Local people, mining responsibly
Updated: Mar 29, 2019
HPS Enterprises II, LLC is an organization comprising the Hazen, Howard, Pritchett, and Shadd families. They are landowners, farmers, cattlemen, and hunters who have owned and cared for thousands of acres in North Central Florida. They were raised with the rural and agricultural traditions and values of the region, and have been tending the same land for generations.
As early as the 1930s, phosphate reserves were known to lie beneath the surface of the lands held by these families. Phosphate is a leading ingredient in the fertilizers used by farmers to renourish depleted soils and enhance food production around the world. It is also found in many common household items, and has important economic and strategic value in this country, and internationally. With phosphate reserves in other parts of the state dwindling, the families believed it was increasingly likely someone would seek to extract the phosphate from their property in the future. After careful research and investments in technological development, the families decided to undertake this extraction themselves—benefiting themselves, the region, and food production in this country and elsewhere. By controlling the mining process, using the most advanced methods, the families can remain stewards of the land, helping to ensure its agricultural use and scenic beauty will be preserved for future generations.
Using new, improved mining methods, HPS proposes to develop a phosphate mine of about 10,835 acres in Bradford and Union Counties, straddling a portion of the New River. About 5,200 acres of the mine property will be in the western portion of Bradford County, with the balance proposed for adjacent lands in Union County. The land is expected to be mined with two draglines—one working in each county—that will excavate in 50-acre blocks, with approximately 300 acres of land mined each year in each county. Care has been taken to avoid ecologically sensitive areas, and minimize impacts where possible.
As the mining process moves across the land, previously mined sections of earth will be returned to their original condition and function. This process is known as “reclamation.” HPS has invested significant time and energy developing a state-of-the-art reclamation method that will reclaim the land faster than was previously possible, and without the residual evidence of mining known as “clay settling areas” that are prevalent in other parts of the state. In addition, no processing of the phosphate rock will take place on site, which means the mounds of processing waste (phosphogypsum), known as “gypstacks,” that are frequently associated with phosphate mining will not be present.
Mining will not result in permanent damage to the land. This is why it is classed as a temporary land use. It is also the reason the HPS families agreed to undertake this venture. The land is their heritage. Recovery of the land completely and quickly is vital to these families. The families are committed to continuing to use the land for its present purpose—growing crops, raising cattle, and silviculture—during and after mining.
In the coming weeks, please return to this space for further details regarding the HPS proposal, and how it will benefit Bradford County and the entire region.