As Mosaic mines and processes the essential minerals used to replenish agricultural soils around the world, we are part of the global drive to achieve greater crop yields, providing better income for farmers while reducing the pressure to clear for more cropland. Our mining operations represent a temporary use of the land, and we’re leading the industry in developing effective methods of returning mined lands to productive uses for both wildlife and people.
The Science and Practice of Reclamation
Our Florida Phosphate operations reclaim every acre of land we mine, with an emphasis on the connectivity of natural systems to ensure viable ecosystems and to maximize biodiversity. In 2011, we mined 2,255 acres and reclaimed 6,474 acres in Central Florida. Mosaic has preserved more than 19,000 acres in permanent conservation easements, acres that include all areas designated as non-impacted floodplain, preservation and granted conservation easements for existing mines and permits.
Mosaic is working closely with local wildlife agencies, and in some cases, exceeding regulatory requirements. For example, Mosaic is leading research and testing best management practices for relocating burrowing owls, a Florida species of special concern. In addition, Mosaic’s Florida Phosphate operations relocated 754 vulnerable gopher tortoises in 2011.
Mosaic has partnered with Audubon Florida to manage the Richard T. Paul Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary in Hillsborough County. In 2011, Mosaic provided a grant to install wave-attenuation devices around two barrier islands owned by Mosaic, with nearly 18,000 nesting birds. These devices intercept ship wakes and storm waves to prevent further erosion, loss of nesting island habitats and ground predators from invading the bird colonies.
The Mosaic Company Foundation is partnering with Tampa Bay Watch in Tampa Bay on a multi-year oyster bed restoration project. Oyster reef restoration helps to filter the entire watershed and provides critical habitats for other species. As the project begins, employees of Mosaic will have opportunities to join in the hands-on conservation activities.
The Mosaic Company Foundation invested in a joint Audubon Louisiana and Audubon Florida habitat conservation initiative to expand coastal habitat stewardship. The initiative links the birds who summer near our Saskatchewan Potash operations and winter near our Florida Phosphate operations, as part of a hemispheric flyways program to reverse shorebird population declines.
Mosaic understands the global risks and opportunities that water scarcity represents for the environment, our operations and growers. Responsible use of water is a fundamental component of Mosaic's global sustainability vision. Our water management programs actively engage in facility-specific and business unit-wide initiatives to reduce our water footprint.
In 2012, Mosaic reused or recycled approximately 94.8 percent of water at Florida Phosphate Concentrate Operations and 95.7 percent of water at Florida Phosphate Mineral Operations. Over the last 20 years, these operations have decreased groundwater use by more than 50 percent. In addition, at Mosaic's Bartow, Florida, facility, employees and contractors generated ideas that not only reduced environmental risk, but made good business sense, saving more than $2.8 million in reduced reagent usage and improved phosphate recovery.
In 2012, Mosaic's Canadian potash facilities helped preserve water quality offsite by maintaining a zero-discharge policy, with the capture of surface water runoff from the sites. In certain circumstances of high precipitation events, offsite discharges of surface water runoff are warranted and are approved in advance by the Ministry of Environment. Any excess brine from facility operations is evaporated or injected into pre-existing deep brine formations. Our Canadian Potash business unit shaft mining operations are able to satisfy approximately 89% percent of their water needs through recycling and reuse.
Risks and Opportunities
Global economic growth has given rise to accelerated rates of water use that, coupled with population growth, demand a globally integrated, sustainable and cost-effective approach to water resource management.
At Mosaic, we understand the risks and opportunities that water scarcity represents for the environment, our operations and growers. Future changes in rainfall patterns, storm intensities and temperature levels will likely vary by geographic region and could impact traditional methods of growing crops. Mosaic's balanced approach to crop nutrition will be a strategy to mitigate the adverse effects of drought, floods, storms and plant disease.
In an effort to better understand and prepare for water-related risks and opportunities, Mosaic is:
- Developing new fertilizer blends to optimize yields.
- Identifying sustainable and cost-effective technical improvements that preserve water resources and improve productivity.
- Working with regulatory agencies in Florida to voluntarily reduce permitted peak consumption.
- Developing strategies to drive long-term water management improvements around water consumption, inventory monitoring and use reductions through processed water recycling.
- Through the Mosaic Company Foundation, making community investments in partnerships that help protect habitats and restore watersheds, including our partnership with Tampa Bay Watch.
Case Study: Bartow Water Use Reduction Efforts
Mosaic's Bartow, Florida, facility kicked off an initiative to reduce water consumption in May 2011, with the goal of reducing process water inventory by 500 million gallons in one year. Not only did the facility reach that goal in 10 months, but it also exceeded its one-year goal by approximately 100 million gallons. The initiative focused on identifying new opportunities to reduce fresh water usage and reuse process water, as well as working to reduce process water inventory through the use of reverse osmosis and evaporation.
After learning about the water reduction initiative and its importance, employees and contractors at Bartow immediately got involved and started generating ideas to meet the goal, including installing mechanical pump seals, eliminating fresh water usage from the ball mill system, stopping condensate/steam leaks, extending demineralization regeneration cycles, installing low-flow toilets and keeping water levels in balance, particularly during heavy rain and hurricane seasons. Not only did these changes reduce environmental risk, they made good business sense. Bartow was able to save more than $2.8 million in reduced reagent usage and improved phosphate recovery.
Energy and Air
Our three-pronged approach of energy management through cogeneration, conservation and greater efficiency aims to lead the industry in reducing the energy we use and maximizing the clean energy we generate.
Cogeneration at Mosaic
Both our Potash and Phosphates business units are committed to maximizing their use of cogeneration, the process of simultaneously processing waste heat and energy. In 2012, Mosaic’s phosphates business avoided $90 million in expenditures on electricity by producing enough electrical energy to satisfy 39 percent of companywide demand through cogeneration, the process of converting waste heat to energy. By producing and using its own clean energy, Mosaic also avoided approximately 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions—the equivalent of taking an estimated 195,000 cars off the road.
Transportation is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions for companies globally, but by working together we are lowering costs to our customers and the environment. In October 2011, the Ultra Colonsay, a new sea transport vessel capable of carrying approximately 60,000 metric tonnes of potash was commissioned, helping us deliver our products with a lower greenhouse gas profile. Additionally, Mosaic’s Florida Phosphates supply chain is in the process of converting to a natural gas-powered truck fleet, which will result in significantly lower emissions and is estimated to save at least $1 million annually. We continue to drive down fuel consumption and support local economies by building relationships with local service providers and suppliers. In 2012, local vendors satisfied 58.6 percent of our supply chain needs in Phosphates (United States only) and 63.91 percent in Potash (Canada and U.S.).
Mosaic's company-wide focus on efficient processes and waste minimization is designed to reduce the footprint of our mining and processing facilities. We are committed to the proper management of byproducts from our mining and manufacturing operations, as well as responsible management of byproducts related to our legacy facilities.
We strive to effectively manage and control the potential environmental impacts of all solid wastes we generate, because it is our responsibility to safeguard the land from which we extract vital natural resources. Byproducts such as salt and brine from our Potash business unit and phosphogypsum and clay from our Phosphates business unit must be managed in a manner that is safe for both present and future environments.
At Esterhazy, our K1 facility reclaims portions of waste salt for sale as road salt, while K2 reclaims waste salt for backfill to stabilize inflow areas. In addition, our Belle Plaine facility reclaims waste salt for use in water softening and the food industry.
Mosaic is actively conducting research on alternative uses of phosphate clay settling areas in Florida in order to minimize our footprint. Future uses of these areas may include natural habitats, agricultural production, recreation, tree farms and alternative energy production.
In pursuit of operational excellence, both our Potash and Phosphates business units have implemented complementary programs aimed at improving resource management, analysis and accountability — Momentum and ROIC Works! (return on invested capital) , respectively.
Momentum is a program that’s designed to help our Potash business unit manage extensive expansion projects over the next 10 years. In November 2011, the Colonsay Building Momentum–Harnessing Excellence project was launched in order to improve production and development to consistently mine 14,500 tons per day, develop a consistent mill capacity of 700 tons per hour and produce an average of 4,200 tons of finished product per day.
In pursuit of these goals, the mine operations at Colonsay is evaluating alternative methods for controlling floor heaves (movement of the mine floor). Two-rotor mining machines are currently used for this function, which has proven to be inefficient as it prevents the miner from cutting at a targeted rate. In response, the team is exploring the concept of using a skid steer with an attachment mounted on the front that would be used to cut slots in the floor. The skid steer will also be accessible for other jobs at the face, helping keep the mining area better organized. The use of this technique will enable the miner to spend more time cutting full face, increasing our ability to consistently meet our production targets, reduce costs and become more efficient.
The mill operations team has completed the diagnostic phase and has begun working on projects that will help improve the overall safety of the mill and increase its throughput to 700 tons per day. To ensure this happens, the team has started developing standard operation procedures for compaction, as well as improving equipment availability.
In October 2011, the installation of a new crystallizer vessel was completed at our Belle Plaine potash solution mine, an important aspect of the expansion program at the mine that will contribute significantly to energy efficiency.
The Momentum wave at Esterhazy K1 spurred improvements to the site’s bird feed tank. Production from this tank feeds the site’s de-watering centrifuges, but frequently malfunctioned due to improper mixing that resulted in inconsistent feed and produced high-density slugs that shut down the tank. However, Momentum improvements included recommissioning the existing mixer within the tank and redesigning the tank’s suction. The improvements allowed the site to reduce its leach water usage, which, together with increased plant availability, increased productivity by 53 tons per operating day, or about 15,000 tons per year. The financial savings was approximately $4.5 million per year.
These are just a few examples of the measurable results that are being achieved on behalf of the Momentum project in our Potash business unit. All activities are ultimately aimed at improving efficiency and reducing the energy intensity of our operations, which directly translates to the reduction of Mosaic’s carbon footprint.