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Michigan Seeks to Match Canada’s Potash Deposits

Denver-based Michigan Potash Co. LLC is proposing to build a $700 million potash extraction and processing plant to tap into a deep underground potash deposit near Hersey, a village in Osceola County in the US state of Michigan. “Our company is actually endeavoring to try to reintroduce the potash industry into Western Michigan and ultimately providing our farmers with a second and local choice, which they currently don’t have,” Michigan Potash President Ted Pagano said.

Hersey is home to the only potash mine in Michigan but since 1989 it has produced only a small amount of potash. In 2013, the mine stopped producing potash completely and its workers were laid off. The closure essentially put an end to the expectations about developing a $65-billion potash industry in Michigan, which is the value that the US Geological Survey assigns to the deposit.

The USGS states that it can be derived from the amount of potassium contained in potash samples that the deposit has a richer grade of potash that the one in Canada and Russia. It is moreover located very deep, at roughly 7,600 feet below ground, which means that it would have to be mined using the solution method which injects steam into wells to dissolve potash before it is pumped to the surface in a brine.

According to the company’s President Ted Pagano, the mine would give local farmers access to a new potash source and reduce their dependence on Canadian imports. “Our company is actually endeavoring to try to reintroduce the potash industry into Western Michigan and ultimately providing our farmers with a second and local choice, which they currently don’t have. Michigan is uniquely positioned because its location provides a sustainable advantage that cannot be displaced.”

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