Frequently Asked Questions

  • A.

    Yes. Stringent water quality regulations require that any water that is released into a river or stream must go through permitted discharge points and must comply with Florida Department of Environmental Protection standards for water quality. These standards are designed to protect water bodies for recreational uses such as swimming and fishing and to protect public health and welfare.

    An excellent example of the effectiveness of these water quality standards is the Payne Creek watershed. This watershed, which is a tributary to the Peace River watershed, has had more than 65 percent of its watershed mined. Based on federal and DEP data, the water quality of Payne Creek is comparable to, and in some cases better than, other streams in the same basin where mining has not occurred.

    Close


  • A.

    No. Today, the industry accounts for less than 10 percent of the groundwater pumping in the entire Southwest Central Florida Groundwater Basin. The phosphate industry needs less water than other users (such as agriculture and municipalities). The industry has reduced the amount of water it uses by more than 75 percent since the early 1970s. Over the last 20 years, Mosaic has reduced groundwater usage by more than 50 percent and we reuse or recycle approximately 90 percent of all water used at our Florida phosphate manufacturing facilities.

    Close


  • A.

    This is a common misconception based on past export trends. Years ago, China was a significant customer for Florida phosphate companies. As the country has developed, they have since accessed their own domestic sources and, in today’s market, China is now a net exporter of phosphate.

    The largest share of Mosaic’s finished phosphate products go to farmers in North America, but Mosaic does export phosphate to other countries. The world’s food supply is a global issue that relies on international trade to ensure food security for the world’s population. Many countries do not have a domestic source of phosphate, and, without an imported supply, would be unable to produce enough food to feed their populations.

    Global phosphate production capacities are based on need and Florida plays an important role in the world’s food supply by providing 15 percent of the overall production capacity. With 40-60 percent of agricultural yields directly related to fertilizer use, Florida’s contribution helps ensure a food supply for millions.

    Close


  • A.

    While upland mining is possible where large blocks of upland acreage are available with sufficient reserves, those landscapes are extremely rare, especially in Florida. Across Central Florida, the landscape is dotted with wetland systems of varying quality and connectivity. The majority of the wetlands permitted for mining have been previously impacted by human uses.

    While we avoid many high quality wetlands, we do mine and reclaim some systems. Systems that are preserved are protected from mining operations through setbacks, berming and hydration ditches. With wetlands dotting the landscape and these protections in place, preserving all wetlands would be impractical. Once protection systems were built, very little of the site would remain available for mining and a significant amount of the reserve would be abandoned.

    To allow access to the deposit under wetland systems, state regulators require that phosphate mining companies reclaim disturbed wetlands on an acre for acre / type for type basis. In addition to these reclamation standards, regulators also require that mitigation be performed to account for the time between when a wetland is mined and effectively reclaimed. Mitigation may occur on or off of the mining site, provided that it occurs in the same watershed, and may include additional wetland creation, preservation or restoration.

    Close


  • A.

    Although some people are opposed to phosphate mining, the reason for a person’s opposition varies by individual, so there’s no simple answer to this question.

    Phosphate mines are large operations that some neighbors may find to be an annoyance. We work diligently to ensure that we comply with all local ordinances related to noise, lighting and dust. Mosaic works hard to address any concerns raised by our neighbors and to ensure that our presence creates as little imposition as possible.

    Other individuals are simply opposed to mining or the temporary environmental impacts associated with extracting the ore.  Florida plays an important role in providing a vital crop nutrient that is necessary for farmers to grow enough crops to feed a growing global population. Phosphate is economically available in a limited number of areas around the world, and Florida was blessed with one of the largest deposits. We remain committed to developing Florida’s resources in an environmentally responsible manner.

    Some individuals simply do not trust the industry to meet our environmental commitments. Along with the rest of the society, American industry has gained a greater environmental awareness in recent generations. We recognize that environmental issues associated with earlier phosphate mining operations have bred skepticism among opponents.

    In today’s business environment, however, meeting environmental commitments is necessary to maintain a viable future for our company. To maintain the ability to permit our future reserves, we fully understand that we must live up to the promises we make now.

    In the past, opponents and the industry have engaged largely through litigation and fiery rhetoric. Mosaic is committed to establishing a dialog with the individuals and interest groups that oppose our operation and will actively seek opportunities to discuss concerns anyone may have with our operations.

    Close


  • A.

    Yes. Federal, state and local regulators all require that mining companies meet minimum financial responsibility requirements to ensure the environmental safety of our operations and that reclamation will be completed.

    In the past few years, financial rules and statutes regulating the phosphate industry have increased the severance tax rate, penalties for misrepresentation, stringency tests and assurances for wetlands mitigation. The industry is now paying a tax of $1.61 per ton of phosphate rock severed. Individual phosphate industry employees can be fined $50,000 and go to jail for five years for each offense if they misrepresent their company’s financial condition or fail to comply with department rules.

    In addition, since 1971, the industry has paid more than $1.6 billion in severance taxes. Since 1979, the Conservation and Recreation Lands Trust Fund (CARL) has received more than $530 million of these severance tax dollars. The industry pays approximately $70 million annually in severance, property, sales and other taxes and fees.

    Close


  • A.

    While manure plays a vital role in today’s agriculture, organic fertilizer is not enough. Seventy percent more phosphate is removed from the soil at harvest each year than is available in the manure produced in the United States. In addition to the nutrient deficit, phosphate is in much smaller concentrations in manure, requiring transportation of much more material to achieve the same result as using commercial phosphate fertilizers.

    If all the sewage sludge produced in the United States were also used in agriculture, it would provide about 5 percent of the phosphorus needed. This is not nearly enough to maintain the fertility of the soils our farmers depend on every day for their living, and that Americans depend on every day for our food supply.

    Close


  • A.

    Plants absorb nutrients from the soil as they grow. As farmers harvest, nutrients bound within the crops are removed from the field as well. To provide nutrients for the next crop, farmers must apply fertilizers.

    Commercial fertilizers are responsible for 40-60% of crop yields. Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug stated that without commercial fertilizers the world has 2 billion more people than it can feed. Simply put, these fertilizers are not a luxury but an absolute necessity for modern agriculture. Plants need large amounts of three nutrients — nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

    Farming technology and fertilizer play a key role in maximizing crop yields. By maintaining high crop yields on existing farm land, we preserve land for other uses.

    With 6.5 billion people worldwide and estimates that it will grow to 8.5 billion by 2040, farming technology and fertilizer will remain necessary to maintain an abundant food supply. While people in other countries spend between 15% and 50% of their income for food, U.S. citizens spend only about 10%. Much of this abundance can be directly traced to the yields achieved through the efficient use of commercial fertilizers.

    Close


  • A.

    Mosaic brings many benefits to the counties where we operate. In addition to the jobs provided by Mosaic, our operations generate additional revenues for county governments as well as a significant boost to local philanthropic organizations.

    Most areas we mine were previously zoned for agricultural use and must be rezoned for mining. As a result of this rezoning, property tax revenue from the land increases by millions, providing benefits to local schools and governments. In addition to property tax revenue, county governments receive a portion of the severance tax paid on each ton of phosphate rock mined at our facilities. As a new mine opens, an entirely new revenue stream is created for the county government which can be invested in services for its citizens.

    The construction of the washer and beneficiation plant at new mines requires a significant capital investment. At Mosaic’s Ona and DeSoto mines, plant construction is expected to require a capital investment from Mosaic of nearly $1 billion. This investment creates a ripple effect to surrounding businesses and a further increase in tax revenues for the county government. Construction of the plants will result in the creation of approximately 2,500 temporary construction jobs at each site for about two years.

    Along with the initial investment in the plant, Mosaic upgrades and/or builds rail lines to support the operation. These rail infrastructure improvements remain in place long after the life of the mine, serving as an effective tool for local economic development.

    Aside from the company’s cash investments in our operations, we believe that we have a responsibility to support the communities where we operate. After all, this is where we live, work and play as well. Each year, the company contributes more than $5 million to Central Florida charities and the United Way. As Mosaic’s presence grows in a local community, our investment in the local charities that support our neighbors increases as well.

    Close


  • A.

    Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC employs approximately 3,600 people in Hillsborough, Polk, Hardee and Manatee counties. In addition, a significant amount of our land holdings are part of active agricultural operations that support more local jobs.

    In 2016, the Tampa Bay Port Authority released a study to analyze the economic impact of businesses using the Port. Their analysis found that the phosphate industry is responsible for 70 percent of the Port of Tampa’s annual economic activity and supports more than half of the Port’s direct, indirect and related jobs.

    The typical phosphate mine directly employs approximately 300-400 people. Those are individuals who are employed by Mosaic and the number does not account for all of the contractor work that is created as a result of the operations. Earthmoving, reclamation planting, transportation of materials, construction and many other activities essential to the mine’s operation are conducted by local outside contractors and employ hundreds more.

    For more information about how Mosaic is strengthening the local economy and keeping America’s food supply secure, click here: http://mosaicinmanatee.com/files/2017/09/FL_Economic_Fact_Sheet-September2017.pdf 

    Close


  • A.

    Mosaic is always looking for talented and skilled workers. If you’re interested in working for Mosaic, please visit our Career Opportunities page.

    Close