J.R. Simplot has secured approvals from the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Forest Service (USFS) for the proposed Dairy Syncline phosphate mine project in Idaho.

In this connection, the agribusiness group has been issued record of decisions from both the BLM Idaho Falls District and U.S. Department of Agriculture Caribou-Targhee National Forest. The approvals are for the parts of the phosphate project located under each of the agency’s jurisdiction.

The Dairy Syncline phosphate mine is proposed to be developed mainly on National Forest System lands within the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, located nearly 22.5km east of Soda Springs.

BLM said that the approvals from the two agencies call for a balance between resource extraction and conservation, while giving continuing opportunities for high-paying jobs for the locals.

The agency said that the two approvals will help in sustaining nearly 250 current mining jobs and support another 187 service jobs for 30 more years.

BLM Idaho State Director John Ruhs said: “This project is a real win-win. It ensures that the Dairy Syncline Mine will continue its strong contribution to the economy of southeast Idaho, that farmers and others will be able to continue to rely on the phosphate-based products that it helps to produce, and that the public will have access to more than 400 acres of additional land to pursue a variety of recreation opportunities.”

J.R. Simplot’s proposal for the Dairy Syncline phosphate mine project

As per its proposal, J.R. Simplot intends to disturb nearly 2,830 acres of surface by creating five open-pits. The company will also develop external overburden disposal areas, a transmission line, access roads, an ore slurry pipeline, a mill and tailings pond, an industrial water well, and other ancillary facilities as part of the Dairy Syncline phosphate mine project.

For maximising recovery of phosphate from the leases, J.R. Simplot proposed to enlarge the existing leases by 722 acres via lease modifications.

Both the BLM and USFS are said to have analysed various alternatives during the planning effort before eventually selecting multiple components to create a plan that will achieve environmental and also economic objectives.