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Extracting Minerals from the Great Salt Lake

Nutritional minerals have been sourced from the Great Salt Lake (GSL) and provided to domestic and international markets since 1969. Endorheic properties of the lake leading to high mineral concentrations, in conjunction with the vastness of the lake, set the GSL apart as the most logical location for nutritional mineral extraction in the world. In spite of the vast abundance of mineral-based resources, only three companies possess water rights with accompanying food-grade mineral extraction claims1; Mineral Resources International, Inc. (MRI), Trace Minerals Research, LLC (TMR), and Salt Lake Minerals Co., LLC (SLM). Significant barriers to entry exist regarding capital requirements, operational liabilities and the acquisition of adequate production technologies. These barriers prevent market entry for actors other than those already established within this market. In addition to external barriers preventing market entry, this market is also characterized by vastly dissimilar business models amongst the sourcing entities. Only MRI implements a traditional solar-evaporation technology when transforming raw GSL water into a concentrated mineral form. The other organizations boast a technology superior to solar-evaporation. Inter-business production method analysis reveals enormous quantitative distinctions regarding concentrated mineral product. In spite of this quantitative distinction, all three entities are successful in marketing product. In-depth analysis suggests that TMR and SLM purchase non-food-grade product from a GSL source and market the product as food-grade in an effort to compete against the industry pioneer MRI. Consumers lack the ability to differentiate between food-grade and nonfood-grade product. Additionally, no mechanism is in place requiring that GSL harvesters selling product marketed as food-grade – actually produce to a level suitable for human consumption.

The rest of the article used to be available on Dr Roberts' website, however, that seems to be down at the moment, we will update this when we have more info

About Wade C. Roberts, Ph.D.:

Dr. Robert’s received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. In addition to academic training in fields of development, gender, labor, and public economics - he has extensive research experience in Southeast Asia and is fluent in the Cambodian tongue. His is the author of the book titled “The Economics of Ordnance Tampering in Cambodia” - set to be in print by December 2010 with Cambria Press. Dr. Roberts' has conducted professional research for law firms, governments, non-profits, and various international organizations. Dr. Roberts teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate level at the University of Utah, Westminster College, and Weber State University.

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