After three days of fierce opposition from many community members in rural Manatee County, the County's Board of Commissioners approved, in a 5-2 vote, the request by the Mosaic Company to extend mining operations in a property known as Wingate East.
The vote approved a change in zoning for the Wingate East property to allow Mosaic to transition from it's current agricultural use to phosphate mining. Mosaic already currently operates phosphate mining in other parts of Manatee County.
The decision came after a third day of Land Use hearings; normally a quiet affair they hearings were instead filled with two full days of public comments from angry and scared residents who live next to the property or near the Peace River and Myakka River watersheds.
The Mosaic Company says they still need to acquire operational permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and another permit from the county, but those steps are considered simply procedural and Mosaic expects to be complete these steps within about 1 year.
Public opposition in Manatee County ramped up following the opening of a toxic sinkhole at a Mosaic plant in nearby Polk County.