate the success he saw at Domino’s Pizza, another business that runs a franchise model.

The group of companies on the hunt for oil near Gatwick revealed that the latest independent assessment of the Horse Hill licence shows a best estimate of 9.2 billion barrels. UK Oil & Gas, down 2 per cent at 2.27p, Solo Oil, off 3 per cent at 0.49p, and Stellar Resources, up 9.5 per cent to 0.57p, all have stakes.

Europa Oil & Gas, down 1.5 per cent at 8p, began testing at its well in East Lincolnshire.