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Central Florida Watersheds

When the phosphate industry wanted to move operations from Polk County into Hardee County, Florida, an economist from the University of Miami completed a study showing no net gain in the local economy from phosphate mining in Hardee County Florida. Economist reports indicate a net loss to the local economy based on strip mining instead of using the land for fresh water, agriculture, cattle, and tourism. The net loss is estimated to be over eight million dollars in Hardee County each year over the life of the mine. The phosphate mine, in this case, covers over eleven thousand acres of pristine environmentally critical unmatched aquatic floras and fauna resources with national importance. Before being purchased by the phosphate industry, the land produced income from agriculture, cattle, and tourism. Once the land is stripped, it will no longer support life.

Unfortunately, this same area was acquired by the phosphate industry intent on stripping tons of valuable phosphate reserves just beneath the surface. (1) Florida’s phosphate industry officials will remove and destroy thousands of acres of landscape causing environmentally critical impacts, displacing all wildlife in the area. This area and large tracts of land nearby will be stripped mined by large walking draglines supplying hundreds of tons of phosphatic materials daily to the fertilizer production plant located nearby. The dragline’s large bucket can remove enough earth in one pass to fill fifteen standard sized dump trucks (about 15 cubic yards/truck).

The phosphate industry then consumes millions of gallons of state (public) water (2) reserves pumped daily from the ground to create a muddy mix of water and earthen materials the phosphate industry calls a slurry mix. The slurry mix can then be pumped nearby to the fertilizer production plant for processing.Florida’s phosphate industry’s resolve to strip mine central Florida for its phosphate reserves is undeniable. However, local citizens are organizing against the phosphate industry with lawsuits and other methods. Central Florida residences are mobilizing to bring the truth to the forefront against strip mining so that more people can understand the phosphate dilemma. More publicity about the severe environmental impacts phosphate strip mining causes to Florida’s natural landscape is required for citizens not local to phosphate mines to understand the severity as well.Many of Central Florida’s residences have never seen or “smelled” a phosphate production facility, yet they live within thirty minutes from numerous phosphate plants. Phosphate mines surround communities like Brandon, Riverview, Pinecrest, and Bartow to name a few. One can see for themselves how dangerous a phosphate plant is to all living things. When near a phosphate plant, one will breathe and feel the sting of acid in the air rising from the production of fertilizers out of the phosphogypsum stack. One can drive up to a mountainous phosphogypsum stack full of highly toxic naturally occurring radioactive materials.Florida’s elected officials along with phosphate officials know the total devastation and destruction strip mining causes. They know the irreparable environmental impacts caused by strip mining, yet they continue without reservation for the all mighty dollar. Historically, Florida’s elected and phosphate officials cause severe environmental impacts, while clean-up costs are paid by Florida’s taxpayers. (3) This is the “status-quo” in central Florida. When trying to change the status quo, in this case, one should be prepared for strong arm tactics by Florida’s phosphate industry officials.Florida’s phosphate industry is battling in court now with Manatee, Hardee, Charlotte, DeSotoFree Web Content, and Lee Counties. Each of these counties are submitting to the financial pressures being applied by industry officials and will “permit” the phosphate industry to continue to determine each of these counties economic futures.Read more from https://flmines.com – Florida Mines


  1. Altman Permit. (2016). ourphosphaterisk.com/permitting/altman-permit.
  2. Building and Development Services. www.mymanatee.org/home/government/departments/building-and-development-services.html.
  3. Mosaic Fertilizer threatens to sue FL county www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389×4148828.
Categories: Phosphate Mining


Over the past seventy years, Florida’s phosphate industry let many man-made severe environmental accidents occur one after another over the years, causing serious environmental impacts to pristine “one of a kind” ecological regions of Florida.

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