Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Georgetown Industrial Site

History

The former Central Farmers facility is located 7 miles to the east of Georgetown, Idaho, within Georgetown Canyon in Bear Lake County. 

From April 1906 to October 1907, 16 association placer mining claims were located on the phosphate deposits of Georgetown Canyon. The Utah Fertilizer & Chemical Manufacturing Company (UF&CMC) was incorporated January 29, 1908, specifically to purchase the mining claims at Georgetown Canyon and other places and develop mines on the phosphate property (Campbell 1923). The UF&CMC applied for and received patents for all 16 placer mining claims in 1912, 1915, and 1916.

In 1928, the UF&CMC sold all its interests in the 16 patented placer mining claims of Georgetown Canyon to the Stockholders Syndicate of Los Angeles, California (Campbell 1928). It is noteworthy that the last president of record of the Utah company was F.W. Braun of Los Angeles. At the time of sale and transfer of title of the 16 patented claims, F.W. Braun was listed as the president of the Stockholders Syndicate.

The I6 patented placer mining claims of Stockholders Syndicate were sold to Central Farmers Fertilizer Company (CFFC) in 1955 (Hansen 1964). The CFFC was a large farm cooperative made up of smaller farm co-ops throughout the south, midwest, and northwest United States and southern Canada (Emigh 1959). Very soon after acquisition of the property, the CFFC announced that plans were being made to begin a $7.5 million project to construct a processing plant and open a mine in Georgetown Canyon. In fact, construction started on a processing plant with an electric furnace and kiln in the Canyon in 1957 (Cressman 1964) and open pit mining was first reported in June 1958. The railroad spur that was first conceived in 1916 was finally constructed up the Canyon to the site of the new processing facility in 1957. The facility consisted of a beneficiation plant, 35,000 kw electric furnace, phosphoric acid plant, and fertilizer processing plant and was completed in May 1959 (Service 1966). By late 1959, all underground mining had been abandoned and by 1960, the new open pit was approximately 3,000 feet long, 100 feet wide, and 100 feet deep (Fletcher, 1960).

In 1964, production stopped from the mine. In July 1964, the El Paso Natural Gas Products Company bought the Georgetown Canyon phosphate properties from the CFFC (Hansen 1965) and, in October, closed the plant facility and moved parts of it to Conda where the company was building a new phosphate processing plant (Service 1967).

In 1992, Nu-West Industries, Inc., bought out the Western Co-operative Fertilizer, Ltd., and formed a wholly owned subsidiary named Nu-West Mining, Inc., to replace the co-op in Conda Partnership. In 1995, the Conda Partnership was dissolved and all of the mine properties were assigned to Nu-West Mining, Inc. In October 1995, Nu-West Industries was acquired by Agrium, Inc., a Canadian firm based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Source: A History of Phosphate Mining in Southeastern Idaho, William H. Lee 2000.