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Simplot phosphate mine expansion approved in eastern Idaho

People at Smoky Canyon Mine. Caribou-Targhee National Forest.  May 13, 2014
People at Smoky Canyon Mine. Caribou-Targhee National Forest. May 13, 2014(US Forest Service)
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 11:48 AM MDT
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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S land managers have approved a final plan for expanding an open-pit phosphate mine in southeastern Idaho proposed by Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Company.

The U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday approved the project that’s expected to keep about 600 workers employed for another three years at Simplot’s existing Smokey Canyon Mine and Don Plant processing facility in Pocatello.

Phosphate mining is a major business in southeastern Idaho, where phosphate ore is turned into fertilizer needed by farmers to grow food.

But the area also has more than a dozen federal Superfund sites needing cleanup from past phosphate mining.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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