Polyhalite potash mine construction begins 2014?
Currently ICP is conducting geotechnical tests on Ochoa core samples to determine mine design criteria. The company submitted its geotechnical testing program work plan to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and received approval in November to conduct geotechnical testing to provide data on subsurface soil, rock and groundwater conditions in key structure locations where the ICP mining and processing facilities will be constructed.
Environmental Permitting of Ochoa Polyhalite Project Site
"In early 2012, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) commenced the formal public scoping process for the Ochoa Polyhalite Project in connection with ICP's preparation of the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) required by the BLM to make a decision regarding the award of permits for the construction and operation of ICP's proposed Polyhalite Mine and Processing Plant,” Himmel further explained.
In September, following a 30-day aquifer drawdown test conducted by feasibility study team members, ICP announced the successful completion of hydraulic optimization studies using two of the company's permitted groundwater supply wells at the Ochoa Polyhalite Project site. The studies demonstrated the desired pumping capacity of these two wells and confirmed the aquifer's suitability to provide the project with a high-yield, sustainable supply of non-potable, brackish water that will not compete with the surrounding communities' use of fresh water. The final regulatory assessment of the water supply and the proposed pumping plan is being evaluated by the BLM and the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer for permitting purposes, the company explained.
"Based on our current Project development schedule, we remain on pace to submit the draft EIS to the BLM for final review in late 2013. Notwithstanding any unforeseen delays, BLM clearance to proceed with construction of the mine and processing plant is expected to be granted prior to the end of March 2014,” said Himmel.
The CEO was also glad to report, "Last month, ICP successfully performed a batch scale test on five critical processing operations, effectively implementing end-to-end processing of polyhalite from its Ochoa Polyhalite Project, producing 52 percent K2O-grade SOP.”