Michigan Potash and Salt Co. in Evart Township, and Barton Malow Co., a Southfield-based general contractor, have partnered to build a $750-million potash and salt facility north of Big Rapids.
“This facility will positively impact agriculture in the United States for many years to come,” says Chuck Binkowski, COO for the Barton Malow. He says the project life is capable of spanning over 150 years.
The mineral is an all-natural potassium fertilizer that farmers use to reduce water needs and improve farming sustainability and crop yield. It is the only strategic and critical mineral responsible for national food security and agricultural welfare. The U.S. imports more than 95 percent of its potash needs, mostly from Russia, Belarus, and Canada.
The two companies have worked together over the last four years to advance the engineering, procurement, and construction schedule of the facility. Evart Township is home to the world’s highest-grade potash ore.
The investment will create about 260 construction jobs over a three-year period and about 150 full-time skilled trade jobs upon commissioning the facility. It will reinvest sustaining capital of more than $60 million each year.
The potash manufacturing process uses a purifying water recycling system that is near 90-percent water-recycle efficient. Potash ore is accessed in Michigan by circulating water and brine over 1.5 miles underground. It uses geothermal energy and combined heat and power technology, enabling an efficient, low-cost manufacturing process. Food-grade saleable salt is a co-product of the manufacturing process.
The Michigan Potash and Salt Co. is sitting on a purported $65-billion tier-1 potash reserve. It was founded in 2011.