Mandatory Nonphosphate - Heavy Mineral 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 heavy mineral mines.
What are heavy minerals?
Subsection 378.403(7), Florida Statutes, defines heavy minerals as those resources found in conjunction with sand deposits which have a specific gravity of not less than 2.8, and includes an admixture of such resources as zircon, staurolite, and titanium minerals as generally mined in this state. Heavy mineral mining began in Florida in 1916. A variety of minerals are found in the heavy mineral sand deposits. These include the titanium minerals of ilmenite, leucoxene and rutile. Ilmenite and rutile are primary source materials used to manufacture titanium dioxide pigments. These pigments are often used in the manufacture of paint, varnish and lacquers, plastics, and paper. Another heavy mineral, zircon, has been marketed to the ceramics industry.
Who is mining heavy minerals in Florida?
Where are the heavy mineral mines in Florida?
Heavy minerals have been found and mined in several locations in Florida. At this time, the industry is mining only in Bradford, Clay, and Putnam Counties, and small areas in Baker and Duval Counties.
How are heavy minerals mined in Florida?
Prior to mining the trees are harvested by normal silvicultural practices. One foot of topsoil is removed and stockpiled along the edge of the mine for later use in reclamation. The topsoil storage piles are also used to contain sediment and stormwater within the project limits.
The heavy minerals occur as sand grains mixed in with lighter clays and quartz sand grains. Within the ore body, less than 5 percent of the grains may be heavy minerals. Above the ore body is the overburden of clays and quartz sand without marketable product. Two mining methods are used: suction dredging and auxiliary mining.
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)