Sunday, February 17, 2013

Potash company files permit application for Holbrook mine

Prospect Global Resources, the Denver-based parent company of American West Potash, filed two key permit applications to develop a large underground potash mine outside Holbrook, Arizona, on the east side of Petrified Forest National Park.  [Right, AWP lands in purple, National Park Service lands in yellow.   Credit, Nested Quotes]

The company's announcement said they "filed with the Arizona State Land Department its Draft Mineral Development Report as part of an application to convert certain of its state exploration permits into mineral leases. The Mineral Development Report discusses the mining, geology, processing, environmental impact and economics of the Company's proposed annual production of 2 million metric tons of potash.  The Company also submitted an application for its Air Quality Control Permit to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality for administrative review."

The capital costs of developing the proposed mine was previously estimated at about $1.4 billion.

The U.S. currently produces about 1 million tons of potash per year, mostly for fertiizers, but imports 85% of the total amount consumed.    AWP signed a deal to sell a quarter of its production for 10 years to a Chinese company.


  1. Anonymous9:15 AM

    I've been following this project since it has started, hoping to some day get hired on as a full time employee. I am a local resident in Saint Johns,AZ. This is a huge deal here & surrounding areas. My question is when are they going to start hiring locally? Where can I apply? Online, or can I call someone to receive an application? If you could answer any of these questions or provide me with any helpful feed back I would sure appreciate it.
    Thank you for your time & your great articles, Eric Garcia

  2. Passport Potash and American West Potash both announced opening of project offices in Holbrook last year but cautioned that it would be a while before they would have any jobs to offer. There is a long lead time in getting permits approved, finalizing plans, and raising the construction funds.

  3. I'm also curious about this project. What type of underground mining will be utilized ? I have 8 years underground coal mining experience and relocated to Arizona two years ago. I read 2014 is the closest production date so far.

  4. Both companies have proposed standard room and pillar underground operations. The 2014 production start date seems unlikely given the status of the permitting processes. They still need to raise a lot of money to finance all this, even though the capital costs appear to be 30% cheaper per ton of production than building a new mine in Saskatchewan, the largest potash production region in the world.

    1. I spoke last September with Pat Avery, who is the CEO of America West Potash. His comment was that they hoped to begin dirt (making the mine shaft) work on a hole in August of this year and take about 1.5 years to be ready for production.

  5. I have patiently waited for a production date, and a website to submit a resume too. Continuous Miners/Shuttle cars are exactly what I was hoping for. Although, instead of CAT miners, JOY miners would be much better. Any more updates would be greatly appreciated. Underground coal mining experience does not go very far in AZ.