Minerals

Phosphate

A BLM specialist talks with a mining company employee at a phosphate mine site

 

Development of phosphate deposits on National Forest System lands and other Federal mineral estate in southeast Idaho is the largest, most complex non-energy leasable minerals program in the nation.

Phosphate resources in southeast Idaho and northern Utah are the only large-scale, commercially viable deposits in the U.S. outside of those in Florida, which are being rapidly depleted.  The Idaho-Utah deposits are primarily Federal and over the next 20 years will source much of the country's phosphate. 

Phosphate mining and processing contribute $2 billion in value-added products to the U.S. economy and directly employ over 1200 people in high-paying jobs.  Phosphates are used in an array of products, from baked goods and personal care products to fertilizers, textiles and electronics, among others. 

The BLM is responsible for reviewing, permitting and overseeing phosphate mining that occurs on Federal lands or on lands where the mineral estate is in Federal ownership.  Proper analysis of environmental impacts, oversight of active mines, and coordination of reclamation are critical elements in protecting the environment and other resources found on public lands and areas adjacent to them. 

 

Lands formerly mined for phosphate, now reclaimed

 

 

Overseeing reclamation is a key element of the BLM's solid minerals program. Bonding requirements are part of the terms of the mineral lease and help ensure adequate reclamation once operations cease.

 For more information on
 the BLM phosphate program in Idaho,
 contact Sarah Wheeler
Idaho Falls District Public Affairs, (208) 524-7550