Thousands of people who invested in a £4bn mining project may be left out of pocket as a result of a takeover bid.

Up to 85,000 small investors sank cash into the Sirius Mineral development near Whitby before it ran into financial difficulty last year.

Mining giant Anglo American has offered to buy the project for £405m, with investors set to receive 5.5p a share.

The company said it was “sensitive to the fact that the price is lower than what many people may have invested”.

About 10,000 of the investors live near the mine, which would extract polyhalite from beneath North York Moors National Park before transporting it on an underground conveyor belt to a processing plant near the former Redcar steelworks.

Scott Murphy, a “seasoned

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