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Mosaic Co. settles Fla. phosphate mine lawsuit

Tue, 02/21/2012 - 2:13pm
The Associated Press

A settlement announced Tuesday between the Mosaic Co. and environmental groups may allow full capacity to resume at a Florida mine that accounts for nearly a fifth of the country's phosphate rock production.

The Plymouth, Minn.-based company said that with court approval of the settlement, Mosaic could resume full production at its South Fort Meade Mine near Bowling Green, Fla.

"We're hopeful this agreement provides the foundation to continue our constructive dialogue with these interested stakeholders as we look to the future," said Richard Mack, Mosaic's Executive Vice President and General Counsel. "It's especially encouraging that this settlement includes a significant public benefit by conserving the Peaceful Horse Ranch property."

The mine has been working at a reduced capacity since 2010 because of a lawsuit over the site's federal wetlands permit.

Under the settlement, Mosaic will donate the nearly 4,200-acre Peaceful Horse Ranch for permanent conservation and must preserve about 130 acres of land eligible to be mined by the company.

Citi analyst P.J. Juvekar said in a statement Tuesday that full production could add up to $0.30 of earnings per share yearly for the company.

"Assuming court approval of the plan, this settlement should end uncertainty regarding the mine, which has been a drag on the stock over the past 18+ months, in our view," Juvekar said in the statement.

The complaint was filed by the Sierra Club, along with Manasota-88 and People for Protecting the Peace River. An email seeking comment from the Sierra Club wasn't immediately returned on Tuesday.

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