BLM Issues Record of Decision for Caldwell Canyon Mine Phosphate Project

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced today that its Idaho Falls District Office has issued a Record of Decision (ROD) to approve the Caldwell Canyon Mine Project, an open pit phosphate mine in Caribou County. P4 Production, LLC, a subsidiary of Bayer, would develop three phosphate leases located on Schmidt Ridge, about 13 miles east-northeast of Soda Springs. The leases grant exclusive rights to the lease owner to develop the phosphate minerals in accordance with the BLM-approved mine plan.

Mining methods at the Caldwell Canyon Mine would be similar to those at P4’s Blackfoot Bridge Mine (nearing depletion) and would supply phosphate ore to P4 Production’s Soda Springs plant. The approved alternative includes use of a combination of earthen cover and selected areas of geo-synthetic cover over the mine waste rock to meet water quality standards. 

“The Caldwell Canyon Mine is a vital part of the Idaho economy. This project’s approval means decades of additional job security and economic development for communities in the surrounding area, and the BLM is proud to play a part in sustaining those benefits,” said William Perry Pendley, the BLM’s Deputy Director for Policy and Programs. 

“We are very pleased to bring the planning for the Caldwell Canyon phosphate mine to completion,” said BLM Idaho state director John Ruhs. “This project is a terrific example of the BLM’s commitment to sustainably developing natural resources for the benefit of the American people.” 

The project supports the Administration’s priorities by finding a balance between resource extraction and conservation, while providing opportunities for high-paying jobs in the local community. The Caldwell Canyon Mine would sustain approximately 185 mining jobs and support 585 plant jobs for an additional 40 years. The mine would also aid the region by providing $47 million annually for payroll, taxes, royalties and purchases, while sustaining support and service jobs in the surrounding communities.

“The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) announcement regarding the proposed Caldwell Canyon Mine is welcome news for Eastern Idaho,” said Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).  “On-the-ground support from Idaho stakeholders in collaboration with local BLM officials will ensure a thorough process that strikes a balance between resource extraction and conservation efforts.  The Caldwell Canyon Mine will provide great opportunities for high paying jobs in the local community, and will bolster the local economy.”

“The Caldwell Canyon mine is an excellent example of how improved approval processes can facilitate better use of natural resources and stimulate economic development in our communities. I applaud the Department of Interior on this announcement and look forward to seeing more Idaho projects completed efficiently,” saidSenator Jim Risch (R-Idaho).

“This record of decision from the BLM is the result of years of collaboration and I am very pleased and grateful for those who worked to make it possible,” said Congressman Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). “Once again Idaho leads the way when it comes to communities, business, conservation, and government entities working together for the greater good.”

“I applaud Secretary David Bernhardt and the Bureau of Land Management for moving the Caldwell Canyon Project forward. This site will provide rural Idaho with hundreds of high-paying jobs and encourage future economic growth and opportunity in our state,” added Congressman Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho).

The BLM made the Final Environmental Impact Statement available for public review on May 17, 2019. Implementation of this decision may begin at the close of a 30-day appeal-filing period. Instructions for appealing the BLM's decision to the Interior Board of Land Appeals are described in the ROD and must be in accordance with regulations contained in 43 CFR 4.

A copy of the ROD is available on the BLM Land Use Planning and National Environmental Policy Act National Register website at https://bit.ly/2SaxWcO, and a limited number of printed copies are available at the BLM Pocatello Field Office, 4350 Cliffs Drive, Pocatello, Idaho 83204. For additional information, please contact Bill Volk, BLM Pocatello Field Office, at the above address, by phone at (208) 236-7503, or by fax at (208) 478-6376. Please reference "Caldwell Canyon Mine Record of Decision" on all correspondence.

This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’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. 

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Bureau of Land Management

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Ken Frederick