Western Slope home to one of world's largest baking soda mines

Published: Feb. 14, 2018 at 4:22 PM MST
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The Western Slope is known for its oil and gas industries. But it also sits on a huge formation of baking soda.

The general manager of Natural Soda, which mines the baking soda. said the technical term is sodium bicarbonate.

On Wednesday General Manager Kirk Daehling presented at the energy briefing with the Grand Junction Chamber. He said the company uses a technique called solution mining, which pumps warm water into the earth and pushes the baking soda to the surface. The mine wouldn't be possible without the area's natural gas deposits.

"The nahcolite deposit and the oil and gas deposits are somewhat interbedded. If you look at the geology, the nahcolite is deposited above the oil and gas, but there's a lot of oil and gas below us, so those two industries really have to exist in harmony," said Daehling.

Daehling said they're one of the world's largest producers of baking soda. He said they employ 75 people and extract 200,000 tons of baking soda each year.