Paradox Basin Resources is seeking to develop potash resources in an area consisting primarily of private land near the Colorado border and US Highway 191.
The initial area of focus is on approximately 35 square miles of mostly private ground between the Colorado border and Eastland and on both sides of Highway 191.
Dutra told the Chamber members that with the price of potash at $600 per ton, the estimated three billion tons of potash in the area is of significant value.
“We are a year or two from actual production,” said Dutra, who added that details of the project are still being developed.
Paradox Basin Resources is part of a joint venture with Cennen to develop the potash, which is used primarily as a fertilizer.
Dutra explained that the process to mine potash has a very low impact on the surface of the ground. Salt water is injected from deep wells 2,000 meters into the potash formations. The resulting slurry is then pumped to the surface and evaporated to extract the potash.
The potash deposits developed when a shallow sea dried up and left deposits 22 separate times. “The potash from these deposits is very high grade,” continued Dutra. Dutra said that a salt solution is used and not the fracking liquids that is the focus of some controversy in the oil and gas fields.
Dutra added that the location of the evaporation ponds to extract the potash has not been determined. He added that Paradox Basin Resources is interested in possibly using the Intrepid evaporation ponds at the Intrepid potash operation in San Juan County near Moab.
An Auistralian-operation, K2O, is pursuing permits on BLM and state trust land sections in Dry Valley
Cennen is a Canadian company.