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Florida Phosphate Gypsum Stacks Display Severe Environmental Impacts

Nov 1, 2015 |
N/A
(Fig 1, Gypsum Stack - www.tampabay.com ) One of EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) main concerns with phosphate mines in Florida are with gypsum stacks (gypstack). This concern ... Read more

Florida Phosphate Mining In Sovereignty Lands

Jun 19, 2016 |
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Since the turn of the twentieth century, the phosphate industry purchased large tracts of land in west central Florida, including the upper Peace River watershed. Florida’s phosphate industry ... Read more

Florida Phosphate Rock Quandary

Nov 1, 2015 |
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Florida Phosphate Rock Quandary Many years ago, the ocean flooded an ancient land mass today we call Florida and a layer of sand and clay rich in tiny phosphate particles were deposited. ... Read more

Do Floridians Know About Phosphate Production’s Many Hazards?

Jan 4, 2016 |
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Florida’s phosphate industry creates many serious environmental impacts during the “wet” process in the production of fertilizer (1), including unmetered groundwater consumption. ... Read more

The Phosphate Risk: Welcome

Aug 31, 2015 |
PR: 3
The Phosphate Risk in Florida. Dragline mining machine. Phosphate companies have mined out central Florida. The phosphate depleted, the companies have ... ... Read more

Natural Spring Venue Dollars are Significant To Florida Economy

Jan 4, 2016 |
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I recall as a young boy growing up in west central Florida that natural springs were clean, fresh, and plentiful. Everyone I knew at that time had easy access to natural springs in many forms because ... Read more

Florida Residence Take FIPR Survey on the Phosphate Industry Practices

Sep 19, 2015 |
N/A
Do Florida’s residents know about the phosphate industries abysmal practice of destroying Florida’s geographical environment for the phosphate some 40 feet beneath the surface? ... Read more

Florida’s Politicians Follow the Phosphate Money

Oct 8, 2015 |
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The Florida phosphate industry demonstrates the need to donate millions of dollars to Florida’s politicians. This is easily seen by researching where, when, and how much money Florida’s ... Read more

Fertilizer Production Displays Adverse Effects On Industry Workers

Jan 18, 2016 |
N/A
(Fig. 1) Phosphate Strip Mining In Central Florida Fortunately for the United States, Central Florida is home to the largest known phosphate reserves in the world. Phosphate and its derivatives ... Read more

Florida Mines - Phosphate Draglines Aquifers, Overburden and Sinkholes

Jul 27, 2015 |
N/A
Florida Mines (Bone Valley) phosphate draglines causing Florida aquifer formation destruction, sinkholes, bone valley mines. ... Read more

EPA Disrespected by Florida’s Politicians Concerning Phosphate Radiation

Dec 18, 2015 |
N/A
(Fig. 2) Phosphate Drag Line In Background - Phosphate Waste In Foreground Florida’s phosphate dilemma started a lifetime ago when fate and the Army Corps of Engineers happened to uncover ... Read more

Phosphate Industry Strip Mining Central Florida Watersheds

May 17, 2016 |
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The state of Florida owns all riparian lands and navigable waterways held in “trust” for the public at large by the sovereignty granted to Florida at statehood in 1845 by the United ... Read more

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eMag+ Brings Revolution To Online Publishing

Dec 26, 2016 |
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Markham, Ontario: Alive Software Inc. which develops software application platforms for online publishing announced the launch of its new product. eMag+ an online publishing platform and digital ... Read more

Florida Phosphate Mining In Sovereignty Lands

Jun 19, 2016 |
N/A
Since the turn of the twentieth century, the phosphate industry purchased large tracts of land in west central Florida, including the upper Peace River watershed. Florida’s phosphate industry ... Read more

Florida Sinkholes Created By Phosphate Mining

Jun 15, 2016 |
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Florida citizens living near west-central Florida are no strangers to sinkhole formation. Unfortunately, sinkholes forming in west-central Florida are as likely to be related to regional phosphate ... Read more

Florida Phosphate Mining And The Public Trust Doctrine

Jun 12, 2016 |
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During the past seventy years of phosphate strip mining in west-central Florida, the phosphate industry has at some time been faced with strip mining navigable waterways and riparian lands as defined ... Read more

What Is a Dragline and What Does It Do?

May 26, 2016 |
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The dragline's bucket system consists of a large bucket that is suspended from a boom. The bucket is moved by many cables, chains and ropes. The hoisting rope, which is powered by either a diesel or ... Read more

Phosphate Industry Strip Mining Central Florida Watersheds

May 17, 2016 |
N/A
The state of Florida owns all riparian lands and navigable waterways held in “trust” for the public at large by the sovereignty granted to Florida at statehood in 1845 by the United ... Read more

Florida Phosphate Industry Practices Severely Disturb Navigable Waterways?

May 12, 2016 |
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Florida is known as the “Sunshine State”, but interestingly receives more rainfall than most states in the Union. Florida receives enormous amounts of yearly rainfall from north to south ... Read more

Phosphate Industry Siege On Alafia River And Watersheds

May 5, 2016 |
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The Alafia River watersheds and smaller tributaries in the area are known to be used as “navigable waterways” by the state of Florida during the early-19th century by European (1) ... Read more

Phosphate Mining In The Myakka River Watershed

May 1, 2016 |
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As a youth growing up in west central Florida, my friends and I covered countless miles of the environmentally rich landscape on foot. We pushed through wetlands, marshes, bogs, tributaries, surface ... Read more

Florida Riparian Lands And Navigable Waterway Rights

Apr 29, 2016 |
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The Peace River Valley watershed with all its tributaries, streams, bogs, marshlands, springs, and aquifers is considered by the state of Florida to be “navigable waterways” or ... Read more

Phosphate Mining The Peace River Watershed Basin

Apr 20, 2016 |
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The Peace River watershed lies in west central Florida about forty miles east of the Tampa Bay area. Florida’s Peace River was declared an “endangered river” by “American ... Read more

Florida Rivers, Springs, Lakes, And Aquifers Are Navigable Waterways With Riparian Rights?

Apr 15, 2016 |
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The Peace River headwaters in west central Florida are naturally spring fed by local aquifers “contained” in the landscape. The River “meanders” some 120 miles to the ... Read more

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Florida Phosphate Rock Quandary

Title:
Florida Phosphate Rock Quandary

There are only few areas of phosphate deposits in the United States. In fact, central Florida is estimated to contain 75-80 percent of the continental United States phosphate deposits. One of Florida’s largest deposits of phosphate rock became known as the “Bone Valley




Florida Phosphate Rock Quandary

Many years ago, the ocean flooded an ancient land mass today we call Florida and a layer of sand and clay rich in tiny phosphate particles were deposited. There are only few areas of phosphate deposits in the United States. In fact, central Florida is estimated to contain 75-80 percent of the continental United States phosphate deposits. (1) One of Florida’s largest deposits of phosphate rock became known as the (3) “Bone Valley”, due to the amount of fossils found among layers of phosphate rock. A portion of the Bone Valley lies in Manatee County, Florida. This is the area of Florida being discussed, because the phosphate mining industry is strip mining there. Most of the Florida phosphate mines are owned by Mosaic, Inc. and will operate in a similar process.

Before a Phosphate Mine Can Begin

Before excavation can begin, state and federal permits are issued and an environmental impact study must be established. The phosphate companies are required to develop reclamation plans to renew the land as it was prior to digging. The plans must be in place before mining begins, to mitigate for the damage “strip” mining will cause. This plan includes studies of native vegetation and wildlife present in the area, bonding money set aside for completion of reclamation activities, and the preparation of sites for overburden storage. When the permitting process is complete, mine construction begins, including road building to the site. (5)

The phosphate mining process in Florida will employ a field study to boundary the location and density of the phosphate rock sublimate. Information such as the location, size, and shape of the phosphate rock deposits are determined to focus the mining effort. In Florida, the phosphate rock is extracted by a process referred to as strip-mining. Unlike mining in other states (Idaho for example), phosphate deposits are found very close to the earth’s surface, about 30-40 feet below ground. Florida’s topsoil, also known as overburden, must be removed and is done so by large excavation machines called “draglines”. The draglines can remove up to 65 tons of overburden in one dig, with 215 ft.-wide paths of environmental devastation left behind. The dragline must penetrate many “layered” aquifer systems to strip the phosphate where it is contained in a layer underneath the surface soils, called the matrix. The matrix is a mixture of phosphate rock ore, sand, clay, and aquifer systems (water tables). Once the phosphate rock is extracted from the matrix by the dragline, it is dumped into “aquifer water” based slurry and pushed to the processing plant. A typical Florida phosphate mine strips about 9,000 tons of phosphate rock per acre of land. (4)

Hazardous Waste Issues

Phosphatic clay ore and soils normally reduced air and water movement and may exhibit expansion and contraction. Clay soils have very low hydraulic conductivities, and when wet, they are prone to water logging and sticking to man and equipment. Phosphogypsum - a hazardous waste byproduct created when phosphate rock is processed into fertilizer - is stored in large hazardous waste piles called “gypstacks” and can reach 200 feet or more in height. These stacks are radioactive and will be here forever. Florida’s politicians will have to deal with them long after the mining companies are gone. There are already 25 gypstacks in Florida. They can sometimes overflow and spill their toxic waste after strong storms (hurricanes, tropical storms) or prolonged rain events. (3)The State of Florida (the taxpayers) spent over $200 million to clean up one abandoned gypstack at Piney Point in north Manatee County. An estimated 30 million tons of hazardous waste phosphate gypsum will continue to be produced every year.

Phosphate mining requires great volumes of water for the processes of beneficiation and slurrification. In Bone Valley, this water is obtained through groundwater withdrawals, tapping the enormous series of layered aquifers which are contained in the porous soils and limestone bedrock of Florida. Throughout the Floridian peninsula, aquifers are the primary source of freshwater for household, industrial, and agricultural uses, bringing the phosphate industry into competition with other users such as private residents, who also depend onthe aquifers for their fresh water. (2)

Phosphate Mine Reclamation Phase, Since July 1, 1975

The phosphate industry is required to reclaim all mined lands according to Florida law. The mining company is required to return the lands to beneficial uses in accordance with their permit approvals. As set forth is in Chapter 378, Florida Statutes (F.S.), the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Mining and Mineral Regulations, administers the Mandatory Phosphate Mine Reclamation Code, Chapter 62C-16, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.). Mandatory Phosphate Reclamation Code requires that wetlands and natural surface waters that are disturbed by phosphate mining site preparation or phosphate mining operations be restored at least acre-for-acre and type-for-type. The Bureau of Mining and Mineral Regulations has developed the Integrated Habitat Network (IHN) plan as a focus for the reclamation and permitting efforts for phosphate mining in Central Florida. The IHN provides for the preservation of natural communities adjacent to major river systems and their tributaries and construction of wildlife corridors to be associated with these communities, thereby affording wildlife and native seed sources the ability to access reclaimed lands. Manatee County Phosphate Mining Reclamation Manual (Ordinance 04-39, Appendix E) is designed to protect the surrounding environment and ensure reclamation of the area of land affected by mining. This manual defines the types of mined/disturbed lands to be reclaimed, establishes performance standards for reclaiming land and establishes release criteria for post-reclamation for uplands as well as wetland community types.

However, many mines long since abandoned by the phosphate mining industry are not being reclaimed as Florida law requires.

Reference

(1)WIKIPEDIA -Bone Valley.

(2)OUR PHOSPHATE RISK -Mining.

(3)One Percent: Mining Bone Valley | Scenario Journal.

(4)MY MANATEE DOT ORG - Phosphate Mining Overview.

(5)Phosphate Mining | Sierra Club.

Florida Mines monitors the phosphate industries severe environmental impacts.

Owner Name:
Davey Crockett
Owner Email:
daveycx@yahoo.com
Meta Keywords:
florida phosphate rock quandary,health,davey crockett
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Florida Phosphate Rock Quandary

Many years ago, the ocean flooded an ancient land mass today we call Florida and a layer of sand and clay rich in tiny phosphate particles were deposited. There are only few areas of phosphate deposits in the United States. In fact, central Florida is estimated to contain 75-80 percent of the continental United States phosphate deposits. (1) One of Florida’s largest deposits of phosphate rock became known as the (3) “Bone Valley”, due to the amount of fossils found among layers of phosphate rock. A portion of the Bone Valley lies in Manatee County, Florida. This is the area of Florida being discussed, because the phosphate mining industry is strip mining there. Most of the Florida phosphate mines are owned by Mosaic, Inc. and will operate in a similar process.

Before a Phosphate Mine Can Begin

Before excavation can begin, state and federal permits are issued and an environmental impact study must be established. The phosphate companies are required to develop reclamation plans to renew the land as it was prior to digging. The plans must be in place before mining begins, to mitigate for the damage “strip” mining will cause. This plan includes studies of native vegetation and wildlife present in the area, bonding money set aside for completion of reclamation activities, and the preparation of sites for overburden storage. When the permitting process is complete, mine construction begins, including road building to the site. (5)

The phosphate mining process in Florida will employ a field study to boundary the location and density of the phosphate rock sublimate. Information such as the location, size, and shape of the phosphate rock deposits are determined to focus the mining effort. In Florida, the phosphate rock is extracted by a process referred to as strip-mining. Unlike mining in other states (Idaho for example), phosphate deposits are found very close to the earth’s surface, about 30-40 feet below ground. Florida’s topsoil, also known as overburden, must be removed and is done so by large excavation machines called “draglines”. The draglines can remove up to 65 tons of overburden in one dig, with 215 ft.-wide paths of environmental devastation left behind. The dragline must penetrate many “layered” aquifer systems to strip the phosphate where it is contained in a layer underneath the surface soils, called the matrix. The matrix is a mixture of phosphate rock ore, sand, clay, and aquifer systems (water tables). Once the phosphate rock is extracted from the matrix by the dragline, it is dumped into “aquifer water” based slurry and pushed to the processing plant. A typical Florida phosphate mine strips about 9,000 tons of phosphate rock per acre of land. (4)

Hazardous Waste Issues

Phosphatic clay ore and soils normally reduced air and water movement and may exhibit expansion and contraction. Clay soils have very low hydraulic conductivities, and when wet, they are prone to water logging and sticking to man and equipment. Phosphogypsum - a hazardous waste byproduct created when phosphate rock is processed into fertilizer - is stored in large hazardous waste piles called “gypstacks” and can reach 200 feet or more in height. These stacks are radioactive and will be here forever. Florida’s politicians will have to deal with them long after the mining companies are gone. There are already 25 gypstacks in Florida. They can sometimes overflow and spill their toxic waste after strong storms (hurricanes, tropical storms) or prolonged rain events. (3)The State of Florida (the taxpayers) spent over $200 million to clean up one abandoned gypstack at Piney Point in north Manatee County. An estimated 30 million tons of hazardous waste phosphate gypsum will continue to be produced every year.

Phosphate mining requires great volumes of water for the processes of beneficiation and slurrification. In Bone Valley, this water is obtained through groundwater withdrawals, tapping the enormous series of layered aquifers which are contained in the porous soils and limestone bedrock of Florida. Throughout the Floridian peninsula, aquifers are the primary source of freshwater for household, industrial, and agricultural uses, bringing the phosphate industry into competition with other users such as private residents, who also depend onthe aquifers for their fresh water. (2)

Phosphate Mine Reclamation Phase, Since July 1, 1975

The phosphate industry is required to reclaim all mined lands according to Florida law. The mining company is required to return the lands to beneficial uses in accordance with their permit approvals. As set forth is in Chapter 378, Florida Statutes (F.S.), the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Mining and Mineral Regulations, administers the Mandatory Phosphate Mine Reclamation Code, Chapter 62C-16, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.). Mandatory Phosphate Reclamation Code requires that wetlands and natural surface waters that are disturbed by phosphate mining site preparation or phosphate mining operations be restored at least acre-for-acre and type-for-type. The Bureau of Mining and Mineral Regulations has developed the Integrated Habitat Network (IHN) plan as a focus for the reclamation and permitting efforts for phosphate mining in Central Florida. The IHN provides for the preservation of natural communities adjacent to major river systems and their tributaries and construction of wildlife corridors to be associated with these communities, thereby affording wildlife and native seed sources the ability to access reclaimed lands. Manatee County Phosphate Mining Reclamation Manual (Ordinance 04-39, Appendix E) is designed to protect the surrounding environment and ensure reclamation of the area of land affected by mining. This manual defines the types of mined/disturbed lands to be reclaimed, establishes performance standards for reclaiming land and establishes release criteria for post-reclamation for uplands as well as wetland community types.

However, many mines long since abandoned by the phosphate mining industry are not being reclaimed as Florida law requires.

Reference

(1)WIKIPEDIA -Bone Valley.

(2)OUR PHOSPHATE RISK -Mining.

(3)One Percent: Mining Bone Valley | Scenario Journal.

(4)MY MANATEE DOT ORG - Phosphate Mining Overview.

(5)Phosphate Mining | Sierra Club.

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