Friday, November 12, 2010

GSL Minerals proposes alternative expansion plan

A company that extracts potassium sulfate and other minerals from the waters of the Great Salt Lake said it is willing to scale back the pace of its expansion plans, in part to appease conservationists. But environmental groups, worried about the effect the company’s growth may have on the lake, said the new proposal does little to address their fears.

Great Salt Lake Minerals Corp., which in 2007 applied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to add 91,000 acres of solar ponds to its existing 45,000-acre footprint, said Thursday it proposed an alternative plan to develop, in increments, the new ponds, rather than all at once. GSL Minerals’ proposed a 91,000-acre expansion of its solar evaporation ponds is slated to be the third of a three-phase undertaking to address the growing agricultural demand for “sulfate of potassium” or SOP. It is a nonchemically-enhanced fertilizer widely used to improve crop yields. The first phase, which saw the company invest $40 million in its plant to increase its annual potassium sulfate production by 100,000 tons, was launched in 2008 and is expected to be completed by year’s end. Salt Lake Tribune