LOCAL NEWS

US Government Approves Mining Of ‘Critical’ Mineral In Utah

Aug 28, 2019, 11:05 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:03 pm

FILE (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)...

FILE (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Facing heightened pressure from the Trump administration to bolster critical mineral mining operations on American soil, the U.S. government has approved a mining project at the end point of a river in central Utah to extract a mineral commonly used in fertilizer.

Bureau of Land Management officials held a news conference Tuesday to announce the project, which will allow Canadian mining company Crystal Peak Minerals to extract potassium-rich potash at a dry lakebed called Sevier Playa about 180 miles (290 kilometers) southwest of Salt Lake City.

Joseph Balash, assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management, said the project reflects a return to prosperity in America’s rural communities.

“As we will see here in Utah … this project, and the jobs it creates, represents a rising tide: more money into schools, local businesses, and communities as a whole,” he said.

Balash announced his resignation from the position last week, which will take effect Aug. 30. He has not cited a reason for his departure.

In June, the Trump administration announced its strategy to expand U.S. mining on public lands of nearly three dozen critical minerals including potash with streamlined permitting because such minerals strengthen U.S. security and reduce the need for foreign imports.

The proposals come at a time of trade tensions with China that some fear could hit U.S. imports of rare earths and other minerals used by U.S. tech firms and other industries, including defense firms.

Officials have said the project could double the United States’ production of sulfate of potash, a form of the mineral used to produce high-value crops like nuts and fruit trees.

Environmental activists and local leaders have expressed concern the project will threaten the area’s solitude and pollute the air and water.

The project’s final environmental impact statement predicts chemical emissions will exceed national air quality standards. But this consequence isn’t sufficiently analyzed, said Steven Bloch, the legal director of Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

Evelyn Warnick, a Millard County commissioner, said she’s anxious over how the project, which uses water in an evaporative process to produce potash from the lakebed sediment, could reduce water supply in a valley where it’s a scarce, “special commodity.”

Project documents note that any estimate of the socioeconomic effects of water acquisition would be “speculative.”

Some state officials have argued that mining is the most appropriate use of land that doesn’t hold much promise for development. But Bloch says the Sevier Playa deserves protection for its unique solitude and natural beauty.

“It’s a remote, sublime part of western Utah that’s appreciated for its solitude, its dark skies and its lack of industrial intrusion,” he said. “This project is going to radically change what this part of Utah looks like by bringing in the human activity, development, light, and the noise of industry.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

a woman puts an arm around a taller man...

Debbie Worthen

Family launches foundation in remembrance of loved one who drowned in Puerto Rico

The BK Outreach effort is named after Ben Kerbs, who died while swimming in Puerto Rico. His family is healing through service.

8 hours ago

A group of young Filipino girls are excited...

Dan Rascon

Tabernacle Choir arrives in Philippines to continue ‘Hope’ world tour

There was celebration, music and dancing as the Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square arrived in the Philippines to kick of the second segment of its Hope world tour.

8 hours ago

The mug shots of Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt obtained by KSL on Feb. 21 2024. It's expected th...

Shelby Lofton

Long-term therapy expected for Ruby Franke, Jodi Hildebrandt’s young victims

After their mother, Ruby Franke, and previous counselor Jodi Hildebrandt were sentenced for aggravated child abuse, it's expected the Franke children will need long-term therapy to heal from the trauma they've endured.

10 hours ago

The Larry H. Miller Company and Miller family unveiled renderings for the Power District, a nearly ...

Lindsay Aerts

Utah Legislature unveils plan to help finance new MLB stadium

Utah's taxpayer funds are intertwined in a new bill proposed to fund a stadium that will help bring a Major League Baseball team to Utah. State leaders think the investment will pay off.

11 hours ago

Show in Smithfield...

Mike Anderson

‘The groundhog was wrong’: Heavy snow, rain mix hits Cache Valley Utah

Rain across much of the Wasatch Front brought a lot of that heavy, slushy snow to the Cache Valley Wednesday.

11 hours ago

A mother and son were hospitalized Monday night after they were burned near a campfire in West Poin...

Garna Mejia

After boy killed in West Point explosion; fire officials urging education about fire danger

Two fire incidents in less than two weeks involving 12-year-old boys have fire officials urging education about the danger. The 12-year-old in the West Point incident died.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

US Government Approves Mining Of ‘Critical’ Mineral In Utah