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Phosphate Mining Expands in Manatee After Contentious Zoning Approval

Workers fix a drill bit on a phosphate dredger at Mosaic's Wingate Mine
Photo: Steve Newborn, WUSF
Workers fix a drill bit on a phosphate dredger at Mosaic's Wingate Mine

After a countertenors and hours-long public comment session, phosphate mining giant Mosaic was approved to expand its Manatee County operations. The expansion comes as the mining company faces continued scrutiny over a September spill at its Polk County phosphate plant saw more than 215 million gallons of contaminated water entered the Floridan Aquifer.

Manatee County Commissioners took weeks to decide on the company's request to expand its Wingate East Mine by more than double it's current 3,000 acres. Commissioners voted 5-2 to allow Mosaic to move forward with the expansion

Monday at 1:30 p.m. on Gulf Coast Live, WUSF reporter Steve Newborn joins the program to explain the expansion and the controversy surrounding it.

Also joining the program is Glenn Compton, a retired science instructor now working with advocacy group ManaSota-88, a nonprofit public health and environmental organization opposed to Mosaic's expansion and phosphate mining.

A representative from the Mosaic Company did not return messages requesting an interview or comment.

Copyright 2020 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.