Mar 132013

By Nick Worth
The employment outlook for Navajo County is looking better for the long term, according to Ken Bond, director of Corporate Development for Passport Potash.
Based on the most recent figures from ERCOSPLAN, the German mine engineering company used by Passport Potash, the combined mineral resources from the Passport and Hopi lands which were surveyed includes measured and indicated mineral resources of 397.94 million tonnes. This figure translates to 58.35 million tonnes of potash. A tonne is equal to 2,204.62 pounds.
“We reviewed the economics from our engineering company and the most favorable scenario is to go with a larger mine,” Bond said. “We’re looking to increase the mine size to 2.5 million tonnes at full production.”
Bond said originally the mine was estimated for one million tonnes of production with 500 to 600 full-time employees. Later the production figure was revised to two million tonnes of production.
The latest increase to 2.5 million tonnes of production capacity will bring the employee count up to 1,800 employees at full production, Bond said.
“That is production employees only,” Bond said. He added that figure does not include construction jobs.
“We were pretty excited to hear that,” Bond said of the plans to increase the mine production tonnage. “We thought the people in the area would want to hear that.”
Bond said the company’s Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) is due out this week.