The Mosaic Co. announced it will vigorously pursue all options, including appeals, to defend itself against an injunction entered last week by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
This injunction prevents all mining activities on the Hardee County extension of Mosaic’s South Fort Meade phosphate mine in Central Florida. As previously disclosed, the Company is defending a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club that seeks to prevent Mosaic from extending its mining permit into Hardee County.
“We are surprised and disappointed that the District Court granted another preliminary injunction after being expressly instructed by the appellate court in April to rule on the merits of this case,” said Richard Mack, Mosaic’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel. “The inclusion of uplands mining in the injunction is particularly unwarranted, because such mining does not require a federal permit. In fact, the Judge has indicated on the record, including in his July 2010 injunction, that uplands mining is permissible. We do not believe the injunction is supported by the overwhelming facts or the law, and we will vigorously pursue all options to obtain relief, as we successfully did with the previous injunction.
“The Court’s ruling is inconsistent with the overall regulatory environment in Florida and may bring significant hardship to our employees and local communities. Mosaic continues to stand by the validity of the Army Corps’ permit, which allows mining activities in wetlands on the Hardee County extension of South Fort Meade, subject to the permit’s stringent terms and conditions, including extensive post-mining reclamation. This permit received extensive scrutiny and contains more environmental protections than any Florida phosphate mining permit ever issued.”
Mosaic notified the District Court in April that it was preparing to commence mining of approximately 700 uplands acres and would protect the two “cattle ponds,” representing approximately 16 acres of isolated wetlands, with extensive state and federally approved best management practices. The Army Corps agreed with Mosaic and notified the District Court that it had no objection to Mosaic’s uplands-only mining contingency plan because no federal permit was required to mine uplands.
Mosaic believes it will be able to support planned finished phosphate fertilizer production levels through the end of fiscal 2012 through a combination of existing phosphate rock inventories, higher output from its other Florida mines, increasing shipments from the Company’s Miski Mayo joint venture, and supplemental purchases of phosphate rock from third parties. Mosaic’s initial analysis indicates that the combination of higher costs for purchased phosphate rock and unabsorbed fixed costs could increase fiscal 2012 pretax costs by approximately $200 million.
Mosaic intends to seek a stay of the preliminary injunction pending appeal as to the uplands-only mining. The Company hopes to receive a ruling regarding the stay within the next few months.
Should a stay of the preliminary injunction not be granted, Mosaic estimates that the legal process could take 12 to 24 months to review these issues.
Source: The Mosaic Co. news release