MANATEE COUNTY -- Phosphate giant Mosaic returned to the Manatee County Planning Commission last week with a request for multiple changes in their previously approved Wingate Mine Extension Plan. The company wants more land to mine, less berm to protect it, permission to process on-site and off-site ore, and to extend their projected completion date. Despite public objection, the planning commission voted unanimously to recommend approval. The Manatee County Commission will decide the application this week.
The request represents a significant change from last June, when the county approved their Operational Permit. The primary concern of citizens opposed to the plan were the years of trucks, noise, congestion and dust. They had been told back in June that it wouldn't take many, and that ultimately, there wasn't that much work there to be done. Now Mosaic is asking to extend their expiration date for the authorized hauling routes by nine years to 2023. There were also concerns over wetland destruction and on-site processing.
Opponents are expected to voice similar concerns on Tuesday, though they hoped to stop the application at the planning level, as the BOCC, which has a majority of phosphate-friendly members to begin with, has rarely gone against staff and planning commission recommendations on mining issues. The meeting will take place Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the county administration building in downtown Bradenton. Members of the public wishing to give comment will each have two minutes to address the board.