Intrepid Reports on Regulatory Developments Regarding its HB Solar Solution Mineadmin
Intrepid Potash Inc. reports that the Bureau of Land Management has determined that an Environmental Impact Statement will be required to evaluate the environmental impacts of Intrepid’s proposed HB Solar Solution Mine project in Carlsbad, New Mexico. As a consequence, final permitting and approval of the HB Solar Solution Mine will be delayed and related capital expenditures deferred for an as-yet-undetermined period. The delay will not have any impact on 2009 potash production volumes. Once the necessary regulatory approvals are obtained, construction will begin and first production should result approximately one year later with full production anticipated approximately two years after approvals are obtained and construction begins.
As Intrepid previously reported, after several years of consultation with the BLM and numerous meetings and presentations, in May 2008, Intrepid submitted a Mine Plan to the BLM to proceed with development of its HB Solar Solution Mine project. In the summer of 2008, a draft Environmental Assessment thoroughly addressing all environmental impacts associated with the project was completed. Since that time, Intrepid has worked closely with the BLM to address concerns raised by the BLM with regard to the environmental impacts of the project. In September 2008, the BLM hosted two several-hour-long, well-attended public meetings in Carlsbad, New Mexico concerning the project. At these meetings, Intrepid presented the technical aspects of the project and answered citizen questions. The BLM then provided a 30-day public comment period following these public meetings. The BLM received no public comments during the 30-day period. An oil and gas company thereafter submitted objections to the project based on alleged environmental impacts.
Intrepid’s CEO, Bob Jornayvaz, stated, “We are clearly disappointed with the BLM’s decision to allow an oil and gas company to delay such an environmentally friendly project in our nation’s potash reserve. The project has been extensively publicized and supported by the community, and remains so, because it takes advantage of an unused, non-potable water source to recover potash from the existing Eddy potash mine and produce it in solar evaporation ponds rather than having to burn natural gas or coal. Potash solution mining is a widely used and accepted technology. The oil and gas company’s actions are further disappointing because the solar solution mining project, which is funded for immediate construction, creates numerous long-term jobs in the face of the nation’s current economic crisis and actually opens more areas for oil and gas drilling. There were no public objections raised about the project other than by an oil and gas company in the area with whom we are in litigation over their planned drilling in the nation’s Potash Enclave and the resulting destruction and waste of potash. We worked diligently with the BLM to address the environmental impacts alleged by this oil and gas company and showed them to be without merit. While the determination, if followed by the BLM, will lengthen the timeframe for approval of the HB Solar Solution Mine project, it does not change the criteria for the final BLM decision.”
The Company routinely posts important information about the Company on its website under the Investor Relations tab. The Company’s website address is www.intrepidpotash.com.