Intrepid Potash plans to open its HB Solar Solution Mine 20 miles northeast of Carlsbad, New Mexico, that will create 30 to 40 long-term jobs and an estimated 150 to 200 construction jobs.
According to New Mexico economic development officials the project will contribute more than $90 million in federal and state royalties and an estimated $120 to $130 million in capital construction expenditures.
"This project will enable the production of approximately 5 million tons of potash from a previously idled mine through the use of environmentally sound solution mining and solar evaporation techniques." Governor Susana Martinez said. "This project will lead to a substantial number of both construction and long-term jobs in one of the most economically vibrant areas of the state. We welcome this development of our state's bountiful natural resources, and the jobs it creates in the process, as well as Intrepid's careful stewardship of the environment"
"Intrepid Potash appreciates the professionalism displayed by the regulatory community in working toward receiving the permitting for this project," said David Honeyfield, president and CFO of Intrepid Potash. "There was a true appreciation for the ability to balance the needs of protecting the environment with running a successful mining operation, an approach that will benefit New Mexicans for years to come," he added.
The HB Project will involve injecting salt-saturated brine underground to selectively dissolve and recover potash in existing, idled mine workings. Once enriched with dissolved potash, the brine will be pumped through pipelines to above-ground lined, solar evaporation ponds where the potash an ingredient in fertilizer will be recovered after evaporation.
Intrepid expects to begin production after a 12 to 18 month construction phase which includes: installation of water supply wells and associated piping, 6 injection wells and 5 extraction wells with 37 miles of associated pipelines, 520 acres of solar evaporation ponds and a new flotation plant adjacent to Intrepid's existing processing facilities.
"This is an exciting day for Carlsbad and all of New Mexico," said Jon Barela, New Mexico Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary. "Because Intrepid Potash invested its resources and profits into developing new, environmentally-friendly and innovative technologies to mine for potash, we are now seeing a boom of jobs and economic activity take place in Southeastern New Mexico."