London — Sirius Minerals, which is developing the world’s largest deposit of a fertiliser named polyhalite, saw losses mount last year but expects to start production at its mine in northern Britain ahead of schedule in mid-2021. CEO Chris Fraser said the company, set up to develop the mine, has deals to sell 4.4-million tonnes a year of the fertiliser and is seeking "similar arrangements" with northwest Europe and Brazil. Britain’s departure from the European Union would also open up more direct negotiation with China, where Sirius has already signed supply contracts, he said. "We could then have the ability to go and talk directly to China about trade, rather than have to go through the glove of the European Union," Fraser, who accompanied British Prime Minister Theresa May to China in February, said in an interview. "Our dialogue with China is very strong." Sirius reported an operating loss of £24m for 2017 on Tuesday, versus £16.9m in 2016 as the company began to build its huge ...

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