United States

Carlsbad HB Mine

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Mine TypeIn-Situ
  • Potash
Mining Method
  • Solution mining
  • Room-and-pillar
Production Start... Lock
Mine Life2046
ShapshotThe Intrepid Potash–New Mexico property (IPMN) includes two operating mines, the East Underground and HB Solution Mines, one idled mine, the West Mine and the North Mine which was shut down in the early 1980’s. The life of the resources and reserves at IPNM exceeds 25 years.

Potash is produced at three enterprises for the extraction of solar evaporation solution. One of them is the HB slurry mine in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Northern Compaction Plant compacts and pellets product from the HB mine.


Intrepid Potash, Inc. 100 % Indirect

Deposit type

  • Evaporite


Deposit Type The geology of the potash-bearing beds of the Carlsbad area has been well documented. Overall, the potash-bearing beds may be described as bedded sedimentary rocks, deposited across the Delaware Basin and Northwest Shelf backreef from the Capitan Reef. The depositional sequences that developed in the Salado Formation consist of repetitive cycles that can be recognized by changes inmineralogy, sedimentary textures, and structures. Two types of cycles are differentiated Type I and Type II. A complete Type I cycle rangesin thickness from 3 ft to 33 ft and consists of (in ascending order): • A basal, mixed siliciclastic and carbonate mudstone • Laminated to massive anhydrite-polyhalite • Halite • Halite with mud (argillaceous halite) Type II is a thinner, less complete sequence and consists of halite that grades upward into argillaceous halite (Lowenstein 1988).The anhydrite-polyhalite beds are laterally continuous over large distances and are used as marker beds for correlation. Potash beds arenot included in these sequences because potash is secondary and formed later than the basic depositional sequence. The HB Mine, which was formerly mined on the 1 and 3 ore zones (Barker and Austin 1999),has been flooded and is currently being solution mined with brines to obtain potash from the remaining pillars. Mineralization In the Carlsbad Area, the potassium minerals, in order of decreasing abundance, are polyhalite, sylvite, carnallite, langbeinite,kainite, and leonite. Other potassium minerals occur only in minor amounts in association with the principal potassium minerals listedpreviously. The minerals can be described as follows (Schaller and Henderson 1932): • Polyhalite is the most abundant potassium mineral in the Carlsbad Area. Beds of nearly pure polyhalite have thicknesses up to 8 ftand beds a foot or more thick are numerous. • Sylvite often has a dark red or reddish-brown color due to hematite inclusions. Sylvite without the inclusions is a milky white color.Sylvite is typically mixed with halite and where clay is present in the mixture, it is in bands distinct from the sylvite. • Carnallite is massive and compact showing no crystal faces. Crystals where seen are typically less than 1 millimeter (mm) indiameter. It occurs in small blebs with halite and sylvite. • Langbeinite is found in distinct tetrahedral crystals that reach sizes up to ¾ inch. It is typically associated with halite and sylvite andoften some kieserite. It has a distinct pink color in most samples and has a higher compressive strength than sylvite. • Kainite is massive with poorly developed fibrous fracture surfaces and has a characteristic honey-yellow color. It is found in narrowbands between sylvite and langbeinite and is apparently a result of a reaction between the two. • Leonite is typically found in small quantities in mixtures of other minerals, notably kainite and sylvite. Its color ranges fromcolorless to pale yellow. It is also found with polyhalite and anhydrite, but the relationship is unclear. It has also been found as asecondary replacement for kieserite.



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills

Milling equipment has not been reported.



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Potash k tons 000000000000150172124
All production numbers are expressed as salt.

Operational metrics

Annual production capacity 000000000000180 k tons of potash salt180 k tons of potash salt
Ore tonnes mined 000000000000679 k tons728 k tons

Production Costs

Commodity production costs have not been reported.

Heavy Mobile Equipment

Fleet data has not been reported.


Mine Management

Source Source
Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Mar 15, 2023
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Mar 15, 2023


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