PLANS for a potash mine which would employ more than 1,000 people have been backed by North Yorkshire County Council.

The council said it would support York Potash’s £1.5 billion project to tap into the world’s largest polyhalite deposits underneath the North York Moors, before the firm has submitted a planning application for the mine.

John Weighell, the council’s leader, said the employment opportunities for North Yorkshire and Teesside, which include a further 4,000 jobs in the supply chain, would be extremely useful in tackling unemployment.

He said: “It is a very long time since I can think of a single development of such significance in North Yorkshire, and it will go on for many years.

“This is potentially a major boost to the county’s economy and I very much welcome the progress that has been made.”

He said that while the correct procedures needed to be followed by North York Moors National Park Authority and transport issues needed addressing, the Conservative-led council and its partners would “continue to look at how we can make the most of the opportunity if it moves to construction”.

But the North Yorkshire Moors Association described the council’s support as premature.