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Release Date: 06/28/11
Contacts: Shannon Borders, 970-240-5399    

BLM Considers Potassium Prospecting and Exploration Application Near Egnar

DOLORES, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management invites the public to an informational meeting to discuss a Potassium (potash) Prospecting Permit Application and an associated exploration plan submitted by RM Potash. Interested parties can attend the meeting at 7 p.m. on July 12, at the Dove Creek High School Commons in Dove Creek.

Potash is the common name for a group of naturally occurring minerals containing the element potassium (K), which is a leasable mineral under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920. Beds of rock salt containing layers of potash minerals were deposited in southwest Colorado during the evaporation of an ancient marine sea. The exploration operations for this prospecting permit are about 15 miles north of Dove Creek and U.S. Highway 491 (aka US 666) in the vicinity of Egnar within San Miguel and Dolores counties. 

As a part of the application process, the BLM Dolores Public Lands Office prepares an Environmental Assessment to evaluate the Potassium (potash) Prospecting Permit Applications and the associated exploration plans.

RM Potash proposed a two-phased exploration program in order to determine whether potash deposits are of grade, thickness, orientation and continuity for commercial development. The initial phase includes drilling up to six drill holes to recover sufficient core samples to facilitate potassium analyses and accurate determinations of thickness of the potash beds. 

If the initial exploration drilling exploration results indicate the deposit is not commercially viable, then RM Potash discontinues drilling efforts and reclaims all associated disturbances.   If results are favorable, the project proceeds to Phase 2, which includes additional exploration drill holes to adequately delineate the deposit. Between 10 and 20 holes may be drilled on about six acres. 

The BLM will decide whether or not the proposed action has significant impacts on the natural environment.  A decision for the initial exploration drill holes is expected sometime between September 2011 and January 2012.  Drilling would commence shortly thereafter, subject to any timing stipulations determined by the BLM to protect natural resources and wildlife.  In total, all core drilling and associated exploration work is expected to last up to four years from the approval of the initial drilling.

Comments on the nature and scope of the environmental, social, economic issues and possible alternatives related to the proposed action must be submitted by July 29, 2011.  Send comments to James Blair, Dolores Public Lands Office, Bureau of Land Management, 29211 Hwy. 184, Dolores, CO, 81323 or fax comments to (970) 882-6841.  If you have questions please call (970) 882-6800.

Further information and all official documents regarding this application are posted at

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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Last updated: 10-03-2011