Mosaic’s Florida Phosphate operations got a visit from the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week to see firsthand how the company is implementing environmental best practices.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler was joined by the agency’s regional head, Mary Walker, Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Steube and Fertilizer Institute President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch.
”We’re honored to host Administrator Wheeler, Regional Administrator Walker, Congressman Steube and their teams for a tour of our Central Florida Operations which are critical to American and global food security,” Mosaic CEO Joc O’Rourke said.
“Respect for the natural environment is essential to the sustainability of our business. As such, we welcome the opportunity to showcase our facilities, world-class reclamation and discuss the company’s sustainability targets and our progress on key issues such as environmental performance.”
During the walkthrough, the quartet learned how the company is working to mitigate environmental impacts through responsible mine planning, permitting, operation and reclamation practices.
“Mosaic has worked closely with EPA to reclaim areas that had previously been mined and on ways to lessen its environmental footprint,” Wheeler said. “Mosaic is an example of a company that seeks to improve environmental outcomes and create good-paying jobs at the same time.”
Walker added, “On this tour, I have seen the great work Mosaic has accomplished by returning mined lands to productive use. EPA’s regional office is committed to continue working with Mosaic on their land conservation efforts.”
The group toured a handful of facilities, starting with Mosaic’s Four Corners mine, where general manager Kenny Miller, discussed the company’s efforts to maximize water recycling and reuse in the mining process and its investments in initiatives aimed at reducing energy use and emissions.
The group then did a walkthrough of Mosaic’s 500-acre reclaimed wetland and heard about the company’s comprehensive reclamation plans that promote hydrologic function and biodiversity as the mined lands are transitioned back to use for both wildlife and people.
Finally, the crew toured the company’s gypsum stacks and an emissions-free cogeneration facility.
Phosphogypsum, a byproduct material of phosphate fertilizer production, is by regulation disposed of in massive, above-ground piles, commonly called “stacks.”
A recent request given the greenlight at EPA will allow phosphogypsum to be used in government road construction projects. Mosaic said the putting the material to use will further reduce environmental impacts and make for an overall more sustainable operation.
Mosaic’s Florida phosphate accounts for nearly 65% of U.S. farmers’ supply of granular phosphate fertilizer, and 12% of the global supply.
“Florida’s phosphates are essential nutrients needed to balance soil, grow crops and produce land-saving high crop yields, supporting our local economy and global food production,” Steube said.
“I am pleased to learn more about Mosaic’s dedication to protecting the environment through continuously improving processing practices and investing in modern land reclamation to return former mined areas to public park lands — we will continue to work with them as they work with state and local leaders to be a good corporate neighbor to Floridians and our ecosystem.”