US EPM moves forward on potash project environmental impact study

22 January 2014 19:38 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Fertilizer developer EPM Mining Ventures announced on Wednesday that its environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Sevier Lake Playa Sulfate of Potash project in Utah has been advanced and is awaiting posting to the Federal Register.

The company said the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) federal office in Washington DC has received the document as of this week and that posting of the notice of intent to prepare an environmental statement for the fertilizer project should be forthcoming shortly, which will allow the public scoping process to begin.    

Salt Lake City-based EPM controls directly, or through agreement retains, mineral leases on more than 124,000 acres (50,000 ha) on the Sevier Lake Playa property in Millard County, Utah. The producer is focused on producing sulphate of potash through solar evaporation.

The company has previously completed a preliminary feasibility study and is currently awaiting environmental approval for the project’s permits for air and water usage from the state of Utah. Those applications are anticipated to be finalised during 2014.

EPM has projected that the project will have an annual SOP production of 300,000 tonnes when at full capacity, with the deposit reserves estimated at 31.486m tonnes of SOP over the 30-year lifecycle of the mine.

While not revealing a startup date, EPM said it expects that production will be 50,000 tonnes in the first year, doubling to 100,000 tonnes the second year and by the third year of operations should reach full capacity. The total direct capital cost of the project is estimated to be $292m.

It is estimated the current global demand for SOP is around 6m tonnes, and the market is expected to grow 4% annually through 2020.

By Mark Milam