Permitting a phosphate mine in Florida is a long and complex process—and one that is often misunderstood. One common misperception is that permits are obtained by simply filling out and submitting a form. The process is far more involved than that. Years of data are collected on a site before an application is ever submitted. Once the application is finally presented, it takes an average of five to seven years to move through the entire permitting cycle.
Mosaic’s Florida operations are among the most highly regulated companies in a state with some of the most stringent regulations in the nation. In addition to county guidelines, phosphate mining also is regulated at the state and federal levels and requires permits and review from agencies at each layer of government. It’s our responsibility to develop a comprehensive project plan that accounts for differing regulations and priorities at each of these levels.
Mosaic has a designated Hardee County permitting team that works with experts both inside and outside the company to develop applications for all relevant county, state and federal permits needed to allow mining. Once applications are developed, the team works with the regulatory agencies to reconcile their varying concerns and priorities to finalize the applications and mine plans. Depending on the characteristics of the land in question, other groups in addition to the primary permitting agencies may be consulted.
At the Ona mine site, the presence of protected animals requires the involvement of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition, archaeological surveys are conducted and reviewed by the Florida Department of State’s Florida Division of Historical Resources to ensure that archaeologically significant sites are properly managed. The county, state and federal regulators each issue their own permits that must be secured for mining to occur.
These processes at all three levels of government are open to public input. And, we wholeheartedly support our neighbors’ involvement in the permitting process by hosting community meetings for residents and organizations across the county that want to increase their understanding of our mining project.