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Southern Idaho Phosphate Mining

The unique geologic history of southern Idaho makes it one of the largest sources of phosphate ore in the United States, and phosphate mining has been an important industry in the area since the early 20th century. Phosphate ore is accessed and mined in the region through the creation of open pits. When excavating the ore, material overlying the phosphate-rich beds is removed. This material, called overburden, can be elevated in selenium and other potentially hazardous metals. When exposed to air and weathering, these metals can be released into the environment.

Information about DEQ-led phosphate mining site investigations, cleanup actions, and site history is found at History of Phosphate Mining in Southeastern Idaho.

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Phosphate mining has resulted in some negative ecological consequences due to naturally occurring elements such as selenium, which is found in the overburden removed during mining. In some cases, once these materials are released to the environment, they can pose risks to public health, livestock, and wildlife as they accumulate in soils and vegetation or get flushed into streams and ground water. Investigations to identify source areas, contaminated media, and cleanup plans at historical mine sites are ongoing with oversight from DEQ, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

DEQ is the lead agency at several sites in the Southern Idaho Phosphate Resource Area and is responsible for directing site investigations, monitoring efforts, and cleanup activities with other supporting agencies. For additional information, contact the Pocatello Regional Office.

Mine Location/NameOwner
Conda, Woodall Mountain Mine SiteJ.R. Simplot
Georgetown Canyon Industrial Closure SiteNutrien/Nu-West
Georgetown Canyon Mine SiteNutrien/Nu-West
South Central Rasmussen Ridge AreaNutrien/Nu-West
South Rasmussen MineBayer/P4
North Dry Valley MineFMC

Most sites in the Southern Idaho Phosphate Resource Area are on federal land and cleanup activities are managed by the US Environmental Protection Agency, US Forest Service, or US Bureau of Land Management. DEQ acts as a support agency at these sites and ensures that Idaho’s resources are protected and state requirements are met.

Mine Location/NameAgency Lead
Bayer/P4 (Monsanto) – Henry MineEPA
Bayer/P4 (Monsanto) – Ballard MineEPA
Bayer/P4 (Monsanto) – Enoch Valley MineEPA
Nutrien/Nu-West (Agrium) – Champ MineForest Service
Nutrien/Nu-West (Agrium) – Mountain Fuel MineForest Service
Nutrien/Nu-West (Agrium) – North Maybe Canyon MineForest Service
Nutrien/Nu-West (Agrium) – South Maybe MineForest Service
J.R. Simplot – Smoky Canyon MineForest Service
Solvay Mine (Rhone Palank) – Wooley Valley MineForest Service

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Pocatello Regional Office
444 Hospital Way #300
Pocatello, ID 83201
(208) 236-6160
(888) 655-6160

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