About Mining Operations

Monsanto has a commitment to, and a significant presence in, southeast Idaho. We currently provide jobs to more than 700 people, contribute financially to the local economy, and partner with local organizations and school groups to educate today’s youth. We’re more than just a company in southeast Idaho. We’re an integral part of the community.

Monsanto’s mining and processing operation in southeast Idaho

Monsanto’s wholly owned subsidiary, P4 Production LLC, owns phosphate mining and processing facilities in southeastern Idaho. These operations, based in Soda Springs, remove phosphate ore from the ground and refine this material into elemental phosphorus. Phosphorus is used to make Roundup® brand herbicides and is also used in other industries to make fire retardants, leavening agents, aviation fluids, carbonated beverages and a host of other products.

Monsanto is committed to mining in an environmentally responsible and sensitive way.  Soda Springs has and will continue to go above and beyond legal requirements for responsible mining. We want to minimize environmental impacts, and we want to ensure the land is responsibly restored after mining has ceased. This includes planting flowers, grasses and shrubs, as well as constructing habitats to encourage wildlife to return to the land.

History of Soda Springs Site

Soda Springs' furnace buildings. The large metal pots in the foreground weren't always flower planters, having served previously to carry loads of molten rock and metal out of the furnaces.

The ore-processing plant in Soda Springs was constructed by the Idaho-based Morrison-Knudsen Company in 1950. The plant produced its first pound of phosphorus in December of 1952.

Phosphorus is refined from phosphate ore in the plant’s three furnaces heated by a powerful electric current. In 1987, the Soda Springs phosphorus facility set a new worldwide phosphorus industry standard for air pollution control with construction of a Hydrosonic® air scrubbing system on the plant’s phosphate kiln. In 2006, Monsanto improved that system with the installation of SO2 (sulfur dioxide) controls.

The phosphate ore processed through the plant comes from nearby phosphate deposits laid down in Permian-era oceans 250 million years ago. The ore is mined and transported 10-20 miles to the plant for processing. The first mine opened in 1952, and over the years three additional mines have been operated, all of which have provided phosphorous for Roundup brand herbicides and numerous other products.

Monsanto’s Economic Contributions to Southeast Idaho

Besides producing phosphorus, the Soda Springs plant is an active corporate citizen in southeast Idaho.  Our Soda Springs operations are the largest of Caribou County’s phosphate mining and manufacturing businesses. We employ 770 people, 375 of whom work directly for P4 Production LLC, Monsanto’s wholly owned subsidiary, and 395 of whom work for contractors doing mining, plant maintenance, security and other jobs directly associated with the business.  Of these employees, 94% live in four southeast Idaho counties, broken out as follows:

  • Caribou County: 60%
  • Bear Lake County: 17%
  • Bannock County: 14%
  • Franklin County: 3%

We do more than just employ local residents. Providing well-paying jobs for them and contributing financially to the towns, counties and states where we work is something we take pride in.

The following data is taken, in part, from testimony before the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, 2010