Mosaic, DeSoto County to host phosphate workshop on May 31 at 9 am

By DANIEL SUTPHIN, The Daily Sun Staff Writer

ARCADIA — DeSoto County Commissioners will hold a public workshop at 9 a.m., Tuesday at the Turner Center, 2250 NE Roan St, Arcadia, FL 34266, regarding Mosaic and the potential of phosphate mining. For more info, visit

Mosaic owns around 23,000 acres of farmland in DeSoto County. The company wants 14,000 of those acres rezoned to allow mining.

The workshops are part of a 2019 dispute settlement between the county and Mosaic, after county commissioners denied the rezoning in 2018. They are set to continue through 2023, when Mosaic plans to resubmit its rezoning request to DeSoto commissioners.

No official action concerning phosphate mining will be taken by the workshop.

The workshop is on the topic of “beneficiation.”

Beneficiation is the process that occurs when the matrix is sent to the plant via pipeline and the phosphate is separated from the sand and the clay,” said Mosaic representative Heather Nedley. “The phosphate rock or ore is then ready to be sent to one of our manufacturing facilities for production into agricultural fertilizer. Our phosphate mines have a beneficiation plant which is different from the plant operations in manufacturing.”

Presenters will include:

  • Chelsea Kucharsky, senior manager, operations, Mosaic.
  • Travis McClenithan, senior manager, operations, Mosaic.
  • John Yasalonis, manager, digital deployment, Mosaic.

After the presentations and board discussion, the public will have an opportunity to address the board and present relevant information on the topic being discussed at the workshop.

Phosphate mining companies like Mosaic use clay settling areas (CSA)  to store phosphatic clay during the mining process. Clay, sand and phosphate are all part of the phosphate ore, or matrix, that is mined.

Those particles are split up by “cyclone” machines, floated in water and sent through pumps into the CSAs to settle.

Part of the beneficiation process involved in this requires “conditioning” and uses “reagents” such as fatty acids and fuel oil, which is distilled from petroleum.

At each CSA, dams are also required to contain the water and other particles.

While county officials will take no action at the workshop, there is expected to be plenty of opposition from those who don’t want phosphate mining in DeSoto.

“I really believe that we are going to stop the Mosaic, 2023 beneficiary plan in DeSoto County,” said Tim Ritchie, a longtime Charlotte County resident and activist. “I believe Mosaic is terrified. They’re scared, because we’re telling them, ‘no.’”