BLM releases final report on Caribou County phosphate mine

SODA SPRINGS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has opened a 30-day comment period for a final Environmental Impact Statement analyzing impacts of the Caldwell Canyon phosphate Mine in Caribou County.   

The preferred alternative would develop two new open mine pits, construct haul and access roads, a new power line, and water management features. Ore would be hauled via truck to an existing railroad load out and then by rail to Soda Springs. Mine overburden would be placed in the mined-out Dry Valley Mine D pit and the Caldwell Canyon pits as they are mined out. An earthen cover would be placed over the backfill to promote soil for revegetation.

The developer is P4 Production, formerly Monsanto. The mining and support facilities would cause disturbance to about 1,559 acres. 153 acres are administered by the BLM, 7 acres are disturbed National Forest land, 230 acres are Idaho State Endowment land, and 1,169 acres are privately owned. 

According to BLM, the phosphate leases are located on Schmidt Ridge, about 13 miles northeast of Soda Springs. If approved, it would sustain approximately 185 mining jobs and support 585 plant jobs for an additional 40 years. It would provide about $122 million annually in payroll, taxes, royalties and purchases in addition to support and service jobs.

Publication of the EIS opens a 30-day public review. A final record of decision will be issued in early summer.

You can view the entire EIS here.


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