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News Section: Local Government

Mosaic Seeks Greater Latitude with Manatee Phosphate Mine

Published Friday, February 15, 2013 12:06 am
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BRADENTON -- Mosaic mining returned to the Manatee County Planning Commission Thursday with a request for multiple changes in their previously approved Wingate Mine Extension Plan. The phosphate giant wants more land to mine, less berm to protect it, permission to process on-site and off-site ore, and to extend their projected completion date. The request represents a significant change from last June, when the county approved their "Operational Permit." 


Mosaic's next stop: the BOCC. There, they will have to explain how so much could have gone so unforseen in such a short time. Mosaic's request is not just tweaks to their previous approval, but rather major alterations to what the previous board had agreed to.


DUST: The primary concern of citizens opposed to the plan were the years of trucks, noise, congestion and dust. They had been told back in June that it wouldn't take many, and that ultimately, there wasn't that much work there to be done. Now Mosaic is asking to extend their expiration date for the authorized hauling routes by nine years to 2023. 


PROCESSING: The residents had previously been told there would be no "ore processing" because the material would be pumped through pipes and away from the area. Now Mosaic is asking to not only process material from the Wingate Mine, but to bring additional material from the Ft. Green Mine to be approved there. The resolution would also put other mines in the option as well.


WETLANDS: The 0.60 acre wetland that was preserved in the June deal would be mitigated away in the new deal, along with 7.7 acres of preservation land.


Mosaic representatives spoke more about what wouldn't change, than about what would. There weren't any numbers as to how many more trucks there would be (crucial to road cost and maintenance) or to the estimated increase in dust and other pollutants that are generated through the task of "processing." There was also another vague stipulation for "allowing the wavier of specific reclamation items in Ordinance 04-39." 


The planning commission voted unanimously to recommend the application for approval. The request will now go before the BOCC. County Commissioners Carol Whitmore and Vanessa Baugh observed the meeting. Commissioner Whitmore said she had no comment on the issue. Mosaic and the county have not historically put much distance between meetings in the process of getting permitted. The item is likely to come before the BOCC soon. TBT will keep you posted.


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Unlike Mosaic who tends to twist the truth, I would like to make a correction to my post above. SWFWMD charged Mosaic $750 for the permit (I believe the initial 11400.25 WUP permit) in 2006. Then another charge of $750 was paid by Mosaic about 11/2012, for completion of said permit. That permit costs totaled $1500. Not a bad price for pumping 66.6 mgd (million gallons per day), is it? My calculator will not go far enough to calculate 66.6 X 365 days per year...lots of free water....
Posted by Norma Killebrew on February 19, 2013

This is very typical of developers and Mosaic. First, get approval for a smaller project. Then come back--now that the camel has his nose in the tent--and ask for a major rezone (developer) or a major change to an approved plan (Mosaic). All of this was foreseeable. I'm sure Bustle, Chappie, Whitmore and Baugh will fall over themselves to approve it.
Posted by Thomas Walton on February 19, 2013

This puzzles me. Mosaic surface-mines phosphate? That's a dirty, land-destroying process. I've seen many TV ads and several billboards from Mosaic in which they describe themselves as water recyclers, environmental stewards, and all-around good neighbors whose hobbies are creating jobs and paying taxes.

Now you're telling me Mosaic is in the phosphate mining business. How can that be so, since their feel-good ads never mention it?
Posted by Robin Miller on February 17, 2013

Posted by RICHARD MCNULTY on February 17, 2013

Mosaic is presently mining across from our ranch in Hillsborough County. We lost our springs and the water in a farm well. There are 53,000 acres in the Hillsborough DRI 263. Some parts of that land will be dug as deep as 70 feet. Mining Unit 19 ground water level has been affected as well. SWFWMD has been warning Mosaic since 2010 (Apr. 30, 2010 Letter from SWFWMD to Tara Crews, Mosaic)to formulate a plan for bringing back premining water levels. Andrea Hughes, SWFWMD, just allowed Mosaic until 2014 to bring back the "ground water levels." Nothing is ever done to protect the adjacent property owners or protect water sources. Mosaic gets permit modifications after modifications along with variances so that the initial passed permit bears no resemblance to what actually occurs. Think desal plant which cost taxpayers billions and produces at best 25 million gallons each day vs. the 69.9 million ground water used each day in just the one major water permit for Mosaic....and that permit to draw GROUND water cost Mosaic about $700.00 for the permit. Try computing the cost of a gallon of city produced water with that of the 69.9 mgd, million gallons fresh ground water used quite free (no $ on their per gallon use). Taxpayers are suckers for the BOCC and Mosaic.
Posted by Norma Killebrew on February 15, 2013

Surprise, surprise, surprise!
Posted by Kathy Morrison on February 15, 2013

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