North Dakota sits on huge fertilizer deposit
By MARVIN BAKER
When most of us think about potash, we imagine an agricultural fertilizer mined in Canada. After all, Saskatchewan is where most of the world’s supply is found today.
That could change.
A Denver company called Dakota Salts has identified a huge deposit of potash under the Williston Basin that includes several counties in North Dakota, as well as parts of Montana.
In fact, the Williston Basin deposit is so large, if mined, it could yield 33 percent of the world’s supply, according to the Dakota Salts Web site.
Dakota Salts representatives didn’t return phone calls or emails seeking comment, but North Dakota state geologist Ed Murphy did confirm the Dakota Salts claim with one caveat.
Murphy said most of the potash in North Dakota is much deeper than what is found in the Esterhazy, Sask., area and thus would be more expensive to mine.
However, Murphy added he thinks there is actually more than what Dakota Salts is stating on its Web site and suggested that perhaps the North Dakota part of the Williston Basin could contain up to 50 billion, that’s billion tons of potash.
“There certainly is a lot of potash in the Williston Basin of North Dakota,” Murphy said. “Much of it is too deep at this point to economically mine including the majority of the deposits in Mountrail County.”
That is what most people said about the Bakken oil formation as well. Oil industry and government leaders knew there was oil in the Bakken years ago, but it was too deep to drill. Now, because of technology, the Bakken area is the hottest oil activity in the United States.