As years advanced, new mining ideas came forth and by 1905, phosphate extraction was done using steam shovels. This not only made the work easier but also much faster compared to the ancient tool used. In areas where the water was too high for the shovels, steam dredges and barges were applied. Centrifugal pumps were also used to extract river-pebble phosphate deposits in the Peace River. In the 1920s and 1930s the dawn of diesel power and electricity hit Florida, giving a new turn to Phosphate mining in the area.
With the introduction of electricity and diesel power, draglines were introduced. These are the new mining tools that are even being used today. Since draglines are driven by electricity, they became the most economical way of mining land pebble. They would also work pretty well in hard rock. In fact, thee tools significantly altered phosphate mining operations in Florida.
Mining of phosphate in Florida was done procedurally and the separation methods used included crushing, washing, screening and picking out of silica using hands. However, this was enhanced more in the later years, enabling mining companies to start salvaging phosphate particles that they had earlier on been throwing away as waste. The advancements included the use of finer screens and increased equipment capacity. The significant change that occurred was the development of flotation that enabled easy and accurate separation of phosphate rock from sand.
From 1942 to date, various advancements have been made in phosphate mining in Florida. The most significant development is in the refinery of dragline mining, and processes of flotation. Due to the continued technology advancements, mining companies are now able to mine phosphate and even use rocks of low quality. As a result, Florida today accounts for most of the phosphate that is used in the US and also globally. In 2007, Florida produced 75% of the total phosphate used in the United States.
Today, quite a number of residents are raising concerns over the
phosphate risk in Florida. They claim that mining companies have depleted phosphate in central Florida and are concerned that they are shifting to Southwest, towards the southern Peace River. There is an outcry from the public who are concerned with the risks that the mining operations present to the river and Charlotte Harbor estuary. It is expected that after miners are done with mineral extraction in the area, they are headed to Horse Creek where people have also raised concerns over the risks that will be placed on the residents and wildlife when the strip mining process is launched.
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