This report provides a description of data and processes used to produce a spatial database that delineates mining-related features in areas of historic and active phosphate mining in the core of the southeastern Idaho phosphate resource area. The data have varying degrees of accuracy and attribution detail. Classification of areas by type of mining-related activity at active mines is generally detailed; however, the spatial coverage does not differentiate mining-related surface disturbance features at many of the closed or inactive mines.
Nineteen phosphate mine sites are included in the study. A total of 5,728 hc (14,154 ac), or more than 57 km2 (22 mi2), of phosphate mining-related surface disturbance are documented in the spatial coverage of the core of the southeast Idaho phosphate resource area. The study includes 4 active phosphate mines—Dry Valley, Enoch Valley, Rasmussen Ridge, and Smoky Canyon—and 15 historic phosphate mines—Ballard, Champ, Conda, Diamond Gulch, Gay, Georgetown Canyon, Henry, Home Canyon, Lanes Creek, Maybe Canyon, Mountain Fuel, Trail Canyon, Rattlesnake Canyon, Waterloo, and Wooley Valley. Spatial data on the inactive historic mines is relatively up-to-date; however, spatially described areas for active mines are based on digital maps prepared in early 1999. The inactive Gay mine has the largest total area of disturbance: 1,917 hc (4,736 ac) or about 19 km2 (7.4 mi2). It encompasses over three times the disturbance area of the next largest mine, the Conda mine with 607 hc (1,504 ac), and it is nearly four times the area of the Smoky Canyon mine, the largest of the active mines with 497 hc (1,228 ac).
The wide range of phosphate mining-related surface disturbance features (approximately 80) were reduced to 13 types or features used in this study—adit and pit, backfilled mine pit, facilities, mine pit, ore stockpile, railroad, road, sediment catchment, tailings or tailings pond, topsoil stockpile, water reservoir, and disturbed land (undifferentiated). In summary, the spatial coverage includes polygons totaling 1,114 hc (2,753 ac) of mine pits, 272 hc (671 ac) of backfilled mine pits, 1,570 hc (3,880 ac) of waste dumps, 26 hc (64 ac) of ore stockpiles, and 44 hc (110 ac) of tailings or tailings ponds. Areas of undifferentiated phosphate mining-related land disturbances, called “disturbed land,” total 2,176 (5,377 ac) or nearly 21.8 km2 (8.4 mi2). No determination has been made as to status of reclamation on these lands. Subsequent site-specific studies to delineate distinct mine features will allow modification of this preliminary spatial database.