Compass Minerals Announces Agreement to Trade Great Salt Lake Leases in Long-Range Plan to Produce More Sulfate of Potash Specialty Fertilizer

Compass Minerals Announces Agreement to Trade Great Salt Lake Leases in Long-Range Plan to Produce More Sulfate of Potash Specialty Fertilizer

Great Salt Lake Minerals Corp., a subsidiary of Compass Minerals, announced that it has agreed with the state of Utah to exchange undeveloped existing leases in navigable areas of the Great Salt Lake for leases covering 37,000 acres in highly saline regions of the lake that are preferable for production of sulfate of potash specialty fertilizer.

“This lease exchange agreement is part of our long-term plan to develop our key potash specialty fertilizer segment and is consistent with our strategy to leverage our advantageous location on the Great Salt Lake,” said Angelo Brisimitzakis, president and chief executive officer of Compass Minerals. “These 37,000 acres of leases in an area well-suited for solar evaporation provide a future route to increase production of our all-natural, organic-approved sulfate of potash specialty fertilizer as demand dictates.”

In the exchange agreement, Great Salt Lake Minerals receives leases on 37,000 acres with high mineral concentrations on sections of the remote northwest arm of the lake adjacent to the company’s current evaporation ponds and leases, and relinquishes undeveloped leases it has held since 1967 on approximately 30,000 acres with lower mineral concentrations.

Today’s land exchange agreement is part of a multi-phase expansion plan Compass Minerals announced in September 2007 to meet future demand for sulfate of potash. The first phase is to increase the amount of sulfate of potash the company can produce utilizing its existing 43,000 acres of evaporation ponds at the Great Salt Lake by investing in infrastructure and efficiencies. The company’s second phase of the long-range plan, to add new solar evaporation ponds on 33,000 acres, is undergoing federal environmental review prior to receiving construction permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The acreage acquired in the lease exchange agreement announced today also is subject to environmental review before any new ponds are built. The final scope of these combined 70,000-acre projects – including the timing, cost, additional pond harvest and need for additional processing capacity – will be determined when grower demand dictates. The leased acreage is unlikely to yield increased SOP production for at least five years due to the time requirements of the permitting process, pond construction, and the three-year solar evaporation cycle.

Sulfate of potash provides necessary potassium and sulfur nutrients for high-value fruits, vegetables and other wholesome foods, without most commodity potassium fertilizers’ high chloride levels that can damage certain crops.

Based in the Kansas City metropolitan area, Compass Minerals is a leading producer of inorganic minerals, including salt, sulfate of potash specialty fertilizer and magnesium chloride. The company provides highway deicing salt to customers in North America and the United Kingdom, and produces and distributes consumer deicing and water conditioning products, ingredients used in consumer and commercial foods, specialty fertilizers, and products used in agriculture and other consumer and industrial applications. Compass Minerals also provides records management services to businesses throughout the U.K.

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