News Section: Local Government
Mosaic Seeks Greater Latitude with Manatee Phosphate Mine
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.