Mandatory Nonphosphate - Fuller's Earth Mines
The Mining and Minerals Regulation Program, administers the laws and regulations related to the reclamation of mined land and the protection of water resources (water quality, water quantity and wetlands) at fuller's earth mines.
What is fullers earth?
Fuller's earth has been used for its absorbent properties since ancient times. It was used by "fullers" to "full" (remove) grease and fat from woolen cloth. Fuller's earth is a general term that can be applied to many types of clay that have an exceptional ability to absorb coloring materials from oils of animal, vegetable, and mineral origin. In Florida, the term is narrowly limited. Subsection 378.403(6), Florida Statutes, defines fuller's earth as clay possessing a high absorptive capacity consisting largely of montmorillonite or palygorskite. Fuller's earth clay includes attapulgite.
Who is mining fuller's earth in Florida?
Fuller's earth mining began in Gadsden County in 1895. This ore deposit extends from Gadsden County into Decatur and Grady Counties, Georgia. One mine is operating in Marion County.
How is fuller's earth mined in Florida?
Fuller's earth occurs as a clay stratum. Over this stratum is a sand and clay overburden lacking marketable material. At some locations, there may be a second, deeper fuller's earth stratum. The two fuller's earth strata are separated by overburden.
Prior to mining the trees are harvested by normal silvicultural practices. Topsoil is removed and stockpiled along the edge of the mine for later use in reclamation. The overburden is removed by dragline, bulldozer, or pan scrapers and stocked piled for use in reclamation. The fuller's earth is removed by dragline and loaded onto trucks for transport to the processing plant. The mined out areas are then backed filled with overburden, recontoured, covered with topsoil, and revegetated to meet reclamation standards.
Mining and Minerals Regulation Home
Last updated: September 21, 2011
2600 Blair Stone Road M.S. 3500
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
850-245-8336 (phone) / 850-245-8356 (fax)