IC Potash Corp. ("ICP" or the "Company") today announced that in support of its 100%-owned Polyhalite Ochoa Project in southeastern New Mexico, the Company has secured an additional 1,914 acres of land in Lea County from the New Mexico State Land Office, increasing its total State lease and federal permit holdings in the region to approximately 101,500 acres spanning 158.6 square miles.
Commenting on the lease deal, New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Ray Powell stated, "This new agreement brings ICP's State lease holdings to nearly 28,000 acres and will generate for the State Land Office up to $8 million or more, depending on product pricing, in leasing fees and royalties each year once ICP is in production at its planned Sulphate of Potash mine and processing facility. We are very pleased to count ICP among our valued business partners and look forward to putting these fees to work to benefit education in New Mexico and, in turn, help keep our taxpayer bills low."
Over 13 million acres of land granted to New Mexico in 1898 and 1910 are held in trust for the State's public schools and universities, as well as special schools and hospitals that serve children with physical, visual and auditory disabilities. In fiscal year 2012, the trust lands and permanent funds, administered by Commissioner Powell, produced a record amount of revenue, totaling more than $650 million in income for the beneficiaries.
ICP's Ochoa Project is located in the Pecos Valley section of the southern Great Plains physiographic province, approximately 60 miles east of Carlsbad, New Mexico, and less than 20 miles west of the Texas-New Mexico state line. The overall project development plan provides for completion of the Feasibility Study by the end of August 2013, final environmental permitting by the end of March 2014 and the commencement of construction of the mine and processing facility shortly thereafter. With over 100 full time employees and consultants currently engaged in the Project, it is expected that up to 1,000 new construction jobs, at peak construction activity, will be created; and approximately 400 additional new permanent employees will be hired to support commercial operations once construction is completed.
Sidney Himmel, President and CEO of IC Potash, added, "Based on findings of our original drilling program, the additional land granted by the State has been determined to be strategically important for our Ochoa Project, as it holds prospective mineralization that could expand Ochoa's already significant resource base of Polyhalite. In addition, this new lease also covers land located approximately 1,500 feet from the planned mine shaft and ramp bottom (the location of which was designated by the Bureau of Land Management after the initial State leases were granted), making it available for mining in the early production phase of the near century-long mine life. We greatly appreciate the enthusiasm for our project and the tremendous support we continue to receive from the great State of New Mexico."