Mosaic: Digging The Desert

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The barren landscape of southeast New Mexico belies the mineral treasure sitting hundreds of feet underground — the remains of an ancient inland sea that has supplied agriculture with potassium for seven decades and counting.

• Photos: Mosaic’s Carlsbad, NM, mine

Carlsbad Facility Facts

■ The operation runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
■ Some 7.5 million tons of ore are mined each year.
■ K-Mag sits in one of three mineralization zones that lie roughly 1,000 feet deep.
■ Some 40 miles of underground conveyor belts move the minerals to shafts that bring the product to the surface.
■ There are 550 employees on site, and 275 work in the underground mining operation.
■ Minerals are mined using the “room and pillar” method. “Pillars” of mineral rock support individual “rooms” that are carved out by the machines.
■ Despite the relatively rich deposits that exist in the mine, the majority of what is mined is salt and clay.
■ About 400,000 tons of K-Mag are produced a year. The current capital plan would increase this to 600,000 tons in the near future.
■ The facility can load out about 4,000 tons of K-Mag per day.

Now in its 70th year of continuous operation, the Carlsbad mine operated by The Mosaic Co. is the source for K-Mag, one of Mosaic’s key premium fertilizer offerings. “K-Mag is a beneficial fertilizer because it is a three-in-one combination of potassium, magnesium, and sulfur, all present in the water-soluble sulfate form, so it benefits the crop during the season in which it is applied,” says Dr. Dan Froehlich, director of agronomy for Mosaic.

“The Mosaic Co. is proud of the 70-year heritage K-Mag has in helping the world produce the food it needs,” says Barb Kula, vice president of marketing for Mosaic. “As pressure on the world’s farmers to grow more grain and oilseeds increases, crop nutrients will continue to be an essential part of the solution. Today, crop nutrient use contributes 40% to 60 % of the world’s crop yield. Mosaic is committed to playing an ever-expanding role in addressing the world’s growing food needs, and we expect K-Mag to contribute to that effort for at least the coming century.”

As part of the anniversary celebration, Mosiac invited customers and media on a tour of the facility to get a better understanding of the mining process.

View photos of Mosaic’s Carlsbad, NM, mine:

 

 

Schrimpf is the Group Editor for the CropLife Media Group at Meister Media Worldwide, with full editorial responsibility for CropLife, CropLife IRON, Cotton Grower and PrecisionAg Special Reports.

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