Compass Minerals to Put $12 Million into GSL Minerals Plant

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Compass Minerals International has announced it will put $12 million in its Great Salt Lake Minerals Corp. plant, nearly doubling its production capacity.

The Overland Park, Kan.-based Compass Minerals extracts 400,000 tons of magnesium chloride a year from evaporation ponds along the shores of Great Salt Lake.

The $12 million is to expand the ponds, upgrade a production facility and add rail infrastructure at GSL Minerals, which brought in $20 million in revenue from magnesium chloride last year.

"The expansion of the magnesium chloride plant will allow us to take advantage of what we believe are increasingly favorable market conditions in the industry," Michael E. Ducey, president and CEO of Compass Minerals, said in a news release Wednesday.

Liquid magnesium chloride is used for highway deicing and dust control. Crystallized magnesium chloride is used as a consumer deicer and in selected industrial applications.

GSL Minerals also extracts 1.5 million tons of salt and 450,000 tons of sulfate of potash annually from its 40,000 acres of evaporation ponds.

GSL Minerals employs about 250 workers. Compass Minerals spokeswoman Peggy Landon said she could not say how many new jobs the expansion will create.

The Weber County Redevelopment Agency, made up of county commissioners, created an economic development area for GSL Minerals last month, saying it was intended to create new jobs.

Any new property tax revenue generated by expansion within the development area will initially go back to GSL.

County Commissioner Craig Dearden said the tax deal will expire in three to five years.

"I think the expansion is great," Dearden said. "It's a company that has good-paying jobs and is an asset to Weber County, and when they finish, certainly it will be a benefit tax-wise for the county.

Compass Minerals International share price closed up 0.2 percent at $24.93 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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