Potash Development in Dry Valley looks promising
by Buckley Jensen
Jan 25, 2012 | 6438 views | 0 0 comments | 98 98 recommendations | email to a friend | print
San Juan County Commission Chairman Bruce Adams said last week that the long-awaited potash mining development near Hatch Rock north of Monticello is expected to begin on-site work soon.

Adams said the County Commission are in contact with Keith Price on a regular basis. Price is the president of K2O Potash.

K2O has been doing due diligence work for years with the government agencies involved. A huge potash deposit was discovered years ago when extensive drilling for oil, gas and uranium was taking place in the Anticline Overlook area of Dry Valley.

K2O has drilled several deeper holes in the area to ascertain how extensive the deposit is. When asked how big the deposit is and what the life of the operation will be, Adams replied, “Forever.”

Potash is used as a high-grade fertilizer. The San Juan deposit may be up to thousands of feet deep and could be mined by injecting hot water into bore holes under tremendous pressure.

The liquefied potash will be pumped to the surface and dried with natural gas dryers. When dry, it will be trucked to railheads in surrounding states. The United States currently imports 90 percent of its potash. Most of the local production will likely be sold in country rather than being exported.

The mining, drying and trucking operation as currently envisioned will require 250 full time employees. That workforce could expand if the initial operations are successful. Since the site is in San Juan County and housing costs here are less than in Moab, it is anticipated that most of the employees will live in the county.

Funding for the project comes from Australia. It is reported that $20 million is allocated for work at the site this year.

Adams said he is pleased with the possibilities represented by this project for two principle reasons:

First, the company has promised that all company offices and support operations will be located in Monticello, a huge stimulus to the local economy.

It is anticipated that the mine will pay up to $18,000,000 a year in taxes and royalties when fully operational (at current world potash prices). This year the entire County budget is $12,000,000.

Second, Adams says the president of the company (Keith Price) likes Monticello and is looking forward to living here. Last year he gave $10,000 to Monticello High School for band and weight room improvements. At the County Fair, he paid top dollar and contributed several thousand dollars to the 4-H livestock program which benefits county youngsters.
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