Operations at the 17,734 acre South Pasture Mine began in 1995. After receiving all applicable regulatory approvals for the approximately South Pasture Extension Mine (SPE), mining operations extended from South Pasture onto the adjoining SPE in 2017. Below is a summary of the SPE.
- Total Parcel Size = 7,513 acres
CURRENT LAND USE
- 73 percent – Agriculture and Other Land Uses
- 26 percent – Wetlands
- 1 percent – Open Water
LOCAL ECONOMIC BENEFITS
- The SPE will provide an additional 14-year supply of phosphate rock in Hardee County.
- The 2012 Development Agreement with Hardee County designates $10 million to support the development of local educational resources and recreational facilities.
- 1,095 acres would be preserved and protected by a perpetual conservation easement. This area consists of native uplands, wetlands and streams along Brushy Creek and Lettis Creek.
- A perpetual conservation easement would also be placed on an additional 1,789 acres of post-mining reclamation areas.
- A total of 3,800 acres would be placed into conservation easements, in keeping with the SPE mitigation plan required by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. This includes 915 acres along Horse Creek and Payne Creek.
- Every acre mined will be reclaimed.
- The goal is to maximize native habitat acreage onsite and to create and maintain large-scale contiguous wildlife corridors.
- Consistent with Hardee County future development plans along County Road 663.
CLAY SETTLING AREAS (CSAs)
- Would constitute 19 percent of total acreage, or 1408 acres.
- CSA acreage in the South Pasture Extension would be minimized by using existing CSA storage in the permitted South Pasture Mine.
- All CSAs would be reclaimed for agricultural use. This is increasingly important because of development pressures on adjacent lands.
- CSAs are vital to the operation of the mine processing and water recirculation systems.
- CSAs help reduce the amount of deep well water needed for the mining process by acting as water reservoirs.
- CSAs are constructed to engineered standards in accordance with strict regulatory requirements.
- CSAs are rigorously inspected and maintained, as required by state and local regulations.
- An additional diversion system would be built to ensure that in the highly unlikely event of a dam failure, any escaped water and/or clay materials would be diverted back into mine cuts.
- Wildlife surveys and monitoring have been conducted since 1998.
- Wildlife species onsite that would be managed include the Gopher Tortoise, Gopher Frog, Florida Burrowing Owl, Florida Sandhill Crane, Audubon’s Crested Caracara, Eastern Indigo Snake, Wood Stork, Sherman’s Fox Squirrel, Bald Eagle, Florida Mouse, American Alligator, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, and White Ibis.
- Protected species would be managed in accordance with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Florida Department of Environmental Protection approved management plans and guidelines.
- Plan design would reduce and eliminate adverse impacts to highest quality systems to the extent practicable, in light of the type and function of the project.
- Plans to mine the SPE avoid impacts to the main stems of Brushy and Lettis Creeks.
- Would preserve and enhance 10.5 miles, or 63 percent of natural streams.
- Would avoid impacts to 96 percent of bay swamps.
- Approximately 26 percent of wetlands and open waters would be preserved.
- The Hardee County mining ordinance requires mining setbacks of 500 feet from residences and 50 feet from the mine property line.
- Increased wetland quality and acreage.
- Increased upland habitat acreage.
- Increased stream length and quality.
- Wildlife habitat management plan.
- Property would add to regional wildlife corridors.
- Major conservation easements.
- Protective of the eco-hydrology of the Peace River, Brushy Creek, Lettis Creek, Troublesome Creek, and Horse Creek riparian systems.
→ Beth Niec, Senior Manager – Mine Permitting
→ Michelle Tickles, Senior Mine Permitting Specialist
→ Jay Matteson, Senior Permitting Engineer
→ Heather Nedley, Manager, Community Relations