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Mosaic files permit for more mining

Published By: Bradenton.com

MANATEE - The Mosaic Co. is seeking to extend its mining rights in Manatee County.

The phosphate mining company has filed a permit application with state agencies to add 765 acres to its Wingate Mine off State Road 64 East in Duette.

Mosaic plans to start mining 597 acres of that 765-acre parcel in several years as company officials project the original 3,028-acre mining tract will be mined out in a few years.

“This is advance planning for when Wingate mines out,” said Russell Schweiss, spokesman for Mosaic Co. “We have additional acreage we can continue to be able to mine to maintain a consistent volume of rock.”

Mosaic has filed its permit application with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday and next week it plans to file its permit application with Manatee County.

Glenn Compton, chair of the local environmentalist group Manasota-88, says he’s reviewed the permit application and has concerns about how extending mining rights might impact local water quality.

“My concern with the expansion is they’re using an existing clay setting in the headwaters of the Myakka River,” Compton said. “The permit says there’s no Outstanding Florida Water issue on the Wingate portion and I disagree with that.”

Outstanding Florida Water is a designation DEP assigns to water it deems worthy of special protection to protect water quality.

Compton says he plans to file the concerns Manasota-88 has with the permit application to the DEP within the next week.

Wingate Mine, which was originally permitted in 1975, produces about 1.1 million tons of phosphate rock a year. The original mining tract will generate an estimated $1.5 million in severance tax and an estimated $225,000 net gain in property tax for Manatee County over the life of the project, according to Mosaic.

Schweiss said gaining clearance to permit the additional acreage won’t create new jobs but will maintain work for the 129 employees who work at Wingate Mine.

“We have 129 employees at that mine and without securing new rock sources, the mine would not exist,” Schweiss said.

Mosaic had previously laid off workers last year at a separate mine site but Schweiss said the Wingate mine operations don’t affect those employees.

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