Local landowners on the site of Sirius Minerals’ sprawling fertiliser project could earn royalties of £3.8bn over the roughly 50-year lifespan of the project.
Sirius Minerals is in the early stages of building a mine for a more than 775 square km site of polyhalite, a form of potash, located in the North York Moors national park and stretching into the North Sea.
Landowners including farmers, the Crown Estate and the Duchy of Lancaster will pocket some of the £65m in annual royalties Sirius is set to pay out when the mine is up and running, the Sunday Times reported.
First production at the massive fertiliser mine is set to begin in 2021 and it is expected to hit peak production in 2026, when it will produce 20m tonnes of polyhalite per year.
The project is expected to create 1,000 jobs.
"There are a couple of farmers, one in particular, who genuinely don't know how big the royalties will be. I'm going to deliver the first cheque to him," founder and chief exec Chris Fraser told the Sunday Times.
On Friday, Sirius Minerals listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, making a move from the Alternative Investment Market (Aim). It was one of only nine Aim-listed companies worth more than £1bn.
Sirius has said admission to the full market will help to raise its global profile and attract new investors.
In October, Australia's richest woman, Gina Rinehart, invested hundreds of millions of pounds into the potash project.