The Pocatello Field Office (PFO) is situated in the heart of the Western Phosphate Field, one of the world’s major phosphate producing regions. Phosphate mining has been an important industry in southeastern Idaho since 1907. Phosphorus is an important industrial commodity as well as a nutrient essential to all life including crop production. Phosphate is present in economically minable quantities in the organic-rich black shales of the Meade Peak member of the Permian Phosphoric formation. The ore produced from federal leases administered by the Pocatello Field Office is a major source of both phosphate fertilizer and elemental phosphorus produced at industrial plants located in Pocatello and Soda Springs, Idaho.
Phosphate mining within the PFO boundaries constitutes the largest mineral industry of Idaho, producing more than $600 million in processed mineral value in 1997 (USGS 2004). Phosphate mining and processing are key components of the Southeast Idaho and Star Valley, Wyoming, economies. Four phosphate mines currently operate on federal leases in Caribou County, Idaho, within the PFO area. Direct employment at the phosphate mines and processing facilities in Southeast Idaho was over 2,100 in 1998, with an estimated total payroll of over $110 million that year, although direct employment and payroll were less in 2002. The Minerals Management Service (2002) reported that federal revenues from phosphate-related activity in Caribou County, Idaho, on federal leases for fiscal year 2001 were almost $9.34 million. Federal law requires royalties and other revenues collected from federal phosphate leases be split equally between the state where the activity occurs and the federal treasury.
BLM-Administered Phosphate Mines in the Pocatello Field Office Area
|Mine||Lessee/Operator||Status||Surface Owner or Agency|
|B, F, S, P|
|F, S, P|
|South Rasmussen Ridge||Monsanto|
|Smoky Canyon||J.R. Simplot Co.|
A - Active, T - Active, but temporarily idle, R - Mining complete, reclamation in progress
Surface Owner/Management Agency:
B - BLM, F - Forest Service, S - State of Idaho, I - Fort Hall Indian Reservation, P - Private
Pocatello Field Office | 4350 Cliffs Drive | Pocatello, ID 83204
208-478-6340 | Fax: 208-478-6376 | Office hours: 7:45am - 4:30pm,