Great Salt Lake Minerals Expansion
The company is proposing a massive expansion of its operations. Although six different companies extract minerals from the Great Salt Lake, Great Salt Lake Minerals (GSLM) is the largest, extracting potassium sulfate for use in agricultural fertilizers.
To extract potassium sulfate from the Lake, GSLM concentrates the salts in evaporating ponds, separated from the main lake by dikes. GSLM’s proposal would increase its footprint by 91,000 acres—a 194% increase over current operations. If allowed, GSLM’s evaporating ponds would cover about 13% of the Lake’s total surface area. That’s bigger than the land area covered by Salt Lake City, Ogden and Provo, combined.
353,000 acre feet of water rights taken out of the Lake
After creating many miles of new dikes, GSLM would pump water from the Lake into its ponds, so evaporation can concentrate the minerals in the ponds’ water. The company’s proposed new water rights are about as much water as flows into the Lake every year from the Jordan River. Put another way, that’s more water than the total storage capacity of Deer Creek Reservoir and Pineview Reservoir, combined.
Reduced lake levels and increased dry lake bedThe Governor’s office estimates the GSLM proposal could reduce the lake level by 2.5 feet. Because the lake is quite shallow, this would expose 78 square miles of new dry lake bed.