The announcement that Intrepid Potash will lay off 300 is a reminder that when it comes to getting stuff out of the ground, in New Mexico, it’s not all about oil and gas.
We don’t have numbers for 2015 yet, but between 2013 and 2014, mining employment in the Land of Enchantment dropped from 7,112 to 6,145. Potash mining accounted for 17.5 percent of all jobs in the sector. Only copper and coal accounted for a greater share of employment.
Potash, “mined from accent ocean deposits over 300 million years old,” is used as “an agricultural fertilizer (plant nutrient) because it is a source of soluble potassium, which is one of the three primary plant nutrients required for plant growth and maturation.” New Mexico is the nation’s top producer.
Commodities are a boom-and-bust industry, and government has no place propping up miners going through a rough patch of low prices. That’s called the marketplace, and it should be left alone. But the Obama administration’s across-the-board assault on industrial production, founded on junk science, can’t be making things easier for miners of potash or any other substance. Too bad most members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation won’t stand up to the constant regulatory assaults on industries vital to their state.