Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen confirmed at a business event held at Teesside International Airport, that a project to rescue Sirius Minerals will be delivered.
Talks are at an advanced stage with mining giant Anglo American and further interest has been received from other parties willing to invest.
Also at the event, sponsored by Hays Travel for Business, which focused on international trade opportunities and future plans for Teesside International Airport, David Coppock, regional director of the Department for International Trade confirmed a new scheme to support local businesses.
From April, the Department for International Trade will launch a new match fund grant programme to help SME businesses become export ready and be able to grow into a global market.
Ben Houchen said: “The news that Sirius is in advanced talks with Anglo American, one of the biggest mining companies in the world, is a massive vote of confidence in this unique and amazing project.
“I have always said that the scheme will be delivered and that local people here in Teesside, as well as further afield in Yorkshire, would feel the huge benefits of this truly transformational project.
“Small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and employ tens of thousands of people in the Tees Valley and I fully support any scheme that supports our innovators, the job creators, entrepreneurs and risk takers to export Teesside products to the world, to grow and create more good quality, well-paid jobs.”
Attendees also heard about the role Teesside International Airport will play in supporting businesses in the region.
Head of B2B Sales for Hays Travel for Business, Mark Cornock said: “It has been really good to witness the engagement from businesses and see how important Teesside International Airport is to them.
“Business travel from the airport is likely to becoming more frequent in the years ahead. Flights from KLM via Amsterdam have increased significantly since the airport was restructured and received the profile it deserves.
“I see this trend increasing as the airport starts to provide new routes and growing North East and Yorkshire firms look to the wider world in order to expand their sales and services.”