Phosphate mining moves forward

As President of 3PR I would like to respond to this email (below) from Frank Kirkland which I consider a cynical misrepresentation of the position that the environmental plaintiffs have taken in the law suit and mediation process.

I feel confident that the partial settlement that we negotiated with Mosaic allowing their workers a 4-month reprieve and preserving two bayhead wetlands from extinction in the very branch that runs through Frank Kirkland’s property was a beneficial deal. Frank Kirkland himself said at the last 3PR meeting that those two bayheads were the only remaining source of baseflow to the branch. Now they shall become part of a permanent conservation easement. The easement will also buffer the McClellan’s property from mining.

These are “substantive” benefits – something that cannot be gained from an EIS. If the middle court’s decision to impose a preliminary injunction on the S. Ft. Meade Mine Extension is overturned on appeal, then, at the very least, we have saved two bayheads from mining. If the appeals court upholds the injunction then Mosaic will have to return to the negotiating table and sacrifice more wetlands in order to continue mining.

Yes, the environmental plaintiffs have continued to meet with a Mosaic representative to continue to explore the possibilities for further partial settlement agreements in the event that the preliminary injunction is upheld. There have been two such meetings (at Appleby’s) and as a result of them we have obtained some written information in response to questions we have asked about Mosaic’s mining operations, reclamation standards and timing, hydrology, conservation easements, water recycling, and gyp stacks. We will continue to meet with Mosaic as long as we consider the information they share to be useful for our purposes.

“Why go to court if you are going to go behind closed doors and work up deals with the industry…? ” I think I’ve explained that… because court decisions are subject to appeal and can be overturned. Mediation is a process by which you can use the leverage that you have at least temporarily gained to obtain some enduring results. And, by the way, the mediations were carried out by telephone conference calls – not “closed doors” – and were recommended by our legal council, Mr. Huber, whose experience and advice we trust.

The S. Fort Meade Mine Extension preliminary injunction doesn’t mean that we’ve snuffed out the phosphate mining industry forever. It means the environmental plaintiffs have a brief window of opportunity during which we have gained the upper hand in the court system and can use that momentum to our advantage if we are willing to participate in the mediation process. Although the mediation process isn’t mandatory it was proposed by Judge Adams prior to his decision to order the preliminary injunction. At that point Mosaic refused to mediate because they were confident, I suppose, that the court would decide in their favor. I’m sure they were bitterly disappointed. From the beginning the environmental plaintiffs, however, did agree to mediate. It was only after the preliminary injunction and Mosaic was at a disadvantage that they saw mediation as a useful option. In mediation both sides are willing to gamble knowing that they are going to have to sacrifice a long term objective for an immediate gain.

The Mosaic strategy has been to lay off their workers in response to the preliminary injunction on the S. Ft. Meade Mine Extension, thereby attempting to turn public sentiment against the environmental community and the court. Our willingness to exchange wetland protections for jobs disarmed that strategy and secured wetland protections that directly benefit Frank Kirkland and others.

Unfortunately the delight Frank Kirkland derives from deriding his own leadership outweigh his ability to apprehend the good that we have done.

Dennis Mader
Pres. 3PR

On Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 10:27 PM, frank kirkland wrote:
The forward motion of phosphate mining is guaranteed by the people wasting time, money and court uses.

It seems that fear corruption reaches every corner where people are given any authority or power, crippling the chances for anything good
coming about.

We have watched helplessly as local and state authorities work the back room scams and plots that support the Industry and squash the people in their tracks with the medias who profit highly from the phosphate industry ads as do politicians.

this scenario I see reaches even deep in the environmental world as groups are formed and grow its leaders soon become as corrupt as government agents, going green is the motto, if you can’t make it honestly do it how ever you can “Just seek Money and or Power”

I now learn that we have people in high places playing what I consider illegal rolls in our mist (the very people supposedly fighting for us in the court system), these people are becoming the same as most politicians and Lawyers they are making close relations with the enemy, which include under cover negotiations between Mosaic officials and the plaintiffs, these people may have good intentions but in reality the have no place trading away our rights at their uninformed discretion and with out our consent.

Why go to court if you are going to go behind closed doors and work up deals with the industry that is not the wishes of the people who were used to form the case around, why introduce evidence to the court which puts you in some what control or gives you leverage, then in the heat of mediation be pressured by less than factual in put from the other side and a Mediator who is highly paid to sway the case into settlement of some sort. (Mediation can come from court order or both sides request, but in neither case is settlement mandatory)

These people are easily blind sided by the pro’s from the industry who are well experienced at deception, the actions of this commity will be costly to the case in many ways, such as saying to the Army corps its ok to mine before you get the EIS, It speaks along with the back room exchanges still going on between Mosaic and some of our people that we are easy,well trade a pime cow for a pig with lipstick, We are saying EPAs opinion is not valid, It says we don’t care if this case sets the way future cases will fall, knowing full well we can’t preform in lower corts where the industry is favored, above all it sais the groups are just plain not willing to stand for anything. (Run cowards run)

Our fate is in the hands of people who will only suffer from after shock of mining we are the people who are on the line that will be hit in the face with a ton of immediate crap, and we are the people who have fought the fight while many of the leaders were using our work to take our rights away and make the news as if they had done something special, well this is true it takes all to get to certain points but then the glory seekers go bananas and make stupid decisions.

so all you people that suck up to the dollars and no since white collars enjoy what they hand you for your time and money, every dog has his day this included us all.

where I go from here is very much in question but it dam sure want be with the likes of the heart of the groups involved with this federal suit I have enough enemies with out encouraging more, yes some of the people I met and worked with have a special spot in my heart but some have moved to another spot close to the rest of my main pains.

Make all the fun of this you want but keep in mined we reap what we soy and that includes bad and good, so sowing to corruptness will be accounted for the same as sowing to good even if good is not always the clearest path. (Its bad enough to make mistakes, but to continue that track after warning it becomes stupidity.)
Frank Kirkland

Phosphate lawsuit: In hard-hit Hardee County, it’s wetlands vs. jobs

By Steve Huettel and Craig Pittman, Times Staff Writers
In Print: Sunday, November 21, 2010
Read article here

FORT MEADE — After a hitch in the Navy and work handling psychiatric patients in lockdown, Billy Griffis held a prized job in this corner of rural Central Florida. • Mosaic Fertilizer paid him $42,000 last year as “wrencher” laying big pipes and fixing pumps at its South Fort Meade phosphate mine. Griffis, 35, didn’t worry about job security. Fertilizer prices soared in recent months, and the world’s largest phosphate fertilizer producer hadn’t laid off a worker during the mine’s 15-year history. • That changed in September. After the Sierra Club and two Florida environmental groups won a federal court ruling to stop work on new section of the mine, Mosaic warned that hundreds of jobs were at risk, then cut 60. The company blamed the Sierra Club. Environmentalists shot back that Mosaic was playing hard-ball to sway public opinion. • The two sides worked out a deal that will bring all the employees back for a while. But neither is ready to quit. Too much is at stake.
Mosaic says it could run short of Florida phosphate without the Fort Meade expansion. Workers worry they’ll be back out of work in a drum-tight job market if the environmental groups win in court. Environmentalists hope a rare court victory will force mining regulators to get tougher with the state’s powerful phosphate business.
• • •
The groups sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on June 30, challenging a permit it gave Mosaic to destroy 500 acres of wetlands in an extension of the mine into Hardee County. The next day, U.S. District Judge Henry Lee Adams Jr. ordered a temporary ban on mining wetlands on the 10,855-acre site.
Within days, Mosaic said it would be forced to close the mine and notified 221 workers they faced layoffs in 60 days unless the judge lifted the order. Instead, Adams indefinitely continued the ban, saying the company could still mine upland areas for as long as two years.
Mosaic called it impractical to navigate massive draglines around pockets of wetlands and still mine enough phosphate to make economic sense. But laidoff workers began returning last week, after the agreement with environmentalists to let Mosaic dig 200 acres that had been prepared for mining before the lawsuit.
That gives employees four months of work while the battle grinds through the courts. What happens next lies in the hands of a federal appeals court in Atlanta.
• • •
Environmentalists say mining those wetlands at South Fort Meade will cause more damage than it’s worth. They contend it will lower the level of the already-drained Peace River and the underground aquifer, affecting the local water supply.
Also, destroying wetlands that filter pollutants from stormwater runoff could foul the river that empties 100 miles south into Charlotte Harbor, they say. The river is vital to maintaining the harbor’s delicate salinity that hosts endangered species as well as thriving commercial and recreational fishing.
Mosaic is counting on the South Fort Meade mine expansion to produce 30 percent of the rock that its Florida plants process into diammonium phosphate fertilizer, known as DAP. Without the new mine, Mosaic might have to import rock from Morocco or Peru at a higher cost to keep its fertilizer plants running at full capacity.
Any decline in production at Mosaic, which employs 3,000 in Florida, would ripple through contractors and vendors: welders, equipment mechanics, suppliers of bulk chemicals such as liquid ammonia.
Phosphate mining in Central Florida made Tampa a port city in the 1880s and still plays a big role supporting the maritime business.
The phosphate and fertilizer industry generated one-third of the 38 million tons of cargo that moved through the port last year. It supports more than 67,000 jobs in the region, reported a 2006 study commissioned by the Tampa Port Authority.
“It’s a singular industry,” says port director Richard Wainio. “Florida doesn’t have a lot of big industries, and this is at or near the top of the pile as far as economic benefit for the state.”
Judge Adams’ ruling, believed to be the first court order to stop a Florida mining operation, delighted environmentalists like Dennis Mader of the Protect the Peace River, a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
“For years and years, the phosphate industry has ridden along on the short-term economic benefits in the form of jobs, business at the Port of Tampa and contractors,” said Mader, a resident of Hardee County. “Everybody’s excused the environmental damage that’s endemic in their method of operation.”
U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, the Bartow Republican elected Nov. 2 as Florida’s agriculture commissioner, on the other hand, contends that environmentalists are out to kill the golden goose.
“If you’re serious about putting Florida back to work, why in the world would you eliminate one of its largest employers?” he told the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club in September.
• • •
It’s not unusual to find families with two or three generations of men who have worked the mines in the vast rural landscape where Polk, Hardee, Hillsborough and Manatee counties come together. They might have played for or against South Fort Meade High School’s football team, the Fighting Miners.
Citrus and cattle dominate the local economy outside mining. Without a college degree, it’s tough even to find work that pays a little over minimum wage, says Griffis, who returned to his job at the South Fort Meade mine Monday.
Unemployment in his home county of Hardee hit 14.8 percent in September, tied with Hernando for the fourth-highest rate among Florida’s 72 counties. While unemployed, Griffis applied for jobs with the city of Wauchula, the county seat and the local McDonald’s. None was hiring.
Clay Farris hoped to be back at work as a Mosaic conveyor operator this week or next. On unemployment since September, he has burned through $5,000 in savings and stopped making $1,300 mortgage payments on his house in Frostproof.
The lawsuit has sparked friction within families. Farris, 32, was borrowing his brother-in-law’s truck but something on the bumper stopped him in his tracks: a Sierra Club sticker.
“That got ripped off plenty quick,” he says. His brother-in-law, a beekeeper, dropped his membership.
Last week, Mosaic announced plans to launch a new business near Fort Meade. The company will build a luxury golf resort on 2,000 acres of restored mine land. Building the golf course, clubhouse and guest villas at Streamsong Resort will employ hundreds of construction workers, Mosaic says. A hospitality management company will employ at least 200 people by the opening, scheduled for fall 2013.
“Without Mosaic’s help,” Griffis says, “Hardee County would turn into a ghost town.”
• • •
Formed by a 2004 merger between IMC-Global and Cargill, Mosaic first applied for the federal permit for the South Fort Meade mine expansion four years ago, after three years of reviews by local and state agencies gave it a green light.
The Corps of Engineers at last approved a permit that allowed Mosaic to souffle more than 500 acres of wetlands or open water. To make up for the environmental damage, the corps required Mosaic to create about 480 acres of new wetlands — something scientists say is often difficult, if not impossible.
The corps’ own rules require looking for less environmentally damaging alternatives when a project does not have to be built in wetlands. If the agency relies on the applicant to do that analysis, then the corps must double-check the work.
But according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mosaic and the corps failed to meet their responsibilities. For example, the EPA said, Mosaic should have considered a smaller mine that wouldn’t destroy so many wetlands. And the corps didn’t independently verify the company’s findings.
The EPA declined to use its seldom-invoked power to veto the permit. But the agency’s objections to the corps helped persuade Judge Adams to block further mining while the corps must start over on a crucial part of the Mosaic permit application.
Environmental and civic groups, alarmed by the phosphate industry’s water use and waste products, have been calling for a decade for the corps to launch a regionwide study of the environmental impact of mining. Instead, the corps has looked only at each permit application on its own.
But the suit over Mosaic’s permit contended that past mining has contributed to tremendous environmental degradation in Central Florida. It cited the corps’ own findings that phosphate mining had led to the loss of 343 miles of streams and 136,000 acres of wetlands in the Peace River region, as well as a decline in the Floridan Aquifer of up to 50 feet within the Peace River watershed.
After Adams’ ruling, the corps finally agreed in August to spend about 18 months on a regional study of phosphate mining’s impact on the environment. The reason: In addition to the South Fort Meade mine, the corps has pending wetland destruction permit applications for 11 more new mines, which it says “may result in significant cumulative environmental impacts in the future.”
Despite the contentions of Putnam and other pro-mining advocates, “it’s not our intention to stop mining,” said Glenn Compton of ManaSota-88, another plaintiff in the Mosaic suit. “We just want to make it a better process.”
Mosaic worker Farris insists environmental groups go too far when they endanger people’s livelihoods.
“I’m all for the environment,” he says. “I love to hunt and fish. I take my kids out on the boat. I love camping. But people have got to have jobs.”
Steve Huettel can be reached at huettel@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8128.

[Last modified: Nov 20, 2010 12:43 AM] Copyright 2010 St. Petersburg Times

3PR News: Streamsong, The Emperor’s New Clothes

Hold your nose and check out how Mosaic’s new “Streamsong” resort is being marketed….

http://www.streamsongresort.com/

Click here to read article in PDF format
Text format follows:
Welcome to a new kind of resort. Miles from what you might expect to find in Central Florida, Streamsong is the ideal destination for relaxation, restoration and, most of all, renewal. Here, the natural beauty of Florida sets the stage for escape amid pristine lakes and gentle streams. Streamsong’s guests are welcome to enjoy not only premium resort features like world-class golf and fine dining, but also enrichment programs centered on the arts, wellness, nature and more.

It’s the redefinition of resort. Explore the great outdoors, and also learn about the surrounding ecology. Pamper yourself with spa treatments, or find a new voice in a writing workshop. Far from your typical destination, Streamsong is a place to immerse yourself in any number of experiences, and come away enriched.

At Streamsong, outdoor opportunities abound, including two 18-hole golf courses, unparalleled Florida bass fishing, and hiking and biking on nature trails – to name just a few.

Guests can also take part in activities that elevate the mind and spirit. From wellness to culinary learning, and from gardening to fine arts, immersion programs will be offered in partnership with Florida’s best and brightest.

Whether enjoying fine dining, taking in an unfettered view of the stars from the rooftop garden or embarking on a nearby nature excursion, these unique offerings will make your stay at Streamsong an experience without equal.

Morocco Plans 800 Acre Resort Hotel Funded by Fertilizer Cash

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-05/morocco-plans-800-acre-resort-hotel-funded-by-fertilizer-cash.html

By Brendan Borrell and Daniel Grushkin
Nov 5, 2010 11:15 AM ET

Béatrice Montagnier, a hotel specialist with consulting firm Horwath HTL, snapped pictures of an old warehouse and a jumble of sun-baked two-story concrete block homes outside the Moroccan town of Khouribga. It was May 2009 and Paris-based Montagnier was scoping out a planned site for an 800-acre hotel resort and museum. While she worked on details of project layout, one issue — funding — was not a concern. The estimated $1 billion needed to build the resort would come from the ground beneath her feet, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Nov. 8 issue. Khouribga and elsewhere in Morocco are home to the world’s biggest known deposits of phosphate, used in fertilizer, detergent, food additives, and more recently lithium-ion batteries. Sold for decades in its raw state for less than $50 per metric ton, it’s currently at about $125, according to World Bank figures. This is good news for Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, 47, who owns more than half the world’s phosphate reserves. Mohammed VI is the unofficial overseer of the state-owned phosphate monopoly, Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP), Morocco’s largest industrial company. Most traders expect OCP to drive the commodity’s price higher, which means the cost of making everything from corn syrup to iPads will be going up. Phosphate as fertilizer is the engine powering modern agriculture, and its reserves are in decline almost everywhere except Morocco. Most phosphate mines, including those in the U.S., which produces 17 percent of global supply, have been in decline for the past decade, running out of quality rock and hindered by environmental regulation. That has forced companies to look farther afield for supplies.

Mosaic, BHP, Potash
Earlier this year, Mosaic Co. spent $385 million for a 35 percent stake in a Peruvian mine to supply rock to its phosphate operations in the U.S. and South America. Australia’s BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, made a $40 billion hostile takeover offer for Canada’s Potash Corp., a major supplier of both potash and phosphate. Even a temporary phosphate shortage could affect a range of U.S. industries. Phosphate fertilizer is used on just about every crop, though most in the U.S. goes to the 13 billion bushels of corn grown each year to make everything from corn syrup to cattle feed to ethanol. The 2007-08 food crisis gives clues to how a shortage might play out. At that time, rising food prices led to riots across Africa and Asia. Before the crisis was over, China had levied a 135 percent export tariff on its phosphate to protect its domestic food supply; phosphate there is still taxed at 110 percent at the height of the buying season.

85% of World’s Total
The scale of Morocco’s phosphate wealth was officially verified in September, when the International Fertilizer Development Center released its long-awaited update on global phosphate resources. Morocco’s portion went from the 5.7 billion tons still cited in U.S. Geologic Survey reports, to 50 billion tons — 85 percent of the world’s total. Even with 170 million tons of concentrated phosphate changing hands each year, the Moroccans likely have at least 300 to 400 years of rock available.

Talal Zouaoui, OCP’s director of communications, won’t agree or disagree with estimates, but says in an e-mail that Morocco has “significant reserves,” and notes that reserves denote only those quantities that countries have discovered and deem economically viable to extract. With a growing world population consuming more grain, more meat, and more biofuels, demand is expected to rise at a rate of 2 percent to 3 percent per year, according to the International Fertilizer Association. Dana Cordell, co-founder of the Global Phosphorus Research Initiative, predicts that phosphate production will “peak” within the next 50 years.

Fertilizer, Coca-Cola
Not all phosphate becomes fertilizer: about 15 percent is turned into detergents or food additives, such as the tangy phosphoric acid in Coca-Cola, or the moisture-retaining salts in salami.
OCP controls 30 percent of global phosphate exports, and plans to increase annual production from 30 million tons to 54 million tons by 2015, investing $5 billion in the process. By that time, Prayon SA, a Belgian phosphate processor in which OCP owns a 50 percent stake, believes demand for phosphate as a component of the lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles could exceed demand for it in detergent. At September’s World Fertilizer Conference in San Francisco, Morocco’s ascendancy was the main topic of conversation.

Hotel Hopping
Asked about OCP, trader Mark Mangassarian answered with a question: “Oh, you mean the guys who are trying to drive up phosphate prices the most?” Mangassarian, who is assistant vice-president for sales at Nitron International in Stamford, Conn., spent three days doing deals at the San Francisco conference hopping from suite to suite at the Westin St. Francis on Union Square. Though the industry average for diammonium phosphate fertilizer has hovered around $500 this summer, the executives he sat down with weren’t willing to go below $550. A few weeks later, Mangassarian came to see it their way, and is paying $560. OCP’s tough negotiating tactics have irritated many in the industry. “You try to talk to them, and they don’t answer. They’ve always been like that. That’s their strategy,” says Taoufik Meddeb, who buys sulfur for Groupe Chimique Tunisien, another state-owned company and OCP’s biggest competitor in North Africa. “God just put the phosphate there,” said Jamal Bensari, a member of OCP’s delegation. “It is our only resource, and it is our responsibility.” ‘Quasi-Impossible’ OCP’s current communications director Zouaoui declined to arrange interviews for Bloomberg Businessweek following multiple requests in September and October. “It is quasi-impossible right now,” he explained. In a separate e-mail, he also noted that OCP is “subject to customary international governance standards for a global corporation, including transparency and accountability.”

Mohammed VI, called the King of the Poor for his efforts to raise Morocco’s living standards, has about $2 billion in assets, which places him seventh on Forbes’ list of the richest royals. That’s far behind Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai but well ahead of the Prince of Monaco. Although he is not technically the head of state, he has control of the country as both a secular and religious leader. He appoints the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, and has the power to overrule or dissolve the elected Parliament. His portrait adorns the first page of OCP’s annual reports, and his face appears in nearly every home and coffee shop. The Moroccan Embassy did not respond to requests for interviews with the King.

Disputed Territory
Western Sahara is a disputed territory. It’s also where Morocco’s best phosphate lies. The region known to the King as “Moroccan Sahara” begins just south of the fishing village of Tarfaya on the Atlantic coast. The UN calls it “the non-self- governing territory of Western Sahara” and deems it “occupied.” It’s a place where phosphate rumbles to the coast on the world’s longest conveyor belt, while tanks and soldiers roam alongside, defending the shipments from Sahrawi separatists.
When Spain withdrew from Western Sahara in 1975, some 350,000 Moroccans marched into the region with tents on their backs. The native Sahrawi fought back for 16 years under the leadership of the Algerian-backed Polisario rebels, signing a cease-fire in 1991. The UN continues to monitor the agreement with 215 uniformed peacekeepers, but a planned vote on self- determination has been repeatedly delayed. Today, approximately 90,000 Sahrawi live in refugee camps in Algeria, separated from their families in Moroccan-controlled territory by a 1,400-mile- long berm dotted with land mines.

Land Mines
OCP reports that just 2 percent of Morocco’s phosphate lies in the Phousboucraa mine at Bou Craa in Western Sahara, and that it accounts for 6 percent of sales. Companies in Australia and Norway have said they no longer use phosphate mined in Western Sahara. In August, Mosaic told the advocacy group Western Sahara Resource Watch that it has stopped buying rock from the territory. The U.S., in addition to needing the phosphate, sees Morocco as an ally in the war against terrorism. Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed U.S. support for Morocco’s plan of “limited autonomy” for the territory, which stops short of the independence demanded by the Polisario.

Private Riads
Montagnier finished her consulting contract last year, but her employer, Horwath, has a small office in Rabat and is working on other projects. The King opened the Royal Mansour Marrakech hotel this year, with private riads — the traditional style of home with a courtyard and garden — going for $2,200 per night. For Khouribga, Montagnier has settled on three stars for the hotel, but says the final room tally awaits approval by OCP. Architects put the total price on the project, known as Mine Verte, at 665 million euros ($937 million). “Khouribga is the world capital of phosphates,” says Founoun Mohammed, 48, a subcontractor overseeing the first stages of a pipeline that will deliver phosphate in slurry form from Khouribga to the port of Jorf Lasfar south of Casablanca, 146 miles away. After work he settles down at the back of a favorite restaurant and talks business over seafood paella. A bottle of Moroccan wine is not to his liking, and he orders a French red for the table. “People will come from Europe, the United States, everywhere to see Khouribga. It will raise the level of the city.” He is in high spirits and pours a glass of wine for the waiter, who tosses it back in a single gulp. Mohammed says he loves his country: He is safe and has a good job, what else can he ask for? “The King,” he says, “is a gentleman.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Brendan Borrell at bborrell@nasw.org; Daniel Grushkin through Bryant Urstadt in New York at burstadt@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amanda Jordan at ajordan11@bloomberg.net

3PR Letter to Ledger: Mosaic’s Permit Was Deficient

To Editor
The Lakeland Ledger
October 21, 2010
Yeah, phosphate mining’s been part of Bartow’s life and culture for nearly a century – and it permanently destroyed your most precious resource: Kissengen Springs. So why should we stand by and watch that destruction to the lower Peace River and Charlotte Harbor Estuary?

If Mr. Ron Kelly “understands what he reads” then he would know that know that the reason there is a court injunction on Mosaic’s S. Ft. Meade Mine Extension is precisely because the Army Corps of Engineers’ Dredge and Fill (404) Permit was determined to be deficient in several areas by a federal court judge. If Mosaic’s permit was so perfect then why did the judge determine to grant a preliminary injunction stating: “Mosaic’s alternatives analysis, as well as the Corps verification of the same, was incomplete.” The injunction was ordered because the court understands that it is not in the public interest to destroy wetlands unnecessarily and that even if wetland restoration is successful (EPA says it is not) there is a time lag of a decade or more between mining and restoration.

It is ridiculous to direct his anger at Mr. Huber, the environmental plaintiff’s attorney based in Colorado. (Remember Mosaic’s headquarters are in Minneapolis, and their CEO is a Canadian). The lawsuit was filed locally by Sierra Club, represented in Polk, Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties; by 3PR based in Wauchula; and by Manasota-88 based in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. The destruction of wetlands in Hardee County will have its effect on freshwater flows to Charlotte Harbor 80 miles downstream which is the base of the coastal counties’ economy as well as a source of drinking water.

I have been involved in this lawsuit from its inception. Mosaic was offered a portion of the S. Ft. Meade Extension mine to continue operating. It was their choice to refuse it. The environmental plaintiffs offered to mediate before the preliminary injunction was ordered. Mosaic refused. When mediation negotiations finally began and an agreement to allow mining to begin was imminent Mosaic filed another motion in court derailing the process. Now Mr. Huber is preoccupied responding to Mosaic’s latest motion to stay – he is no longer available to negotiate a settlement.

Mr. Huber was correct: If Mosaic employees are laid off it’s due to the choices of the Mosaic management and legal team, and has nothing to do with him and the environmental plaintiffs.

According to the latest Rate of Reclamation Report, issued by the state, only 4% of the existing S. Fort Meade Mine has been reclaimed and released. When deep water drilling was shut down for spewing oil all over the Gulf of Mexico they kept their workers busy cleaning and upgrading equipment. Why can’t Mosaic do the same? Mosaic made around $300 million profit in the last financial quarter – yet they lay off workers while their insufficient permit is adjudicated. (Wake up, phosphate workers! Profits over People)

Mosaic’s Dredge and Fill permit was deficient according to a federal court. They have to answer to the public for that the same way you would if your building didn’t pass inspection.

Please visit our website for more information on phosphate mining’s effect on the aquifers of central Florida: www.protectpeaceriver.org

Dennis Mader
President 3PR (People for Protecting Peace River Inc)
Wauchula, FL

Read Ron Kelly’s letter below:

The Lakeland Ledger

Published: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 12:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 11:48 p.m.
I’m writing to take issue with comments made by Eric Huber of the Sierra Club in the latest article about the club’s litigation to stop mining at Mosaic’s South Fort Meade mine.
Mr. Huber, the Sierra Club’s attorney, claims that it is Mosaic’s fault that the workers at South Fort Meade may lose their jobs. I find it ironic that a Sierra Club attorney from Colorado, who represents the organization whose lawsuit precipitated this entire situation, wants us to believe the Sierra Club is not responsible. Do he and his partners in San Francisco who initiated this lawsuit really believe the residents of Polk County are that gullible?
Polk County residents understand phosphate mining. It’s been a part of our lives and culture for more than a century. When we read articles about phosphate in the paper, we understand what we read.
It’s clear to us that this was a very thorough permitting process and that Mosaic went to great lengths to make sure the permit was protective of the environment. Apparently, the Sierra Club thinks it can point the finger at Mosaic and we’ll all go along with it. We’re smarter than that and we know they are responsible for the Polk County residents that are losing their jobs as a result of the lawsuit.
Mosaic has been a great supporter of so many organizations and good causes in Polk County and now they deserve our support. Mosaic employees are our friends and neighbors.
It appears that the Sierra Club is not happy with just putting some of them out of work, it also feels it necessary to attack their character. I, for one, cannot let that go unanswered.
RON KELLY
Bartow

3PR News: Sarasota County Preps for EIS scoping process….

Sarasota County’s assistant attorney, David Pearce, sent a lengthy memorandum to Water Resource Manager, Jack Merriam, outlining the legal parameters of the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) recently undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers. The following “connected actions” were excerpted from the memo. They describe the environmental impacts of phosphate mining and fertilizer manufacturing. The entire memo will soon be posted on the 3PR website www.protectpeaceriver.org

1. Connected Actions – Site Preparation
2. Connected Actions – Topsoil and Muck Removal, Storage, and Redistribution
3. Connected Actions – Severing Connection to Surficial Aquifer and Dewatering
4. Connected Actions – Uplands and Isolated Wetlands
5. Connected Actions – Operation of Beneficiation Plants
6. Connected Actions – Consumptive Use of Water
Connection Actions – Waste Water Discharge
8. Connected Actions – Waste Management
9. Connected Actions – Phosphogypsum Stacks

Click to read entire article

The Mosaic Company Reports Strong Fiscal Year 2010 Fourth Quarter Earnings Growth

Page 1/13 8/26/2010
The Mosaic Company Reports Strong Fiscal Year 2010 Fourth Quarter Earnings Growth
July 22, 2010 4:21 PM ET
PLYMOUTH, Minn., July 22, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ —

The Mosaic Company (NYSE: MOS) announced today net earnings of $396.1 million, or $0.89 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter ended May 31, 2010. These results compare with net earnings of $146.9 million, or $0.33 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter ended May 31, 2009.

KEY ITEMS
Total phosphate sales volumes were 2.3 million tonnes and the average diammonium phosphate (DAP) selling pricewas $438 per tonne Potash sales volumes rebounded from 0.6 million tonnes a year ago to 1.8 million tonnes and the average muriate of potash (MOP) selling price was $336 per tonne
Gross margin as a percent of net sales improved to 37 percent, compared to 13 percent in the prior year. Foreign currency transaction losses were $0.6 million versus losses of $297.9 million, or $0.42 per share last year Income tax expense was $138.8 million compared to a benefit of $330.3 million a year ago Cash flow from operating activities was $532.1 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 an improvement of $226.3 million from the prior year

The Company maintained a strong financial position with cash and cash equivalents of $2.5 billion as of May 31, 2010 A recently issued permit for an extension of Mosaic’s South Fort Meade phosphate rock mine is being challenged in Federal court. If a preliminary injunction requested by the plaintiffs is granted, the Company’s phosphate operations could be impacted Mosaic had net sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 of $1.9 billion, an increase from $1.6 billion, or 17 percent, compared to the same period last year. Mosaic’s gross margin for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 was $687.6 million, or 37 percent of net sales, compared with $204.1 million, or 13 percent of net sales, a year ago. Fourth quarter operating earnings were $547.6 million, an improvement of $421.3 million over the prior year. The increases in gross margin and operating earnings were primarily due to improved phosphates selling prices, lower sulfur costs and increased potash sales volumes, partially offset by lower potash selling prices. “We are pleased with our strong fourth quarter results,” said Jim Prokopanko, Mosaic’s President, and Chief Executive Officer. “Crop nutrient application rates and shipments have snapped back from last year’s levels and a strong recovery in both the phosphates and potash markets is underway.”

Phosphates
Net sales in the Phosphates segment were $1.2 billion for the fourth quarter, comparable to the prior year. Phosphates’ fourth quarter gross margin was $306.6 million, or 26 percent of net sales, compared with a loss of $31.9 million for the same period a year ago. Operating earnings were $221.1 million, an increase of $300.3 million over the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, primarily due to higher selling prices and lower sulfur costs. In addition, fiscal 2009 fourth quarter results included a $61.4 million inventory lower of cost or market write-down. The average fourth quarter DAP selling price, FOB plant, was $438 per tonne, compared to $365 a year ago and $336 in the
third quarter of fiscal 2010. Phosphates segment total sales volumes were 2.3 million tonnes, compared to 2.5 million tons a year ago. Declines in International and Blend crop nutrient volumes from the year-ago quarter were partially offset by an increase in North American crop nutrient demand. Mosaic’s North American phosphate production was 1.9 million tonnes compared with 2.0 million tons a year ago.

3PR News: China, India, Saudi Arabia, Syria Enter Phosphate Market – Prices go UP!

http://www.thestreet.com/story/10882248/1/rising-grain-futures-push-phosphate-prices.html

By Leia Michele Toovey- Exclusive to Potash Investing News

Concerns about adverse weather in western Canada and Russia are sending grain futures on a rally. This is good news for diammonium phosphate and other phosphate based fertilizer prices. Since June, rising grain prices have propelled the price for the crop nutrient to new highs, with phosphate prices averaging $431 over the past quarter, 55 percent more than the previous year-on-year period. Diammonium phosphate, for immediately delivery, has increased 66 percent this year. Increasing demand, combined with declining stockpiles has prompted China to mull export restrictions in order to protect their much needed domestic supply. Record breaking shipments over the summer have caused a dramatic decline in China’s domestic inventories. “Government officials are increasingly concerned about the availability of phosphate products for domestic farmers and are closely monitoring the situation,” said Mike Rahm, Mosaic’s Chief Marketing Strategist. “We believe officials will take whatever measures are necessary, including more restrictive export policies, to ensure adequate supplies of competitively priced phosphate for domestic farmers.” Demand for fertilizers will grow over the next 40 years as a larger and increasingly wealthy world population consumes more meat and eggs, said David Dawe, a senior economist with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Food and energy prices increasingly will be linked with potentially high fuel costs, spurring fertilizer use as farmers seek greater efficiency. Agricultural output will need to rise faster than the supply of arable land, forcing farmers to seek greater crop yields, he added.

Credit Suisse lifted its forecast for both nitrogen and phosphate prices over the next two years following the rise in crop prices. Projections for prices for potash, the other of the big three nutrients, were kept at previous levels, foreseeing a gentle rise through 2011 and 2012. However, while even Credit Suisse’s upgraded hopes for phosphate implied a decline in prices from current levels of $525 to 550 a tonne, its outlook for nitrogen implied continued gains.

Output Expansion
Saudi Arabian Mining Co, the state-run producer, may double phosphates output at a venture it’s developing with Saudi Basic Industries Corp, the world’s largest petrochemicals maker. The partners plan to bring a 2.9 million tonnes a year diammonium phosphate plant at Ras al Zour on the Arabian Gulf coast into operation early next year, according to Khaled Al Mudaifer, vice president for phosphates at Saudi Arabian Mining. The partners will initially market ammonia produced at the $5.5 billion facility before eventually using the feedstock to produce twice the amount of diammonium phosphate. Saudi Arabia is looking to expand fertilize production in order to meet rising food demand. Saudi Arabia will be able to produce about 18 percent of the world’s diammonium phosphate once the Ras al-Zour plant is complete, Saudi Basic’s Al Sheaibi said yesterday. Saudi Basic, known as Sabic, will market most products from the plant for its first five years. Ma’aden will own a 70 percent stake in the Ras al Zour plant with Sabic holding the rest. Ma’aden will supply minerals from the kingdom’s interior.

Syria and India have signed a memo of understanding to develop the fertilizer industry in Syria in order to produce phosphoric acid and phosphate fertilizers to cover the needs of both the Syrian and the Indian markets. According to the memo, the two sides will promote multi-benefit projects according to their feasibility study. The two sides also agreed on signing an executive program to produce phosphoric acid and phosphate fertilizers in Syria. They also agreed on establishing factories for producing phosphoric acid in Syria with the possibility of selling the surplus to the Indian side at global price. The Syrian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sufian Allao pointed out that the memo aims at increasing the amount of the produced phosphate in Syria to reach 10 million tons per year, saying “the production is currently at 4 million tonnes. Syria has large reserves of phosphate, about 1.8 billion tonnes, the reserves amount can also be increased with intensified exploration operations.” The cost of the project is estimated at US$15 million, funded by the Indian company Zuari, which is in charge of the project.

DeSoto County Sets Stage for Environmental Headaches (DeSoto Sun Herald Op-Ed 06/09/10)

… as county commissions in Hardee and DeSoto Counties open their doors to expanded phosphate mining operations in the Peace River watershed we are inviting degradation in our own backyards….

As crude oil from the BP/Deepwater Horizon well pours inexorably into the sensitive environment of the Gulf of Mexico, remember that only a few weeks ago Florida was debating the possibility of allowing off-shore drilling along its coast. The environmental community staunchly recommended against it – because the consequences of the environmental damage associated with off-shore drilling were an unacceptable risk to the economy as well as the environment of our beautiful state.

Likewise, as county commissions in Hardee and DeSoto Counties open their doors to expanded phosphate mining operations in the Peace River watershed we are inviting a similar kind of degradation to occur in our own backyards. A recent editorial in The DeSoto Sun complimented a decision by the county commission to approve a mining overlay which more than doubles the amount of land in the Pine Level area on both sides of Horse Creek that are designated for phosphate strip mining (an additional 17,000 acres). This decision by the commissioners has unquestionably legitimized the presence of Mosaic phosphate company in their midst and moved the county one step closer to strip mining operations with no regard for the recommendation of their advisory board or the will of their people.

We are told these days of wide-spread disenchantment with incumbent politicians who are oblivious to the will of their constituents. It could not have been any more obvious than at the May 25 Hearing in Arcadia when public sentiment was overwhelmingly opposed to the approval of the comp plan amendment allowing for additional mining by the people who live in the Pine Level community. As always we were reminded repeatedly that the amendment would not allow mining, and that there will be a rigorous DRI process before mining can actually be permitted. Yet, on the other hand, had the DeSoto Commissioners denied the expansion of the mining overlay that night, the door would have been closed on phosphate strip mining in the county – precluding a DRI.

The Sun Herald editorial extols the record of mine reclamation since 1975. In fact only 28% of all of Mosaic’s mined land has fulfilled total reclamations requirements. 37% is suitable only for “industrial” standards – that is, development like waste disposal and power plants. Mined land is no longer suitable for productive agriculture which is historically the basis of the DeSoto County economy. Reclaimed soil is substandard and is typically overgrown with cogon grass which is non-native and unsuitable for cattle forage. There is no denying that at least 40% of mined lands will end up as clay slime disposal – which is unsuitable for construction and agriculture, and considered by the US EPA as a “permanent impact” on the Peace River watershed. According to the Soil Suitability Index “where reclaimed overburden and sand tailing landforms are situated in the path of urban growth, and real estate values are elevated…  such lands may be viewed as developable. Little if any urban development has taken place on waste clay disposal sites, which is understandable given the extreme physical shortcomings of clays as support for foundations.” This would explain why the vast majority of old phosphate land, even that which has been “reclaimed,” lies fallow and abandoned. Most of it is uneconomical for any kind of development.

To contend that the phosphate controversy is “not real,” as the Sun editorial apparently does, is naïve and inattentive. There is an abundance of scientific documentation on the negative effects of mining on the watersheds, agriculture, and urban development by the US Geological Survey, the EPA, DEP, and Water Management District. I suggest your readers go to Google Maps and check out the landscape from Ft. Green to Bradley Junction. Have a good look at what phosphate strip mining has done. All the water entrapped in those mine cuts and clay slime impoundments is water that once contributed to the aquifer which supplies our rivers and coasts. Also check out the 3PR website www.protectpeaceriver.org to consult the studies and other evidence that support our case against the phosphate industry.

Dennis Mader

President 3PR (People for Protecting Peace River)

Ona, FL

DeSoto County P&Z Board Deny Mosaic Foothold-May 5, 2010

Nothing less than a historical victory for the Peace River Watershed was won last night!  In an opening volley of what is sure to be an ongoing battle to preserve and protect the Peace River and its attendant watershed and nearby environs, the will of the people was honored.

On Tuesday, May 4th, during a public hearing before the DeSoto County Board of Adjustments and Planning, a diverse group of Floridians, including a courageous 16 year old boy,  an implacable Octogenarian Matriarch, a nationally recognized economist and a local photographer, spoke out in ways simple and complex against the adoption of a General Phosphate Mining Overlay prepared by Mosaic that would have opened the door to eventual strip mining of approximately 26,000 +/- acres in the fragile ecosystem of the Pine Level/Big Slough watersheds.

The wonderful news is that the Board listened attentively enough to the numerous people that spoke against the amendment of the Future Land Use Map, that they voted 5-2 to deny initial transmittal of Mosaic’s request to the Department of Community Affairs!

This important decision will be at the center of further discussion when the DeSoto County Commissioners meet to consider the same proposal on May 25, 2010.

We the People of this region are the only voice the Peace River has.  We have the power and the responsibility to halt the expansion of the ravages of phosphate strip mining that has made an uninhabitable “moonscape” of huge portions of Polk, Hillsborough, Manatee and portions of Hardee Counties.

It up to us to make sure that DeSoto County remains pristine and beautiful and that the unsound mining practices of the multinational conglomerate that is Mosaic, never, ever has the opportunity to creep into DeSoto county to wreak permanent environmental destruction on our River, creeks, farms and groves.

This, our collective and mutual, Home, is precious and unique in Florida.  The Peace River is the lifeblood, the primary artery that feeds and sustains us all.  Let us, each and everyone, whether a public servant or private steward be informed of all the facts available so as to make an informed choice of how our Peace River is sustained and protected for generations to come.

The preservation and protection of a time honored way of life is at stake.  The proposed “mining overlay” that Mosaic has cobbled together with the help of DeSoto County staff, is nothing less than a death warrant for our way of life.

A coalition of several area citizen groups, including Protect Our Watersheds, Sierra Florida, ManaSota-88 and People for Protecting Peace River (3PR) submitted to DeSoto County a 7 page letter, along with a table of 11 Exhibits, that gives an excellent overview of concerns about the impacts of phosphate mining on our environment and on the health and well being of our communities.

Since these documents were submitted to become part of the public record they are available for your inspection.  I urge every Citizen in the area to “Get the Real Story” of the permanent, irreversible destruction of our watershed that a “Phosphate Mining Overlay” would usher in.

You may also review this document and others that pertain to this critical issue on the People for Protecting Peace River website:

http://www.protectpeaceriver.org/

Please mark your calendars and tell everyone you know to join you at the next meeting of the DeSoto County Commissioners on Tuesday, May 25, 2010.  Let our voices ring in the halls of our Elected officials: Tell them:  We the People, don’t want phosphate strip mining in DeSoto County!

See you there!

Respectfully submitted:

Genny Lee Hendry

Community Liaison

3PR

863-993-3249