Water-Related News

Plans to dig DeSoto County’s first phosphate mine are on hold

Plans to rezone thousands of acres in Central Florida for a new phosphate mine have been put off for at least two years.

Mosaic, the nation's largest producer of fertilizer, is delaying plans to mine 18,000 acres in DeSoto County until at least 2025.

County commissioners in DeSoto, which is about 90 minutes southeast of Tampa, rejected rezoning for the mine in 2018. But Mosaic appealed the decision, and a judge agreed they could bring back the request as early as January.

Company spokeswoman Jackie Barron said the delay is because of the closure of their processing facility in Plant City.

Brooks Armstrong, who is with People Protecting Peace River — which is opposing the mine — says while Mosaic continues with its plan, most of the candidates running for county commission this year have shared their opposition in political forums.

"Without exception, they all said they were against it," Armstrong said at Wednesday's meeting in Arcadia, the county seat. "Some were a little more reserved to say that they would wait until all the information got in. But I got the impression that no one wanted to say that there were benefits to mining."

The one commissioner who is not up for reelection, Judy Schaefer, said she has not made up her mind on Mosaic's plans and is still gathering information.

DeSoto County residents are not the only ones concerned.