New Potash Mine Planned for Lea County

Staff Report
NewsWest 9

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) - A Toronto-based potash company plans its first new mine in Lea County in four decades.

State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons on Thursday finalized an agreement to lease 25,890 acres of state trust land in the southern New Mexico county to Intercontinental Potash Corp.

Tommy Cope, who oversees drilling for the company in Hobbs, says it drilled six exploratory wells several months ago.

He says the company will begin drilling 10 more Wednesday to take samples of polyhalite and determine how large the reserves are.

The company then will prepare a feasibility report, including the process to convert polyhalite into potash.

Cope says it will take about two years to build the mine.

Intercontinental expects to begin operation in 2014, hiring 450 full-time employees.

Potash is used largely in fertilizers.