BLM Approves Construction and Operation of IC Potash Corp.’s Ochoa Project in Signed Record of Decision
April 14, 2014 (Source: Marketwired) — IC Potash Corp. (TSX: ICP) (OTCQX: ICPTF) (“ICP” or the “Company”) announced today that the Company has received notice that the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) has published a Record of Decision (“ROD”) that authorizes ICP to construct and operate its 100%-owned Sulphate of Potash Ochoa Project (the “Project”), including all mining and processing facilities located in southeast New Mexico, U.S.A. The signed ROD marks the final decision made by the BLM based on the analysis described in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”).
Sidney Himmel, President and Chief Executive Officer of IC Potash Corp., stated, “We are pleased with the favorable Record of Decision from the Bureau of Land Management and are poised to move forward on implementation. We expect that the Ochoa Project will be one of the largest Sulphate of Potash projects in the world. We also expect that it will satisfy the world’s unmet need for Sulphate of Potash. Recently, the premium in the price of Sulphate of Potash relative to regular potash has increased in all world markets. The next big steps involve financing. We anticipate that we will work with the world’s largest resource banks and industry players to finance this project.”
Federal law requires the BLM to prepare an EIS for major federal actions that may have a significant impact on the environment. During the EIS process, which is now complete, the BLM evaluated the potential impacts that could result from the Project, consulted with other federal, state, and local agencies, and considered comments received from the public regarding the Project. Based on more than two years of careful and comprehensive study of water resources, cultural resources, natural resources, air quality and other resources, the BLM issued their decision approving the construction and operation of the Project and granting the requested rights of way for the Project facilities.
The Preferred Alternative identified in the ROD incorporates the same proposed mine area, mining methods, facilities, processing methods and water demands, well field and water pipeline, and loadout facilities as proposed by the Company, but includes a smaller tailings stockpile, additional monitoring and reclamation requirements, formalized coordination with stakeholders, and a dispute resolution process.
As described in the ROD, in addition to ongoing activities designed to mitigate disruption to the environment, the following activities will be ongoing:
- Preference Right Leases – Based on the required mitigation and reclamation measures included in the ROD, the BLM will complete their economic evaluation of the deposit the Company intends to mine before granting preference right leases. The BLM can only grant a preference right lease after the applicant demonstrates the existence of a valuable deposit. This evaluation is made by the BLM subsequent to the EIS process and considers costs associated with the mitigation and reclamation measures included in the ROD. The Company expects this process to conclude during the second quarter of this year.
- Cultural Resources – Under the data recovery and treatment plan that has been approved by both the BLM and New Mexico State agencies, the Company must recover cultural resources data from sites in the tailings storage area in advance of ground-disturbing construction activities at those sites. Project construction shall not begin until the completion of the field work, analysis of the cultural material, and an acceptable final report is received and approved by the BLM, New Mexico State Historic Preservation Division, and the New Mexico Cultural Property Review Committee.
- Required Monitoring – The Company will finalize the Water Resources and Subsidence Monitoring Plans before commencing with operations. Each plan was prepared during the EIS process and describes the methods, locations, and frequency of monitoring activities. Other monitoring plans for birds, dust, noxious weeds, and re-vegetation and reclamation will be implemented during both construction and operations.
Now that the ROD has been issued by the BLM, the April 10, 2014 decision is subject to a standard 30-day appeal period. The full ROD can be found at www.nm.blm.gov/cfo/ochoaMine/docs/Ochoa_ROD_04-10-14.pdf or can be downloaded from the Company’s website.
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Randy Foote, Chief Operating Officer of IC Potash Corp., added, “It has been a pleasure to work with the BLM team in the Carlsbad office. We appreciate the Bureau of Land Management’s professionalism and their balanced approaches on all issues. The Environmental Impact Statement process gave us the opportunity to work closely with the regional community and to establish enduring relationships that we believe will support our next phases of development. We believe that the Ochoa Sulphate of Potash project will provide substantial employment and economic benefits in southeast New Mexico and will also provide tax revenues to the local, state, and federal governments.”
About IC Potash Corp.
ICP has demonstrated a low-cost method to produce Sulphate of Potash (“SOP”) from its 100%-owned Ochoa polyhalite deposit in southeast New Mexico. The Company goal is to become a primary, long-term producer of SOP. The global market for SOP is 5.5 million tons per year, with producers benefiting from substantial price premiums over regular potash, known as Muriate of Potash (“MOP”). SOP is a non-chloride potash fertilizer widely used in the horticultural industry and for high value crops, such as fruits, vegetables, tobacco and potatoes. It is applicable for soils where there are substantial agricultural activity, high soil salinity, and in arid regions. The Ochoa Project has access to excellent local labor resources, low-cost electricity and natural gas, water, rail lines, and the Port of Galveston, Texas. ICP’s land holdings consist of nearly 90,000 acres of federal subsurface potassium prospecting permits and State of New Mexico potassium mining leases. For more information, please visit www.icpotash.com.
Certain information set forth in this news release may contain forward-looking statements that involve substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of ICP to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements that use forward-looking terminology such as “may”, “will”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “continue”, “potential” or the negative thereof or other variations thereof or comparable terminology. Such forward-looking statements include, without limitation, reserve estimates, ICP’s expected position as one of the lowest cost producers of SOP in the world, the timing of receipt and publication of ICP’s environmental permits, the sufficiency of ICP’s cash balances, the timing of production, and other statements that are not historical facts. These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond the control of ICP, including, but not limited to, risks associated with mineral exploration and mining activities, the impact of general economic conditions, industry conditions, dependence upon regulatory approvals, the uncertainty of obtaining additional financing, and risks associated with turning reserves into product. Readers are cautioned that the assumptions used in the preparation of such information, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be imprecise and, as such, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements.
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