Pat Avery, CEO of American West Potash told the Winter Watershed Conference in Show Low that they plan to submit a 400-page application package within the next two weeks, to construct an underground potash mine near Holbrook. It’s expected to be an approximately $1.4 billion capitalization project, leading to a 2 million plus ton per year operation.
At the same conference, David Salisbury, Chairman of Passport Potash, announced the possibility of using a longwall mining process rather than the expected continuous mining operation, for their proposed underground mine in the same area.
The issue of subsidence is emerging as a concern in the community.
Meanwhile, the Arizona Republic reports that the The Conservation Fund, aided by the National Parks Conservation Association, has purchased the 4,265 acre McCauley Ranch, a watershed area east of Puerco Pueblo. Reporter Brandon Loomis says "The Conservation Fund, a non-profit organization based in Virginia, will protect the land until the National Park Service can buy it later this year with help from an anonymous donor and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses some of the government’s billions of dollars in offshore oil-and-gas royalties for such purposes."
About 1/4 of the Holbrook potash deposit underlies Park Service lands while another 1/4 underlies mostly private and state trust lands that are within the park boundaries that were greatly expanded by President George W. Bush in 2004. Congress never appropriated funds to buy any of the lands with the expanded park boundaries. As a result, potash companies have been acquiring mineral rights within the park boundaries and in some cases, both mineral and surface rights. [Right, land status from
Passport Potash resource report. Original park lands shown in green]