Podcasts & RSS Feeds
Most Active Stories
- Don't like the water shut-offs in Detroit? Now you can pay someone's overdue water bill
- Approaching construction on the highway? Experts say the "zipper merge" can help
- These three female candidates could be some of the most interesting leaders in Michigan
- Those who want to outlaw publications over sexually explicit ads should study Constitution first
- This ballot proposal is critical to Michigan's economy, but most people won't bother to vote on it
Environment & Science
Thu September 12, 2013
WMU researchers discover potentially lucrative mineral deposit
Researchers at Western Michigan University have discovered a mineral deposit in northern Michigan they say could lead to a multi-billion dollar industry.
A company interested in mining for potassium chloride – also called potash -- approached researchers at Western’s Geological Repository for Research and Education, where they keep thousands of samples of the earth’s core from around the state.
William Harrison directs the repository.
“We collected some samples and sent them off for testing and it turned out that that rock was the highest quality potash anywhere known in the world. It was just a remarkable thing,” he says.
Harrison says pure potassium chloride is about 63% potassium.
“We have found a few samples in our testing that have been as high as 60%. So that means that the rock is almost pure potassium chloride. And most of the potassium that’s mined around the world is anywhere from 10 to 30%,” says Harrison.
Potash is one of three ingredients that make almost every kind of fertilizer.
There are no immediate mining plans, but there is a company that’s looking for investors to back the project.