The Ochoa project is located in southeast New Mexico, a U.S. industrial region with a long history of potash production from mines currently owned by two large producers, The Mosaic Company and Intrepid Potash. The region has the largest known concentration of potash reserves in the U.S., and accounts for more than 77% of product produced in the country. Because of this, the region has well-established expertise and infrastructure related to construction, operations and processing of potash.
The United States potash industry developed following World War I, fueled by a German embargo that drove prices above US$450 per tonne. Because of this, the U.S. government mandated the Bureau of Land Management to identify a domestic source of potash to ensure a security of supply. As a result of this initiative, potash deposits were discovered in southeast New Mexico in 1925, and the first commercial potash shipped in 1931. By 1934, eleven companies were exploring for potash in the region.
Potash production in New Mexico has occurred to the present day within a 425 square mile area in Eddy and Lea Counties that was dedicated as the Potash Area by the Secretary of the Interior in 1934. This area is now called the Known Potash Leasing Area (KPLA), and The Mosaic Company and Intrepid Potash both have underground mines in this location. These room-and-pillar mines are dry and orderly, in correspondence with the expansive, flat and continuous ore bed.
The Ochoa project is ideally located in direct proximity to the wealth of infrastructure and expertise that has been cultivated in the region through more than eight decades of potash production.