FDEP Phosphate Mining

Article reference: Phosphate
Florida’s Phosphate Mines

There are 27 phosphate mines in Florida, covering more than 450,000 acres. Nine phosphate mines are currently active. Nine mines are 100 percent reclaimed and released from reclamation obligations. The remaining mines are either not started or are shut down. Phosphate mines typically range in size from approximately 5,000 to 100,000 acres. Phosphate mining disturbs between 3,000 to 6,000 acres annually in Florida. Approximately 25 to 30 percent of these lands are wetlands or other surface waters.

The Mining and Mitigation Program administers reclamation and stormwater management programs for mining operations in Florida, including phosphate. Reclamation standards for phosphate mining are detailed in Part II of Chapter 211, Part II of Chapter 378, Florida Statutes (F.S.), and Chapter 62C-16, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.). Phosphate mines require an ERP unless they are specifically grandfathered under Chapter 373.414(15), F.S. Projects associated with mining operations for phosphate on land that was included in a conceptual reclamation plan or modification submitted prior to July 1, 1996, are grandfathered from the ERP rules. Even if grandfathered from ERP, unless the activity is specifically exempted by statutes or rules, a Wetland Resource Permit (WRP) is required if the project involves dredging or filling conducted in, on or over wetlands or other surface waters of the state. For phosphate mines still qualified for a WRP, the applicable rule is Chapter 62-312, F.A.C., effective August 7, 1995.

Environmental resource permitting standards are detailed in Part IV of Chapter 373, F.S., and Chapter 62-330, F.A.C. Permits or authorizations from other local, state or federal agencies may also be required prior to mining.

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