The 'Phosphare Fields of Florida,
C. C. HOYER MILLER,
PUBLISHED JANUARY, 1891,
BY EDEN FISHER & CO., LOMBARD STREET, LONDON.
OPINIONS OF THE PRESS.
Financial Critic.-" Undeer the above title Mr. C. C. HovRR MILLAR
gives a well compiled account of his recent travels and explorations
in Florida, which should be mnist interesting reading to those interested in
Agricultural Gasute.--' The pamphlet gives an account of Mr.
MILLAR'S recent travels and explorations in Florida, and has all the
merits of first-hand information on a topic of growing importance."
Fisnacial Times.-" The author of this pamphlet describes the immense
phosphate fields that were discovered in South Florida by Mr. LE BARON
a few years back. Comparing these with the deposits of Northern France,
Belgium and Germany, Mr. MILLAR'arrives at the conclusion that the
.Florida fields are unrivalled both in extent and value, although they vary
Re than any oth*s in thickmes and quality."
Capialist.-" Mr. C. C. HoYER MILLAR has visited the district of
Athe Peace River ii South Florida, and Marion County, and made
explorations over Polk and De Soto Counties. .and proceeds to
describe the character of the deposits, the methods of raising the same,
the yield per acre and the cost. and discusses the application
ofcapital in this direction. Mr. MILLAR' pamphlet is full of. information."
Financial News.--"From a pamphlet on the subject by
Mr. C. C. HOYER MILLAR it seems unquestionable that this
portion o'f the United States is very rich in phosphates, .but, as in every.
other kind of business, success depends upon the price paid for the property
and in the cost involved in getting the product to market."
Fis.ascial World.--"Mr. HOYER MILLAR'S brochure is a valuable
contribution to the very limited stock of knowledge possessed by the
majority of Englishmen on the subject of the Florida Phosphate Fields.
Not many are aware that comparatively recently Americans went mad over
'phosphates.' and that a 'boom' set in with regard to Florida, only
paralleled by the gold boom of California. Naturally the thing was over-
done, and while there are the makings of a most lucrative industry in the
phosphate. fields, many lost their money in wild speculation. Worthless
estates were bought at fabulous prices, and sold afterwards for next to
nothing, a.nd the reaction, of course, damaged the prospects of legitimate
enterprise incalculably. To the geologist the State of Florida is intensely
interesting, and Mr. HoYER MILLAR deals with the origin and cause of the
vast deposits of phosphate of lime which exist in certain parts of the estate
in a veryiintelligent manner. But that which is of the greatest moment is
the commercial value of the deposits, and the facility for working them.
Mr. HOYI.R MILLAR speaks from personal knowledge on these subjects, and
those who are curious on the subject cannot do better than read his little
Com:rir-Inforwant. Bartow, Polk County, Florida.-" It is most ably
and intelligently written; the style is easy, graceful and entertaining, and the
substantial array of figures and facts, told in a frank and candid way, will
arrest the attention and command the confidence of the business man.
S. lThe book is the production of one who is thoroughly competent
to perform the task, and will result in great good to our country. Its moral
influence if we may be allowed such an expression) will be immenm tell
the story, as it does, of our wonderful wealth as a plain, unvarnished tale
FLORIDA,' SOUTH CAROLINA,
GIVING A COMPLETE ACCOUNT OF THEIR OCCURRENCE,
METHODS AND COST OF PRODUCTION, QUANTITIES
RAISED, AND COMMERCIAL IMPORTANCE.
C. C. HOYER MILLER.
i^-;"'?'^r *" ^A r W -
*'jt vP a" ^
F55' 3. (4-
PRINTED Br EDEM FISHER & Co., 9g-9, FENCHURCH STruT,
50, LOMBARD STaRUT, .C.
ALTHOUGH there is an abundance of literature upon the
subject of the geological formation and chemical analysis
of the various phosphates which have hitherto been discovered,
yet it appears to me that the practical, though possibly sordid,
side of the question has been rather neglected. Since, however,
the phosphate mining industry is being carried on with the
primary intention and hope of obtaining satisfactory returns
from a pecuniary rather than a scientific point of view, I have
ventured to give in the following pages an account, from a
practical standpoint, of my personal investigations during
the past few years in the phosphate fields of Florida, South
Carolina and Canada, This book is therefore addressed to
those who are commercially interested in phosphates, and should
it be the means of giving them fuller information than they
would be likely to gather elsewhere, then my efforts will be
C. C. HOYER MILLER.
x, PFNCHURCH AvNUEI, -LONDN, E.C.
February 28th, 1892.
1-' 1 3-
IMPORTANCE OF PHOSPHORIC ACID
SOURCES OF SUPPLY OF PHOSPHORIC ACID
THE PHOSPHATE MINING INDUSTRY
CLASSIFICATION 'OF MINERAL PHOSPHATES
S .. II
.. .. 14
.. .. .. 15
.. .. .. x6
.. .. .. 21
CHAPTER II.-FLORIDA PHOSPHATES.
TiEIR DISCOVERY .. .. .. .. .. .. 23
DESCRIPTION OF FLORIDA .. .. .. .. .. 26
THE PEBBLE DEPOSITS .. .. .. .. .. .. 28
DESCRIPTION OF THE PHOSPHATE PEBBLES .. .. .. 32
ANALYSIS OF THE LAND PEBBLES .. .. .. .. 35
S ,, RIVER PEBBLES .. .. .. .. 36
FORMATION or THE VARIOUS PEBBLE DEPOSITS .. .. 37
PEACE RIVER PHOSPHATE MINING .. .. .. 39
NAMES OF COMPANIES IN OPERATION ON PEACE RIVER .. 47
ALAFIA RIVER PHOSPHATE MINING .. .. .. .. 49
MANATEE, MYARKA AND CALOOSAHATCHIE RIVERS.. .. 50
BLACK RIVER PHOSPHATE .. .. .. .. 50
SHIPMENTS OF RIVER PHOSPHATE .. .. .. 51
PRICE oF RIVER LANDS .. .. .. .. ... 51
DUTY ON RIVER PHOSPHATE MINING .. .. .. .. 52
COST OF MINING RIVER PEBBLE AND COMPARISON OF THE
PHOSPHATE INDUSTRIES OF THE FLORIDA RIVERS
AND THE SOUTH CAROLINA RIVERS .. .. .. 58
LAND PEBBLE MINING .. .. .. .. .. 59
AREA AVAILABLE FOR SUCCESSFUL LAND PEBBLE MINING 68
CO4a OF PRODUCTION or LAND PEBBLE PHOSPHATE .. 69
LIsT or LAND PEBBLE COMPANIES .. .. .. 69
ThE FUTURE OF THE PEBBLE MINING INDUSTRY .. .. 70
THE ROCK DEPOSITS .. .. .. .. .. 72
DE CRiTrON OF THE ROCK PHOSPHATE .. .. 7
CHAPTER II.-FLORIDA PHOSPHATES-(Co tismd)
ROCK MINING .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 78
ANALYSIS Or ROCK PHOSPHAT .. .. .. .. .. 88
ANALYSIS OF CARGO rROM DUNNELLON DISTRICT .. 89
",, RocK PHOSPHATE .. .. .. 90
COST OF PRODUCTION or ROCK PHOSPHATE .. .. .. g'9
GRAVEL ROCK MINING .. .. .. .. .. 93
ANALYSIS OF GRAVEL ROCK .. .. .. .. .. 96
INFiLUENC OF FLORIDA PHOSPHATES ON THE MARKET .. 98
MARKET PRICE or FLORIDA HIGH-GRADE ROCK IN 1891 .. io6
SHIPMENTS or HARD ROCK PHOSPHATE .. .. .. 107
TH'd LABOUR QUESTION IN FLORIDA .. .. .. ... I09
FLORIDA PHOSPHATE MINING'AS AN INVESTMENT .. .. 110
ORIGIN oF FLORIDA PiIOSPHATES .. .. .. .. 115
FERTILISER MANUFACTURING IN FLORIDA .. .. .. 8I
ErrECTs or THE PHOSPHATE INDUSTRY ON FLORIDA .. 119
CHAPTER III.-SOUTH CAROLINA PHOSPHATES.
THE MARL BEDS .. .. .. .. .. 123
DISCOVERY OF THE PHOSPHATE ROCKS .. .. .. 125
COMMENCEMENT OP MINING OPERATIONS AND FIRST
SHPMENTS .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 3o
DtcSCRIPtON O r*THl PHOSPIATE ROCKS OR NODULES .. 132
ANIALYSId .. .' .. .. .. .. .. .. 134
ORJGIN O1 THE PHOSPHATE ROCKS .. .. .. 136
LOCATION AND EXTENT OF THE DEPOsrrT .. .. .. 143
LAND PHOSPHATE: DESCRIPTION OF STRATUM AND YIELD
PER ACRE .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 46
METHOD OF RAISING AND PREPARING THE
LAND PHOSPHATE .. .. .. .. .. 148
PROGRnE or THE LAND ROCK MINING INDUSTRY .. ,. 151
COST OF PRODUCTION or LAND ROCK .. .. .. .. 154
PRICES OBTAINED FOR .LAND RocK ... .. .. 54
QUAxTmrrs oF LAND ROCz STILL AVAILABLE .. .. 156
RIVER PHOSPHATE MINING .. .. .. .. x16
COST or. MINsIN RIVER ROCK .. .. .. .. .. 170
4 4 .
CHAPTER III.-SOUTH CAROLUINA PHOSPHATES-(Contiisd).
PRICES OBTAINED FOR RIVER ROCK .. .. .. .. 171
SHIPPING FACILITIES FOR LOADING RIVER ROCK .. .. 171
QUANTITIES RAISED OF LAND AND RIVER PHOSPHATE .. 172
THE SOUTH CAROLINA FERTILIZER MANUFACTURING IN-
DUSTRY .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 173
PROFITS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA PHOSPHATE INDUSTRY.. 176
FUTURE OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA PHOSPHATE INDUSTRY.. 177
CHAPTER IV.-CANADIAN PHOSPHATES.
DESCRIPTION OF THE MINING OPERATIONS
ANALYSIS OF CANADIAN APATITE
PREPARATION OF THE ORE
TRANSPORT .. ...
LIST OF COMPANIES OPERATING IN 1891
COST OF PRODUCTION
SHIPMENTS OF CANADIAN PHOSPHATE .
PRICES OF PHOSPHATE LANDS
PRESENT POSITION AND FUTURE OF
.. .. .. 205
APPENDIx.-ANALYSIS OF VARIOUS PHOSPHATES.
ENGLISH PHOSPHATES .. ..
SPANISH PHOSPHATES .. .
ALoGERI POSPHATES ....
FRENCH POSPHATES ....
SOME (FRENCH) PHosPATES ..
BEGAN PHOSPHATE ....
GERMAN PHOSPHATES AND NOWEGIAN APATITE
WEST INDIAN ISLANDS ..
GUANO .. .. .. ..
.. .. 222
,~';: jtw L -:~~r*3Y~ib~~~ ~~~ 9r9
The tissues of every kind of vegetation are composed of a
number of elements derived from the air, from water and from
the soil. Those elements, therefore, of which the earth is
deprived by agriculture, and which are not replaced by the
action of air and water, have to be restored artificially if the
life-supporting powers of the soil are to be kept in operation.
Chief among these elements are nitrogen, potassium and phos-
phorus, the last-named being the most indispensable for the
development of all plant and vegetable life.
Phosphorus is one of the most universally distributed of
all elements ; it is found in every kind of animal and vegetable
matter, as well as in most sedimentary and eruptive rocks, and
existed previously to the dawn of life.
The necessity of re-stimulating an exhausted soil was
discovered in very ancient times, but it is only during the
present century that any real knowledge of cause and effect
History shows that the excrement of birds was in use
among the Romans, and that in the 12th century the Arabians
and Peruvians used the guanos of their respective countries for
The waste clippings of bone and ivory from the button and
knife factories of Sheffield (England) were utilised as a manure
by the neighboring farmers about the middle of last century,
and. this was probably the first occasion when any non-nitrogenous
phosphatic material was thus employed. Towards the end of the
century greensand was used in considerable quantities in the
counties of Essex and Kent, and in the early part of the present
century bones were so greatly in demand for application to the
soil in a crushed form, that large imports were made from
foreign countries in addition to the home collections.
About this same period the marl beds of New Jersey, U.S.A.,
were beginning to be exploited, and their contents used for
enriching the agricultural lands of that State.
In France spent animal charcoal (bone black) began to be
used as a manure in 182s, and the results were so satifactory
that its employment for agricultural purposes soon made api
All this time the real cause of the stimulating effect of
these various materials seems to. have remained unknown,
although the results were thoroughly recognized and
It was apparently the French agricultural scientists who
were the first to attribute to the phosphoric acid contained in
the spent animal charcoal the beneficial effects resulting from
the application of this material to the soil, and suggestions were
made that the phosphates, discovered by Monsieur Berthier and
others about the year 182o, should be mixed with the animal
charcoal and crushed bones, and in 1841 a patent was taken out
for the application of phosphates for agricultural purposes.
In the year i84o Dr. Justus von Liebig, of Germany, who
based his experiments on the researches of his predecessors,
suggested the addition of sulphuric acid to crushed bones in
order to render soluble the phosphate they contained. The
phosphate of line in bones had hitherto been considered useless
owing to its being insoluble, and the fertilising element was
thought to be in the gelatine matter; in fact it was not until
the Duke of Richmond proved by his experiments in the year
x843, that bones deprived of their grease and gelatinous matter
were equally as efficacious as fresh bones, that the phosphoric
acid was recognized as being the valuable fertilising element.
Meanwhile Mr. J. B. Lawes (now Sir J. B. Lawes) put
Dr. Liebig's suggestions into practical effect, and began the
manufacture of artificial manures at Deptford, London, by
mixing sulphuric acid with the crushed bones. Soon afterwards
(1845) Professor Henslow recommended Cambridge coprolites*
(the analysis of which had been published by Monsieur
Berthier, about the year x82o) as being a material rich enough
in phosphate of lime to be a suitable substitute for bones, and
the various bone-crushing factories were quickly converted into
chemical fertilizer and superphosphate manufactories.
IMPORTANCE OF PHOSPHORIC ACID.
In order to show the great importance of phosphoric acid
in relation to agriculture it may be mentioned that one year's
crop in France-according to Monsieur Grandeau's recent
estimation-removes from the soil about 30o,ooo tons of
phosphoric acid, of which about one-half only is restored in the
shape of stable manure.
In like manner it is estimated that the crop of wheat,
maize, oats, barley, rye, buckwheat, hay and straw in the
United States means an annual loss to the soil of nearly one
and a-half million tons of phosphoric acid.
Further it has been shown that for every cow kept on
pasture lands throughout the summer, there are carried off not
less than 5o pounds of phosphate of lime in the shape of veal,
cheese and butter.
*NoTs.-Professor Henslow named thee nodules "coprolites,"
thinking that they were of coprolitic origin, lilk the nodules found in the
Lia formation. He soon discovered his error, but the name (which is
most leading, since real coprolites are of very rare occuirrme) has
never been altered.
These few instances are sufficiently striking to'show the
enormous annual loss of phosphoric acid that is going on in all
agricultural districts, and to prove the necessity for restoring
to the soil what is being thus carried off.
SOURCES OF SUPPLY OF PHOSPHORIC
By a curious coincidence the discoveries of Dr. Liebig were
published in the same year that the first few barrels of Peruvian
guano were imported into England. This new fertilizer, which
contained nitrogen in addition to phosphate,. became at
once so popular with the farmers that in the year 1845 the
imports amounted to 283,000 tons, and by the year 1861 no less
than 3,200,000 tons had been imported into the United Kingdom.
The success of this guano resulted in the discovery of other
guano deposits in the Pacific, on the east coast of South America,
in the West Indies, in South Africa and in the Arabian Gulf.
Of these only the Ichaboe, Patagonian and Falkland guanos
were nitrogenous, the other deposits being purely phosphatic.
Of the many guano deposits discovered nearly all have been
exhausted, and at the present date the supply of this material is
Bones, bone ash and bone meal continue to be a source of
supply of phosphoric acid, but the quantities available form but
a small proportion of the amount of phosphoric acid required
The use of mineral phosphates* on the other hand has
shown an enormous expansion since the early days when its
manufacture was first begun, and deposits have been worked
from time to time in the following countries :-Norway, Russia,
Germany, England, Belgium, France, Spain, Algeria, Canada,
United States (South Carolina and Florida), and many of the
West Indian Islands, and also in Mexico and Brazil.
In addition to the above a fresh source of supply of phos-
ph-oric acid in the shape of ground basic slag was introduced
into the European market about six years ago, and this material
has given such satisfactory results that the annual consumption
exceeds six hundred thousand tons.
These are the most important sources whence phosphoric
acid is obtained, but there are also various waste and other
products which supply smaller quantities.
THE PHOSPHATE MINING INDUSTRY.
Although Cambridge coprolites began to be worked as
early as the year 1845, and used for the manufacture of
chemical fertilisers, yet it was not ,till about the year 1870
that: the phosphate mining industry began to assume any
regularity or importance.
NoT.-The term minal phophates" is sed in the comawm ial
em, a contrasted with org ic phosphates, such as borne, bore shb ad
This was doubtless owing to the immense supplies of
guanos which were shipped in large quantities up to the
year 187o,* soon after which date the best deposits became
In the meantime the supplies of Cambridge coprolites had
been supplemented by the working of similar beds in Suffolk
In France the phosphates at Grandpre, in the Ardennes,
began to be exploited in 1856, and applied to the soil in a
ground state. Further discoveries were made at Quercy, in
the department of Lot, in x865, followed by the working in
I870 of the deposits of Lot-et-Garonne, Tarn-et-Garonne and
Aveyron, known commercially as Bordeaux phosphates. A
few years later the Boulogne coprolite deposits began to be
exploited and shipments made to the United Kingdom.
In Spain, phosphate mining commenced on a small scale
at Logrosan, in the province of Estramadura, about the year
1855, followed by mining near Caceres in x86o, where an
output averaging xo,ooo tons per annum was made up to 1875
from one mine alone.
In Norway, phosphates were discovered at Krageroe in
i854, and mining carried on for five years, during which time
13,o00 tons were extracted and shipped. The Oedegarden
deposits were not worked until after 1874.
*NoTr.-ioooo,oo tons had been exported from the Chincha IslandA alofe.
In Germany, the Nassau phosphate deposits were dis-
covered in 1864; mining was at once commenced, and the
phosphate exported, and also manufactured locally. Owing
to the competition from other countries in recent years, and
the high percentage of iron and alumina contained in these
Lahn phosphates, their export ceased some years ago, and the
whole production is now manufactured locally. From 2o,ooo
to 30,000 tons are raised annually.
Phosph ate deposits had also been opened in these years on
some of the West Indian Islands, the most important sources
being Navassa and Sombrero* Islands, from which places
considerable quantities were shipped both to the United
States and the United Kingdom.
In 1867 the South Carolina deposits began to be worked,
and in four years' time the annual production of land and river
rock had reached 65,00ooo tons.
The next ten years showed a great advance in the
production of phosphates. Belgium entered the arena in 1873
with phosphates from the neighbourhood of Mons, and France
began to supply larger quantities, 20,000 tons per annum being
exported from the Bordeaux district alone. In 1875 the
Ardennes and Meuse productions reached the figures of 25,000
and 41,000 tons respectively. In 1877, France produced
a total quantity of 115,000 tons.
*NoTz.-TTae island of Sombrero has been worked for over 30 year,
and has produced a total quantity of Soo,ooo tons of uniformly high-grade
In the West Indies the Islands of Curagao and Aruba
were now supplementing the output of high-testing phosphates,
and the shipments from these sources in i88o amounted to
over zo,ooo tons.
Spain was now producing and exporting larger quantities,
33,000 tons being shipped to the United Kingdom in 1874,
11,o00 tons in 1879 and 23,00ooo tons in i88o.
The world's' production of phosphates in I88o
have been about as follows :-
England (Cambridge, Bedford and Suffolk coprolites)
France (Ardennes, Meuse, Lot, Tarn-et-Garonne,
Aveyron, Boulogne, &c.)
Belgium (Mons District)
Germany (Lahn District)
Canada.. .. .
South Carolina (Land Rock) .
Do. (River Rock)
Curaqao, Aruba, and Sombrero Islands ..
Other West Indian Islands, Navassa, &c.
In the next ten years the sources
considerably. Spain, which in the years
.. .. .5,ooo
of supply altered very
1882 and 1883 shipped
a quantity of ioo,ooo tons to the United Kingdom alone, has
now practically ceased to export.
In France the old sources of supply for export have been
replaced by the newer fields in the Somme and other northern
Belgium has assumed an important place in the market,
about 50,00ooo tons per annum being raised in the neighbourhood
of Mons, while fresh deposits of large extent have recently
been discovered and worked near Liege.
The South Carolina deposits have been developed to an
enormous extent, consequent on the expansion of the chemical
fertilizer manufacturing industry in the United States, and a
new field has begun to be exploited in Florida.'
In z89o the production of phosphates had reached the
England (Coprolites) .. .. .. .. about 2o,ooo
France (Somme Deposits) .. .. .. .. 7o,ooo
Do. (Other Deposits) .. .. .. .. ,, 20o,o
Belgium (Mons District) .. .. .. ,, 50o,000
Do. (Liege District) .. .. .. .. 5 o,ooo
Germany .. .. .. .. .. .. 30,000
Norway .. .. .. .. .. zoo000
Canada.. .. .. 26,ooo
South Carolina (Land Deposits) .. .. .. .. 300,000
Do. (River Deposits) .. .. .. 237,000
Florida.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ,, 40,00ooo
West Indian Islands.. .. .. .. .. ,, o,ooo
Other Sources .. .. .. .. .. o,ooo
This rapid development is most remarkable, and clearly
shows a great future for the phosphate mining industry.
Agriculture and the demand for phosphoric acid are indisolubly
connected, and with the gradual though certain exhaustion of
the earth's soil there must be an ever increasing demand for
pphophoric acid to be replaced therein. It has beestatedongeod
authority that the United States are only using one quarter of
the quantity of fertilisers which should be employed 'to keep
pace with the annual extraction of the fertilising elements from
the soil. In Europe the manufacture and use of fertilisers in
countries, which a few years ago were content to do without
them, is making rapid strides. In fact the recognition of the
importance of phosphoric acid is apparent on all sides.
It seems safe therefore to assert that the phosphate mining
industry is still in its infancy, and that its future growth and
development are an absolute certainty.
CLASSIFICATION OF MINERAL
No exact geological classification of the various deposits of
phosphate has yet been made owing to the great difficulty of
deciding definitely to which formation certain deposits really
belong, for not only does the phosphate itself assume a great
variety of forms, but the sundry varieties also blend into one
another in a most perplexing manner.
The ordinary classification is a non-geological one, and
divides phosphates into mineral phosphates, whose origin
cannot be traced to animal life, and rock phosphates (more or
less mineralised) of organic origin.
The only pure mineral phosphates are the apatite deposits
of Norway and Canada, and the apatites of Spain found in
limited quantities at Jumilla, Zarza la Mayor and Ceclavin.
All these phosphates are crystalline in form.
The deposits of Nassau (Germany), Lot-et-Garonne, Tarn-
et-Garonne and Aveyron (south-west of France), Logrosan and
Caceres (Spain) are usually placed under the division of mineral
phosphates, and termed "phosphorite," an arbitrary name
which has no practical significance. There is much dispute as
to the origin of these phosphates, but most of the scientists
attribute to them an organic origin.
The term rock phosphates covers the rest of the field,
and includes in its different varieties phosphatic limestones,.
coprolites, nodular phosphates, concretionary, arenaceous or
sheet rock phosphates and bone beds.
Having thus described the manner in which the phosphate
mining industry came into existence, and given a rough outline
of its development, we will now proceed to a fuller account of
the phosphate deposits of Florida, South Carolina and Canada.
The existence of phosphate deposits in Florida has been
known for many years, but owing to a general belief that the
quantity was limited and the quality not commercially valuable,
no,regular examination was commenced until the close of the
The first to discover and appreciate the true value and
extent of the phosphates in South Florida was Mr. J. Francis
Le Baron, of Jacksonville, who, while making a survey on
behalf of the Government in the early months of the year
1881, came across the bars and beds of phosphate in Peace
River. He at once recognized the fact that the numerous
bones and teeth, hitherto considered merely interesting
curiosities, were phosphatic, and that the deposit was one of
enormous value. His work at that time prevented him from
Staking steps towards reaping any advantage from his discovery,
and it was not until December, 1886, that he was able to
24 Forida Phosphates. ,
visit the locality again. He then communicated ,with
northern capitalists, for whom he made a full ppt:
January, 1887, advising the purchase of about q
His negotiations for acquiring the lands ieuive
been protracted and finally to have proved unsuccessful, and
his golden opportunity was lost, for Colonel G. W. Scott, of
the G. W. Scott Manufacturing Company, Atlanta, Grorgiaf
had in the meantime heard of the deposits, and after a careful
survey, made very extensive purchases on the Peace River.
In the summer of the same year Mr. T. S. Moorehead, of
Pennsylvania, who had learnt from Mr. Le Baron that. there
was phosphate in Florida, though the secret of its location
bad not been mentioned to him, came south to look for the
deposit, and was fortunate enough to discover and purchase
the now famous bars at Arcadia. supportedd by Colonel Scott,
who agreed to purchase all his output, Mr. Moorehead
started actual operations on a very small scale, under the
name of the Arcadia Phosphate Company, and in May, I888,
the first shipment of Florida phosphate was made, ten car-loads
being dispatched to Colonel Scott's fertilizer works in Aj anta,
Shipments of phosphate were now made qWiiy t
Colonel Scott's works, and though the railroad car wos
actually labelled Florida Peace RivegPhosphate for the 0. W.
Scott Manufacturing Company," more than twelve ltOtls
elapsed before the outside world appears to have taken ao*i
of thisnew industry -..
Following upon the steps of these developments in
Southern Florida came the news in 1889 of the existence of
phosphates in Marion County. It was in May of that year
that Mr. Albertus Voght, while sinking'a well near Dunnellon,
noticed- some rock which aroused his curiosity, and which
upon analysis proved to be high-grade phosphate. is fact
transpired in the autumn of that year, and led to an epidemic
of prospecting, the results of which were so surprising that in
a very short space of time an excitement and fever set in, which
have not been parallelled since the Pacific Coast gold craze
of some forty years ago. Every train was crowded with
prospecting parties armed with spades and withpshovels, with
chemicals and with camping-out apparatus. The backwoods
were dotted with numerous camps ; diggers were hired at fancy
prices, and the lucky owners of vehicles and animals of any
kind found their exorbitant demands readily agreed to. Men
who had been trying in vain to get rid pf their lands at any
price suddenly found themselves independent for life; where
single dollars had been eagerly sought, fifties were now refused,
and hundreds readily offered and paid. Speculators invaded
every town; lands were bought up right and left regardless
of prices, resold again at still higher prices, until the newspapers
seriously stated that Florida was richer than the whole of the
rest of the United States put together. A few head-lines from
lading newspapers may be mentioned to show the state of
the public pulse, "the entire gulf a rich phosphate bed" ;
"mAlims on millions in it"; "an acre worth from $30,00
to $128,000o "; "a gigantic bonanza"; "waste lands will
26 Florida Phosphates.
blossom as the rose "; millions of money in South Florida
lands"; Marion, Citrus, and Hernando Counties to become a
veritable El Dorando.
DESCRIPTION OF FLORIDA.
The popular idea that Florida was a flat country composed
of alternate areas of deep sand-banks and impassable swamps
seems to have prevailed even in Washington, for the Geological
Survey of the U..S.A., which has done such thorough and
valuable work in other States, omitted Florida entirely from
the scope of their investigations. Consequently there is a
great void of scienttifc data upon the geology of the State, and
the only available information to be found is contained in the
short treatises of IL Conte and Agassiz, a summary of wlhch
with additional nectes appeared in an article by Professor
Eugene A. Smiths, published in 1881, in Vol. XXI. of the
American Journal of Science. The unexpected discovery of
phosphates has led! to the commenaement of a topographical
survey by the Gorvernment, to be followed by a geological
survey, but the work before that department is so arduous and
extensive that no results or official reports can be expected fWl
many months to come.
Speaking topog~phically, Florida may be described as ad
undulating low.lyi:.mg peninsula, the highest point
Florida Phosphates. 27
260 feet, and the average elevation about 8o feet above the
level of the sea. The whole country is a succession of gently
sloping ridges, connected in some places by extensive plateaux,
in others by low-lying swamps. The ridges and plateaux are
for the most part composed of sand apd covered by a growth
of pine trees, which in some places are excellent timber forests,
in others merely thin saplings. The low-lying lands, which
are called "hommocks," are covered with a rich soil, and where
not too swampy are selected for cultivation. In the swamps
every variety of tropical vegetation, more or less dense, is to
be found in luxuriant abundance.
The altitudes of different places in the peninsula being
of interest, the following may be mentioned. Starting from
Fernandina on the north-east, and travelling in a south-
westerly direction to the port of Cedar Keys, the following
elevations are to be remarked: Maxwell (56 niiles), 57 feet above
mean low water ; Trail Ridge (61 miles), 216 feet; Gainesville,
128 feet ; Waldo, 15o feet ; Ocala, too feet (with a ridge one
mile below the town of 16o feet). Going south from Ocala :
Pemberton Ferry, 54 feet; Lakeland, 244 feet; Plant City
(west of Lakeland), 132 feet; Bartow (south-east of Lakeland),
Some of these altitudes are railway levels only, but the
figures are sufficiently accurate to give the general impression
required. Polk County has a considerable ridge running north
and south, a few miles to the west of -Peace River and of the
Florida Southern Railroad. This ridge forms the backbone' of
28 Florida Pho*shats.
the south half of the peninsula, and gradually flattens out bekow
Bowling Green, south of which the county is almost level. It
is in this southern part that the immense grass prairies and
impassable everglades are situated.
The phosphate 'deposits occur on the western side of the
peninsula, and to use very wide and general terms, may be said
to be found in every county from Talahassee to Charlotte
In order to describe the deposits in greater detail, it is
necessary to divide the subject into two main branches, viz.,
the pebble deposits of South Florida, and the rock deposits
of Northern Florida.
THE PEBBLE DEPOSITS.
It is absolutely impossible at the present date to define
the area containing the pebble deposits, but for the purposes
of this description, the counties of Polk, Hillsborough, Manatee
and De Soto, embracing about 2,ooo square miles, may be
stated to be underlaid, more or less, at varying depths, with
pebble phosphate. Polk and De Soto Counties contain the
mpre important deposits, and the ,main fields which are being
e cited at the present time are in the lands drainedby t
Florida Phosk* tes. 29
Peace and. Alafi Rivers and their numerous tributaries, and in
the beds of these same rivers and streams. What appears to
be the main deposit is situated on the high lands (maximum
165 feet above mean tide level), which form the watershed of
the head waters of the Alafia River and of the creeks which flow
into Peace River between Bartow and Bowling Green. The
rough boundaries of this area would be Lakeland on the north,
Bartow and Bowling Green on the east and south, and Chicora
on the west. The phosphate-bearing stratum varies in thick-
ness from a few inches to more than 30 feet, and is covered
by an overburden differing in composition and thickness
according to locality. Near the edges of the numerous streams,
or "branches," the overburden is not heavy, but in the higher
lands, dotted with shallow ponds and lakes, the phosphate is not
generally reached until some Io to I1 feet of overlying earth,
sand, &c., have been removed.
The composition of the overburden is as follows :-
(i.) Soil and subsoil: a few inches to 6 feet.
(ii.) A light-coloured sand: a few inches to xo feet.
(iii.) A variously-coloured stiff clay. This clay, after the
first few inches, contains phosphate pebbles, which
grow more and more frequent till the regular stratum
Some deposits are covered with a rock capping of sandstone,
either in the form of conglomerates or of loose rounded pieces.
Occasionally it is solid rock, and crops out on the surface,
30 Florida Phosphates.
and is completely honeycombed. The colour runs from rusty.
brown to pure white. The thickness of this sandstone capping,
which is generally local in its occurrence, is rarely more than
two or three feet, but it is hard to remove when conglomerated.
or in rock form..
The matrix of the stratum, in which the pebbles are found,
is generally argillaceous and plastic, and the proportion of sand
contained therein varies in each locality. In order to ascertain
the exact composition of this matrix we sent a sample, taken
from the location known as Phosphoria, to Dr. Wyatt's
laboratory, for complete analysis, and received the following
MATRIX DRIED AT 212.
Organic Matter .. .. .. .. .. .. 4o
*Phosphoric Acid .. .. .. .. .. .. 15.29
tCarbonic Acid .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 6.7o
Lime .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 0o.oo
Iron and Alumina .. .. .. .. .. .. 13.o6
Fluoride and Magnesia .. .. .. .. .. .60
Insoluble Silicates and Sand .. .. .. .. 4.95
*Equivalent to Tribsic Phosphate of Lime .. 32.33
t ,, ,, Carbonate of Lime .. .. .. 15.0
An analysis by Dr. Mamnwald of a sample take from tke Phurr
deposit gave Phosphoric Acid 1393, equivalent Ao Triblic Phosphab of
Lime 30.37, Iron an4 Alumina 9.9o.
Florida Phosphates. 31
The east side of the main deposit, ie., from about two miles
below Bartow, as far as. Fort Meade, is quite different to the
centre, for the phosphate in that region is found embedded in
a hard matrix. At times it is hardly possible to distinguish
between the pebbles and the matrix, both being pure white;
in other places the matrix is brown in colour. The composition
of this matrix does not differ from that of the phosphate
pebbles it contains as much as would naturally be expected.
The percentage of sand is small, and though the iron and
alumina run high, there is a large percentage of phosphate of
lime, so much so that at Homeland the pebble and matrix are
dried and ground together, to a ioo-mesh size, and sold as a
fertilizer for direct application, a small quantity of the sand
being blown off during the grinding. The name of the
Company carrying on this business is the Whitaker Phosphate
and Fertiliser Company. The analysis of the rock as taken
from the ground is as follows :-
Phosphoric Acid.. .. .. .. .. 29.13
Equivalent to Tribasic Phosphate of Lime.. 63.50
Iron and Alumina .. .. .. .. 13.41
It appears, therefore, that the larger part of the matrix has
been formed by small particles of whitish phosphate, which
have acted as a binder between the pebbles.
Thre is yet another form of deposit, which is found about
one mile south of Bartow, underlying a very small area. This
appears to be a hard rock deposit, and the samples exhibited
3F FIrid& Phospkhies.
therefrom show no sign whatever of pebble fdrahtion. The
analysis runs over 70 per cent. of phosphate, with about si per
cent. of iron and alumina. The rock has a close resemblance
to some specimens found in Marion County.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PHOSPHATE
The phosphate pebbles vary in size from the tiniest specks
imaginable up to potato size, the average may be said to run
between one and a-half inches and one thirty-second part of
an inch. They have no regular shape or appearance, some-
times their surface is smooth and polished, at other times it is
much indurated and rough. The colour also varies very
materially, even in the same piece of stratum. We have
selected the following varieties as being representative of the
different kinds of pebble:-
(i.) A pure white to cream-coloured variety, smooth and
lozenge shaped, with a hard enamel surface and
(ii.) A white chalky variety, soft in composition and easily
crushed by the teeth; lozenge shaped.
(iii.) A brown variety, partially covered with a cream to
blue-coloured enamel, polished surface, ald-.ry 'al,
Flori&d Phoshates 33
(iv.) A light brown amber-coloured, changing at time to
a dark chestnut brown variety, with hard smooth and
polished surface, interior is brown but lighter in
shade; lozenge shape.
(v.) A mud-coloured brown variety, with rough surface
and jagged edges, veryhard. These pebbles are
usually found in-tbe small creeks, and also in the
upper part of the Peace River.
(vi.) A bright slatey-blue and white variety, very hard.
In the larger pebbles the surface is much indurated,
the smaller pieces being smooth and lozenge shaped.
(vii.) A purple-blue or plum-coloured variety. The
pebbles of this colour are larger than the average size,
and are to be found in Bone Valley. Their surface is
hard and indurated.
(viii.) A white porous variety. These are mostly found in
the peighbourhood of Little Pain's Creek, and are
high in iron and alumina; lozenge shared.
(ix.) A small hard jagged variety, with broken edges and
hard surface; found everywhere; white to cream-
(x.) A broken variety, light in specific gravity, and easily
broken by the fingers; very porous. Found mostly
north of Bartow, high in phosphate and also in iron
All of the above varieties may be met with in any of the
land pebble deposits, and seem to be intermixed generally.
;-^. xr 4
34 Florida Phosphats.
(xi.) A hard jet black or blue black variety, with bright
enamel surface. These are the pebbles found in all
the Peace and Alafia River deposits.
(xii.) A black kidney-shaped variety: hard, but with no
surface polish ; also found in Peace River.
(xiii.) A light slate-coloured variety; much indurated.
Found in the older river beds, above present water
level of the Peace River.
(xiv.) A dark brown variety, very highly polished, with
enamel surface: smooth and hard. These are found
in the Manatee River and on its banks, and also at
(xv.) A light brown sandy-coloured variety: lighter in the
centre than at the outside. Generally more or less
rounded: surface rough. Manatee River. This
variety is really a semi-phosphatised sandstone rock.
(xvi.) A chalky-coloured variety. Found in the Caloosa-
hatchie and underlying its banks. Light in specific
gravity and of medium hardness. Low in analysis.
It is to be noticed that most of the pebbles, which are*
more than about an inch in length, are really conglomerated
from smaller pebbles, even though their surface is hard and
polished. The interior is composed of small hard pebbles and of
a whitish powder, which has almost the same chemical analysis
as the pebble, though the proportion of iron and alumina is in
excess of the general average.
-.4f' ~r~~ ~
Florida Phosphates. 35
ANALYSIS OF THE LAND PEBBLES.
The phosphate pebbles underlying the land vary in test
between 6o and 75 per cent. phosphate of lime, occasionally small
samples have analysed as high as 84 per cent. The general
average of land pebbles may be said to be between 65 and 70
per cent. The following is a complete analysis made by
Dr. Francis Wyatt, of New
York, of land pebble
. Organic Matter
Carbonic Acid ..
Iron and Alumina
Fluoride and Magnesia
Insoluble Siliceous ..
* Equivalent to Tribasic Phosphate of Lime .. 70.21
Part of the same sample was analysed by Dr.
of Hamburg, whose results gave:-
Tribasic Phosphate of Lime..
Oxide of Iron and Alumina ..
Inaoluble Siliceous Matter ..
The average results of 36 analyses made by Dr. C. Kirberger,
Hamburg, of bulk samples (half-ton each), taken from various.
parts of the deposit at Phosphoria gave phosphate 67.35, iron
and alumina 2.27 ; while the following full analyses were made
in London from large average samples fairly representing the
land pebble deposit of Polk County.
Organic Matter and Water of Combination
Lime .. ..
Oxide of Iron .. ..
Alumina .. .. .
Magnesia, &c ..
t Carbonic Acid ... .
Insoluble Siliceous Matter ..
Equal to Tribasic Phosphate of Lime
S ,, Carbonate of Lime..
A. Voelcker Cannon
& Sons. and Newtoo.
ANALYSIS OF THE RIVER PEBBLES.
The land and river pebbles are of the same origin beyond
any possible doubt, but their composition has been coanged
since the time when they lay in their original bed. The river
pebble analyse from 60 to 65 per cent. phosphate of mtIr with
Florida Phosphates. 37
an average of about 2 per cent. of iron and alumina. The
following, analyses may be taken as representing the average
PEACE RIVER PHOSPHATE.
CARoo or -
CARGO or ,oo00 TONS. z,ooo Toxs.
Voelcker. Dyer. Shepard. Dyer. macher.
Phosphoric Acid (dry basis) .. 28.03 27.91 28.oo 28.62 28.75
Tribasic Phosphate of Lime .. 61.20 60.93 61.12 62.48 62.76
Lime .. .. .. .. 40.95 41.52 41.21 42.56 43.90
Oxide of Iron .. .. .. .84 ".oi o8 o.81 )
Alumina .. .. .. .. .93 I.56 I I 1.59
The pebbles of the Alafia River have the same chemical
composition, but the analysis of shipments varies ii accordance
with the proportion of silicates left mixed with the phosphate.
FORMATION OF THE VARIOUS PEBBLE
At the present time no definite theory has been formulated
as to the exact origin of the phosphate pebbles and the forma-
tion of the deposits in which they are found; in fact, the
industry is not yet sufficiently developed to afford the data
upon which to argue the question on a true scientific basis.
The only known geological fact with reference to Florida
is that the whole peninsula is underlaid with white limestone
of Vicksburg age (lower Upper Eocene according to Sir Charles
38 Florida Phosphates.
Lyell; upper Middle Eocene according to American geologists),
which is the oldest rock in Florida. It is therefore natural to
suppose that Florida remained submerged until near the end
of the Eocene period, after which the first elevation above the
sea took place. Then came the Miocene submergence, followed
by a second elevation. The next geological change would be
during the Champlain period, when the land once more
disappeared from sight and was covered with a mantle of sands
and clays before it finally rose to its present elevation above the
The phosphate pebbles had been formed before this last
submergence, probably in one great deposit, and it seems not
unnatural to account for the minor deposits as being composed
of the washings or overflow of this main deposit, the
encroaching seas having washed out from their original bed
huge quantities of phosphate pebbles, mixing them with clay
and sand and spreading them with tolerable evenness over the
surrounding areas, with a tendency to roll them in larger
quantities near or in the more depressed portions of the
The present rivers would subsequently cut through these
layers of phosphate, washing out the sands and clays and deposit-
ing the pebble in the bottom. No doubt the rivers were wider
in those days, as their channels had not yet been cut, and as time
passed the channels would deepen and narrow, and the rivers
would change their courses, always leaving in their older beds the
pebbles they had washed from the strata now above the
S:. .x, .
~Yfeln~if llf *- ..-.-.-___~-. ^,^, -. iu-.'.-..-- -. "--"-'< ..^r;~~r. ... -* yl i.
Florida Phosphates. 39
ordinary level of the water. An examination of the Peace
River at Arcadia shows the smaller and smoother pebble in the
sand bars in the river's bed, while some feet above the water is
to be found an even layer of larger and rougher pebble in
the bank, covered with an overburden of sand. This feature
is also observable at many other points.
PEACE RIVER PHOSPHATE MINING.
Peace River rises near Bartow in the high lake lands of
Polk County, and flowing southward to Charlotte Harbour
empties its waters into the Gulf of Mexico. It is the fastest
flowing river in Florida, and the most irregular, and its channel
changes like that of the Mississippi. The whole river is a
constant succession of shallows and deep basins, and its
meanderings have formed the numerous bars and beds ot
phosphate and sand. At many points where the bed has
become clogged up with sand and phosphate, washed from
adjoining lands and elsewhere, new channels have been made,
and the old bed remains to-day a mixture of sand and phos-
phate awaiting the advent of the miner.
The principal tributaries of the Peace River are Charlie
Apopka, Bowlegs, Chillocohatchee, Thompson, Pains and
Whidden Creeks, which between them drain a very large area
of country. The heavy deluges of rain which fall during the
40 Florida Phosphates.
summer months cause the small -rivulet of the morning to be a
swollen stream in the evening; the stream in like manner
becomes a torrent, and the raging, whirling, fast-flowing
streams, torrents and rivers lash and wash out the banks in
their rapid course, undermining and detaching the nodules of
phosphate from their strata and driving them ever along the
river bed. Imagine the continuance of this process for tens of
thousands of years, and it is not difficult to find the rawion
d'ltre of the drift deposits of phosphate in the Peace and other
Rivers. In the dry season a great proportion of these bars of
phosphate with sand intermixed is above the water's surface,
and the original work was carried on by spade and wheel-
barrow, as much as 5,600 tons having been taken in this
manner from the famous bar at Arcadia. In examining closely
this river phosphate one is surprised to find how large a
quantity there is of actual teeth, ribs, vertebrae, scales and bones,
once the component parts of beasts and birds, of fishes and
reptiles, 6f manatee, of elephant, of glyptodon, of mastodon, of
crocodile, and of shark.
The method of raising the phosphate at the present date
is by a 6 to Io-inch centrifugal suction pump firiven by steam
power and operated upon a barge. The suction pipe extends
from the upper deck into the water ahead of the barge, and is
adjustable by ropes and pulleys. The phosphate is discharged
from the pipe into a revolving screen (with openings one
sixteenth of an inch wide and a half-inch long), which shakes
and washes out a considerable quantity of the sand which fal
SFloa Phosphates. 41
with the water again into the river, while the phosphate-is
discharged alongside through a shoot on to the scow which
conveys the phosphate down the river to the works. 'There
it is hoisted from the barge, passes through the drier, and
after one more screening is ready for market.
It would probably be of service to make use of a double
screen at those places on the river where the pebble is
mixed with marl clay and wood drift, the centre and coarser
screen separating this waste admixture and discharging it back
into the river. At the present time this separation is being
carried on at the works, necessitating an extra process and
handling of the waste. A double screen would also be of use
where no such separation is required, the coarser screen retaining
the larger pebble, thus enabling the finer one to clean the smaller
pebbles more efficiently than where all sizes are mixed together.
This would also prevent the slots of the screens being worn
out and enlarged by the constant friction of the larger pebbles.
Both screens would deliver their final contents into the same
At the different works various methods of drying are in
use. The favourite system seems to be the rotary iron drier. At
one end of this a brick furnace is built, the phosphate is
fed into the machine at the opposite end, and as the inside has
flanges of iron in screw form, the phosphate is driven towards
the furnace (the flames of which pass through the entire length
of the drier), and drops into a feed just before reaching the fire;
thence it is elevated into a screen which separates the
42 Florida Phosphates.
remaining sand from the phosphate. Another form of drier is
the brick chimney with ledges inside. The phosphate is fed
into the top, and as it falls from ledge to ledge the flames of the
furnace evaporate the moisture. A third drier is a long, steep
brick flue, down which the phosphate slides, being subjected all
the time to the flames from the fires below. The objection to
this method is the tendency to "avalanche;" in other words,
the phosphate does not always move down the flue with
regularity, but sometimes falls with a big rush, in which case
the result is a mixture of red-hot and absolutely wet pebbles.
It must be remembered that the pebble after washing has from
10 to 20 per cent. of moisture adhering to it.
The initial difficulties of this river-mining enterprise can
only be fully understood by those who are acquainted with the
natural obstacles to be confronted in an undeveloped country
like Florida. The distance from which the machinery had to
be brought, in most instances from Ohio, a journey of 1,200
miles, was a mere bagatelle compared to the troubles which
commenced when the machinery arrived at the nearest railway
station. Roads had to be cut to the river's bank, and the
haulage of machinery and lumber from the railway to the
location for the works often cost more and occupied as much
time as the long railway transport. Next came the scarcity
of any labour, with the still greater trouble of searing skilled
mechanics. The initial screens, &c., had often'to be thrown
away and new ones designed and brought to the spot. The
breakage of a small part would entail long delays, for machine-
shops are few and far between in Florida. Finally, these
initial trials and difficulties were overcome, and the pioneers
of the river phosphate mining succeeded in producing a
marketable and valuable product at less cost than phosphate
has hitherto been produced in any part of the world.
It was one thing, however, to have phosphate ready for
market at the works, and another to get it afloat at the sea-
board. The earlier companies were not situated near
navigable water, and branch spurs had to be made to the main
railroad, and the phosphate transported to Punta Gorda.
Here the trouble commenced afresh, for Punta Gorda is not a
deep seaport, and steamers can only load to 1 feet at the pier;
the remainder of the cargo had therefore to be put into
lighters and towed a distance of 20 miles to deep water before
the loading could be completed. This necessitated the
building of lighters and steam tugs.
Some of the later companies lower down the river have
their works on water of sufficient depth to allow the phosphate
to be lightered from the works to alongside the steamers at
their loading stations in Charlotte Harbour, which reduces
their cost of shipping by about 75 cents per ton.
The dredging operations, too, are notyj simple as might
be imagined, for Peace River is but a small stream during eight
months of the year, and the barges often get stuck in the
shallow places, and have to pump out the' sand before they can
move from place to place. It. seems a strange oversight
that the barges are not fitted with steam winches which could
pull them through the lighter sand-banks, whereas now hand-
labour has to be depended upon, causing frequent delays. In
the summer months the river is about 17 feet higher
than during the winter, and the stream is so deep and rapid
that pumping has from time to time to be absolutely suspended.
The river's banks are overflowed, and the water invades
even the actual works. The drifts or bars of phosphate
vary much in their composition : sometimes there. is but little
phosphate; at others, as much as 6o or 70 per cent. of the mass.
At Liverpool and Cleveland, where the tide is felt, there seems
to be an immeasurably large quantity of phosphate, for the
incoming tides have prevented the pebbles from being rolled
further than this point. On the other hand, the same causes
have retained mud and clay, which constitute a drawback
and prevent the mining operations being carried on here as
easily as elsewhere.
9. Slg up stream it is apparent that the rock bed of the
e jdJhas depressions or basins of extended area. It is here
Sat the bars have been formed, and enormous quantities of
pebble have been taken from very small areas, the thickness
of phosphate-bearing bars or drifts being in some places as
much as 17 feet. Sometimes, after one of these drifts as
been exhausted, a second trial has yielded as much p
the first, the freshets having in the meantime refilled "he
exhausted basin with sand and phosphate. In some places there
is an absence of sand and phosphate for miles and miles, where
c .:, .*r
**MB6l^^A^^^-.^^ait^BttA TU~I2^^_ -'' -~Y~f~-wt* ;;-**- -t'Ife-
Florida Phosphates. 45
the river's bed is composed of smooth rock. Just above
Zolfo there is. one mile and a-half of rock bottom, then a
basin of sand and phosphate extending about half a-mile;
then rock bottom for another mile leading to a large basin
at Wauchula, about three-quarters of a-mile in length.
Occasionally the sand has formed a stratum of hard-pan,
below which further drifts of phosphate and sand are frequently
There seems to be an impression prevailing pretty widely
in Florida, that the drift deposits in the river will be exhausted
in a few years. This, however, is not likely to prove correct,
at all events near the mouth of the river, for the Peace River
has, in the lapse of bygone ages, covered an area varying from
half a-mile to two miles in its meandering changes. The
present bed of the river is but a trifle compared to this, so that
even supposing the bottom of to-day's river bed to be exhausted,
there is still many times the same quantity left in the adjoining
sd-banks, once the bed of the river. The natural way to
work these drifts would be to divert the river's course by
building dams in the dry season, and cause the river
to wash out the sand from its older beds. Between Fort Meade
and Big Pain's Creek the old river bed has not only become
filled up with sand, but in many cases is indistinguishable
from the mainland, until pits are sunk which reveal the work
of earlier ages and show the drifts of washed river pebble
beneath the present level surface of sand and earth. Some-
times those drifts are found super-imposed upon the even layers
: 0, .
46 Florida Phosphates.
of phosphate deposit with clay matrix. Some of the newer
companies working north of Bowling Green, whose river
area is limited, intend working the adjoining land deposits
when they have exhausted the present and old river beds,
and will then employ steam excavators for removing the
overburden. The river drifts in this neighbourhood are
rarely more than seven feet in thickness, and a tolerably
accurate estimate can be made of the contents of a given .area
of river deposit.
An erroneous idea is sometimes cited that the rivers
are redepositing pebbles as fast as they are being extracted.
This idea has apparently come from the fact that freshets
occasionally uncover drifts which had been unnoticed before,
and also that the drifts break up from time to time only
to form afresh lower down the river, for it is quite certain
that the quantity of new pebble actually washed into the
river's bed is infinitesimally small. It is most interesting
to notice the change in the colour of the pebbles, which
are found to be a lightish brown colour near Bartow, a
darker brown south of Fort Meade, and an absolute blue-black
at Zolfo and further south. There are, of course, black
pebbles all along the river's bed, but the above changes
are worth noticing.
South of Zolfo the pebble is fairly free from impuri-
ties, but the further north that examinations are made will be
found increasing quantities of wood drift, clay balls, and-
carbonate rock mixed up with pebbles.
^fea~~~~~iLA^-.^.. ~~~~ ~ ,~ ..,.. .. ....Ajt;^^i^e^^'^ .^*-i^
Florida Phosphates. 47
NAMES OF COMPANIES IN OPERATION
ON PEACE RIVER.
At the close of 1890, the following Companies were in
Name. Works at.
Arcadia Phosphate Co. .. .. Arcadia
De Soto Phosphate Mininn C9. .. Zolfo
Peace River Phosphate Co) j .. Arcadia
.. 1300,000 .. 1,000
250,000 .. 4,100
300,000 .. 9,800
With a daily output of about 200oo tons.
Since that date the following Companies have commenced
Jacksonville Peace River Phos-
phate Co. .. .. .. Apopka
Charlotte Harbour Phosphate
Co. .. .. .. .. Fort Ogden ..
Gulf Phosphate Mining and
Manufacturing Co. .. .. Cleveland ..
South Florida Phosphate Co. .. Liverpool
National Peace River Co.
United States Phosphate Co.
.. ,oo000000 .. 1,480
350,000 .. 7,500
dge .. 100oo,oo00 .. 700
S-- .. 68o
The average daily yield of an 8-inch pump is from
thirty-five to forty-five tons of pebble, though from time to
*NoTa.-There are some smaller companies in addition to these, but
as far as we could ascertain, no regular output has been made, nor will the
quantities be likely to affect the market. There are also other Companies
organized, but not at work.
48 Fiori&d PAosphkats.
time when an exceptionally fine drift has been found, one
pump has produced as much as seventy-five tons. There
are at present twelve pumps in operation and three more
will be added very shortly, so that when all the plants are
working, the extreme limit to the weekly capacity is
4,000 tons. Allowing for the usual contingencies a total
quantity of ioo,ooo to 125,00ooo tons for 1892 is not likely to
A great many wild reports have been circulated and even
printed about the colossal output to be made months and
months ago by the Peace River Companies. As a matter
of fact their present output is a marvel, considering the huge
difficulties which have been successfully contended with, and
the record of shipments made speaks a volume of praise on
behalf of the pluck, perseverance and energy of those who
have used their brains, time and money in producing these
It is an easy matter to speak glibly of a daily output
of loo tons, but it takes a long time to arrive at this figure,
and many alterations both small and great have generally
to be effected in the machinery before any regular daily
output, however small, can be made. Much experience has
now been gained, and the new comers are able to profit thereby.
The output of the various companies can of course be.
increased by putting in extra plant, but this is likely to be
done in proportion only to the growth of the demand for the
....... ... .. -.L.. "...'-e
Florid Pkosphates. 49
ALAFIA RIVER PHOSPHATE MINING.
The Alafia River and its tributaries contain similar
deposits to those in the Peace River. This river rises in Polk
County, a few miles west of Bartow, and flows westward into
Hillsborough Bay at a point about eight miles south of Tampa.
There are at present three companies, i.e., The Peruvian
Phosphate Co., The Tampa Phosphate Co. and The Alafia River
Phosphate Co. at work dredging in the river near Peru, a
distance of about five miles from the mouth of the river. The
total monthly output varies from two to three thousand tons.
One company has its works on the river bank near Peru, the
other two companies have built their works at Tampa.
Just above Peru the banks of the river are steep, and there
is no phosphate for a distance of four miles, the bottom of the
river being hard rock with scarcely any sand. Above this point
the beds of phosphate occur again, but the river is very shallow
and most of the pebble is mixed with clay. Two companies are
going to operate near or in Turkey Creek, and will cut into the
deposits underlying the banks of this stream with dipper
It is said that the whole of the actual river deposit will be
exhausted in about five years' time, as the river is a small one,
and its bed near the' mouth has not varied much. The
phosphate is identical with that of Peace River, but there
appears to be more silica and small loose limestone rock in
the Alafia River.
.^te-Vi,.~~~ ** "*.--
;o Florida Phosphates.
MANATEE, MYAKKA AND CALOO-
The Manatee River has a parallel course with the Alafia
River, about 24 miles further south, and its tributaries have bars
of pebble. Gamble Creek is very rich in'phosphate, but the
percentage of iron and alumina is said to run as high as 18 per
cent., making the phosphate worthless. No mining is going on
in this river, which may be said to be practically unexplored.
There is an immense phosphate bed at the river's mouth, and
its shores are strewn with phosphate and sandstone, amongst
which there is a large proportion of bone. The phosphate is
mostly black in colour, though some of the nodules are brown.
The. Myakka River rises about eight miles south of the head
waters of the Manatee, and flowing southwards empties its
waters into Charlotte Harbour. There is plenty of phosphate
all along its bed, but there is so great an admixture of silicate
pebbles and shell that no mining has hitherto been attempted.
The Caloosahatchie River rises a few miles west of Lake
Okechobee, and flows westward into San Carlos Bay. Mining
operations were conducted in Twelve-Mile Creek, but the
admixture of shell with the phosphate proved too great a
difficulty, and work has been suspended in the meantime.
BLACK RIVER PHOSPHATE.
In addition to the deposits of phosphate found in the rivers
of South Florida, there is also a deposit in Black Creek, a
S *. .
tributary of the St. John's River. The pebble is rougher and
more jagged than the phosphate of Peace River, and there is
a greater admixture of silicate pebbles. The analysis runs from
48 to 53 per cent. of phosphate. There is one Company only,
the Black River Phosphate Company, operating this deposit,
and present daily output is said to be about 60 tons. The
bulk of this material will be used in the United States, as the
grade is too low to make European prices remunerative..
OF RIVER PHOSPHATE.
ByRail. States. Foreign. Total.
Ton. Ton. Tons. Tons.
g1x .. .. .. gil
4,26 .. .. .. 4,206
.. 15,246 .. 8,13o .. 5,750 .. 29,126
.. 2,000*.. 850 .. 2,850
2,000* .. .. .. 2,000
.. 8,ooo .. 4,50 .. 3700ooo .. 69,500-
S.. .. 8,000
3,000* .. 1,20 .. .. 4,200
PRICE OF RIVER LANDS.
The early purchases of river lands, before the existence of
the phosphate was known, were made at prices varying from a
dollar and a-quarter to five dollars per acre. Even as late as
the autumn of 1889 large areas changed hands at prices under
$20 per Acre. In the spring of 1891 many small tracts were
secured. at prices varying from $20 to $50 per acre. Well
52 Florida Phosphkates.
selected sections have fetched as much as 300 per acre,
and at the present time when only a few small and isolated
patches remain at disposal, $zoo to $2oo per acre according to
location is being asked. There seems to have been less specula-
tion and excitement over the river deposits than over the land
pebble deposits, as is shown by the smaller number of companies
formed for mining the rivers.
The total purchases of lands made by the River Companies
at present in operation have amounted to close upon one million
dollars in cash, and the purchase of plant, &c., has cost a little
over half a-million dollars, making a total cash investment in
the river mining of about $1,5oo,ooo. To-day's value, however,
would be represented by very different figures, since most of
Sthe lands were bought before their real value was appreciated.
DUTY ON RIVER PHOSPHATE MINING.
The following is a copy of the Florida Phosphate Law,
enacted by the last Legislature and now in effect, under which
the State of Florida collects a royalty on all phosphates taken
from her navigable waters:-
"Be it Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
"SECTION I. That the Governor, Comptroller and the
Attorney-General of the State of Florida be, and they .ax
hereby constituted a Board of Phosphate Cor niMsIes;
, ^ '
Florida Phospkates. 53
which Board shall have the control and management of the
phosphate interests of the State of Florida, in the beds of her
navigable waters and of all the phosphate rock and phos-
phatic deposits therein, and which may be dug, mined and
removed therefrom to the extent of the State's interests
therein. The said Board is authorised for and in behalf of
the State of Florida, to enter into contracts with all persons
desiring to avail themselves of the provisions of this Act in
conformity therewith, and to take such means as may be
necessary to collect all such sum or sums, which are or may
become due to the State of Florida on account of the phos-
phate rock and phosphatic deposits dug, mined or removed
from the beds of such navigable waters of the State.
SEc. 2. The State of Florida hereby grants the right to
persons, natural or corporate, to dig, mine and remove from the
beds of navigable waters of the State, any and all phosphate rock
and phosphatic deposits therein, upon the terms and conditions
as follows, to wit: That there shall be paid to the State of
Florida the sum of fifty cents per ton for every ton of phos-
phate rock or phosphatic deposit analysing fifty per cent. or
ess, and not exceeding fifty-five per cent. bone phosphate of
ime, so mined, dug and removed; seventy-five cents per ton
or every ton of phosphate rock or phosphatic deposit analysing
over fifty-five per cent. and not exceeding sixty per cent.
phosphate of lime, so mined, dug or removed; one dollar per
on on every ton of phosphate rock or phosphatic deposit
analysing in excess of sixty per cent. bone phosphate of lime,
so mined, dug and removed, an account of which shall t
rendered quarterly to the Board of Phosphate Commissioner
and payment shall be made quarterly to the Treasurer of th
State of Florida for all phosphate rock and phosphatic deposit
so mined, dug and removed during the quarter. Promidea
That no person or persons shall be permitted to dig, mine a
remove any phosphate rock or phosphatic deposit from the be.
of any navigable waters of the State of Florida, until he ot
they shall have first entered into a contract with the Board of
Phosphate Commissioners, in conformity with the provisions of
this Act, and shall file with such Board a bond with good and
sufficient sureties, either personal or by a guaranty company
to be approved by the Board, in such sum as the Board shall
deem proper; conditions to comply with the terms of such
contract and the provisions of this Act.
"SEC. 3. The Board of Phosphate Commissioners are
authorised to give or contract for the exclusive right to dig,
mine and remove phosphate rock or phosphatic deposits from
the beds of the navigable waters of the State within certain
well defined limits and for a period not to exceed five years.
In granting such rights, the Board of Phosphate Commissioners
shall require that the person or persons, company or companies
shall begin mining within six months from the date of the
contract, and that such mining shall be continued the full
term of the contract, unless the phosphate or phosphatic
deposit be exhausted. The Board shall give preference to
riparian owners, also to those who may have commenced
mining or preparing to mine prior to the passage of this Act
Florida Phosphates. 55
but riparian owners and persons having commenced mining
or preparing, in good faith, to mine and remove such phos-
phates shall make application for a contract and file his
or their bond, as herein provided, within sixty days from the
date of notice that any application has been made in good faith
by others for such contract, which notice shall be given by the
Board of Phosphate Commissioners. Provided, That such
contracts shall in no case exceed ten miles by the course of said
stream. Provided also, That the provisions of this Act shall
not be construed as applying in cases of navigable streams or
any part thereof that is not meandered, and the ownership of
the lands embracing which is vested in a legal purchaser.
"SEc. 4. That the Board of Phosphate Commissioners are
authorised to appoint an Inspector of Phosphate at a salary not
to exceed $I,5oo per annum, whose duty it shall be under the
direction of said Board, to visit and inspect the works and
operations of all persons mining or removing phosphate rock or
phosphatic deposits from the bed of navigable waters of the State,
to analyse or cause to be analysed, when deemed necessary or
required by the Board of Phosphate Commissioners, said
phosphate rock or phosphatic deposits so mined, dug or removed,
and to inspect the books and accounts of persons so mining, in
the interests of the State and the furtherance of the collection
of the moneys due or which shall become due to the State on
account of phosphates mined, as aforesaid ; that such Inspector
of Phosphates shall in all respects be and act as the executive
officer of the said Board of Phosphate Commissioners.
SEC. 5. That any person or persons who shall di,'inine
or remove any phosphate rock or phosphatic deposit froW the
bed of any of the navigable waters of this State without comply-
ing with the terms of this Act, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor,
and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not to
exceed rz,ooo or imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed
twelve months, or by both fine and imprisonment. Provided,
however, That the provisions of this section shall not apply to
persons mining under a bond fide claim of ownership of said
"SEc. 6. That the Board of Phosphate Commissioners are
authorised to institute all suits and legal proceedings in the
name of the State which may be necessary to protect the rights
and interests of the StateL and to enforce the collections of all
moneys due, or which may become due to the State on account
of phosphate rock or phosphatic deposits dug, mined or removed
from the bed of her navigable waters; and for such purpose they
are authorised to employ counsel at such reasonable compensa-
tion as, in their opinion, is right and proper, which, together
with the salary of the Inspector of Phosphates, and all other
costs and expenses which are incurred in carrying out the
provisions of this Act, and in collecting the moneys due or tb
become due to the State for all phosphate rock ahd phosphatic
deposits mined or removed from the bed of navigable waters of
the State, including attorney's fees and other costs of suits' how
pending for that purpose, shall be paid out of the funds which
shall be realized from the royalty paid to the State for the
phosphate rock or phosphatic deposits so mined and removed
FLovid Phoasfats. 57
Sc. 7. All laws in conflict with the provisions of this
Act he, and the same are hereby repealed.
SEc. 8. This Act shall go into effect upon its'approval by
The State has made a claim on the above lines upon all
the companies who have mined river pebble. Some of the
companies have paid the royalty claimed, others have refused
to do so. In the cases where companies or individuals have
refused to pay the royalty, the State demands the whole value
of the phosphate extracted, claiming ownership not only of the
actual part of the bed covered by the water, but the whole
width of the river's basin. The term navigable is held to apply
to water down which planks could be floated, or which could
be in any way used for the conveyance of the produce of the
It seems problematical that the State, which has itself sold
lands by the acre without deducting the area covered by the
river, can thus re-claim what it has itself sold. Further than
this, many companies have been obliged to clean up the bed of
the river even where the water is deep, by taking out the
fallen trees, sunken logs, &c., which would have rendered the
floating of even a plank for any continuous distance an absolute
Should the State ultimately be successful in making good
its present claims, Peace River phosphate will be subjected to a
royalty of $1.oo per ton, since it is sold on a guaranteed
minimum of 6o per cent.
: !, *'*
58 Florida Phosphates.
COST OF MINING RIVER PEBBLE
AND COMPARISON OF
THE PHOSPHATE INDUSTRIES
OF THE FLORIDA RIVERS AND THE
SOUTH CAROLINA RIVERS.
In the part of this work which refers to river mining in
South Carolina, it will be found that the total cost there, f.o.b.
steamer, is estimated at $4.00 per ton.
The cost of preparing Florida river phosphate has been
given at figures varying from 75 cents to $2-25 per ton. One
of the pioneers states that his total cost to date has not.
exceeded $1*40 per ton, exclusive of depreciation of plant. The
general cost of production f.o.b. cars at works, may be taken
as about $1.75 including depreciation and wear and tear of
plant. To this has to be added the royalty of $1 per
ton, and about 75 cents for lighterage, where the works and
operations are on navigable water, making a total of $3.50 f.o.b.
Punta Gorda. Taking those works not on navigable water,
and supposing the State to be unable to enforce the royalty
claimed, we have the following figures, i.e., estimated cost, f.o.b.
cars, $1.75 per ton, railroad freight to Punta Gorda 70 cents, and
lighterage, &c., 75 cents, making $3.2o per ton, or $4.20 if the
royalty has to be paid. If shipments are. made via Port Tampa,
railroad freight and loading cost about $1.4o per ton, so that
cost f.o.b. Port Tampa is the same as f.o.b. Punta Gorda.
Florida Phosphates. 59
Freights from South Carolina being cheaper by about 50
cents to 75 cents per ton than from Punta Gorda, it will be seen
that there is no advantage to be gained by competition between
the two industries, and it is to be hoped that when the
production from Peace River becomes larger, steps will be
taken to regulate the output in conjunction with the output of
South Carolina, and thus avoid a senseless competition, which
can do no good but very materially injure both industries.
LAND PEBBLE MINING.
Leaving now the subject of the river phosphate, which has
been and is still to-day being washed out of the lands (though in
imperceptible quantities) into the beds of the creeks and rivers,
let us examine the method of working the land deposits,
whence these supplies have been taken. Innumerable borings
have been made, and pits sunk in all quarters, with a surprising
similarity of results as regards test of the phosphate and yield
of pebble to the mass. An average cubic yard of good stratum
weighs about 3,600 lbs. in its natural state (which includes
about 20 to 25 per cent. of moisture), and may be safely
estimated to yield from 600 to 1,200 lbs. of dry pebble.
Sometimes the result will be as high as 2,200oo lbs., but this is
exceptional, and an average of about 90o Ibs. to the cubic yard
(or 25 per cent. of pebble to the mass) will be about the general
* i *
60 Florida Phospkates.
yield of a good deposit. This would be equivalent to 3o lbs.
per square yard one foot thick, or say 600 to 650 tons per acre for
each foot of phosphate deposit.
It is absolutely impossible at the present date. to state the
maximum thickness of the deposit, though mention may be
made of the fact that it has been proved by one company to be
25 feet thick where they are operating.
The colour of the matrix varies from pure white to all
shades of red, yellow, blue and green ; sometimes these various
colours are encountered in succession. Occasionally layers of sand
or clay, from an inch to several feet in depth, are found in the
phosphate stratum. The upper part of the stratum has generally
more clay in the matrix, and as greater depth is reached the
proportion of sand increases. The size of the pebbles is always
varying: in one place at a depth of to feet the pebbles became
very small, and it looked as if the deposit was giving out; a
few feet lower the pebbles increased in size and in quantity.
Thus it will be seen that no law can be laid down for their
Testing by auger and by wells is liable to be most mis-
leading, and pitting is therefore the only accurate methb4 of
determining the contents of a given area. Ia lrtal place
where borings have been made the limestone has bqp
encountered at depths varying from 25 to 35 ,0then
pebble was pumped all the way from the surface depth of
53 feet. In sinking artesian wells pebbles are said have bbn.
Florida- Pospkates. 61
pumped at 250 feet from the surface; the layer does not seem
to have been continuous, and the pebbles may possibly have
been washed in from above.
The methods of raising and preparing the phosphate seem
to be as numerous as the companies. One of the most efficient
and cheapest methods is in operation at Phosphoria (owned by
the Florida Phosphate Company, Limited, of London, England),
where a dipper dredge is being used. The employment of this
machine for the purpose in question was most severely criticised,
and failure was generally predicted, as the deposit to be
operated is situated on high lands away from any stream, and
when the barges were being built there was no water near at
hand. A pit was dug to the depth of a few feet, and the water
brought by ditches from ponds in the neighbourhood, and when
sufficient supply had come in, the barges were launched.
Contrary to the general prophecy, the water did not fall upon
the dredge beginning to work, and it seems that the water
springs about as fast as the deposit is taken out.' The second
barge, containing the washing and drying machinery, is placed
alongside the one carrying the dredge machinery. The dipper
bucket drops the phosphate into a hopper (into which a stream
of water plays), at the bottom-of which there are two iron rolls-
with steel teeth-running at different speeds. Below the rolls
are two long iron troughs with revolving shafts carrying
teeth fixed in screw-form, which separate the phosphate from
the matrix and carry it along. The water is fed from.above, all
along the length of the washers, and escapes through sluices,
, **. '
62 Florida Phosphates.
cut in the sides, a few inches above the top of the teeth,
taking with it the matrix now dissolved in the writer. The
pump supplying the water throws zo,ooo gallons per minute.
At the further end of the washers perforated elevator buckets
convey the phosphate into steam-jacketed driers, through whieh
a hot air blast is driven by fan from the boiler's furnace to
increase the capacity of the drier. After being dried the
phosphate passes through a rotary screen which takes out
the remaining sand and dust, and the phosphate is conveyed
automatically on to a scow, which is floated to the storage
house, where the pebble is discharged by elevators into
the bins. In case absolutely clean water may be required, the
Company is sinking an artesian well ; it has also in contem-
plation the building of a brick drier on the land, should
the capacity of the jacketed drier prove insufficient to
keep pace with the dredge, which has a capacity of 800 to
i,ooo cubic yards per day. The dredge commenced operations
in November, and the washing machinery began to run in
The first shipment of land pebble was made by the Pharr
Phosphate Company, in May, 1891. This Company owns
about 700 acres of land two miles south of Bartow, and their
works are situated alongside the track of the Florida Southern
Railroad, and on the bank of Six-Mile Creek. The deposit is
identical in character to that at Phosphoria, where Six-Mile
Creek rises, and underlies the whole of the Company's property.
It is covered with a sand-rock capping which is from a few
inches to two feet in thickness. The digging is carried on by
., S I
Florida Phoskhates. 63
hand, and a small locomotive draws the loaded cars to the
works, where the phosphate is discharged into a washer
similar in design to the one just described. From the washer
the phosphate passes into a rotary sieve with a serpent flange
inside. Fresh water is fed from a pipe running through the
centre of the sieve. On discharge from the screen the phos-
phate is dried in a steam-jacketed drier and elevated into a
storage room, ready for shipment. The total production up to
December, 1891, was under x,ooo tons, the numerous
breakdowns and alterations incidental to an entirely new
industry having caused frequent long delays.
At the works of the Bartow Phosphate Company, about
one mile north of Bartow, the deposit is rather different to
the general character of the neighbourhood, the phosphate
being apparently broken pieces, light in specific gravity,
very porous and brittle. The phosphate is being raised by a
land excavator of the orange peel type, fitted with four lips
and capable of excavating about 200 cubic yards in o1 hours.
The washer at these works is made in three separate sections
inclining upwards, through each of which the pebbles are
forced upwards in succession, the water being discharged at the
lower ends. The pebble is dried in the ordinary rotary iron
drier. These works commenced running last October, and
about 200oo tons were dispatched to northern points by railroad
before the end of the year.
A few miles further north is Lake Hancock, where the
Peace River rises, which is underlaid with a bed of phosphate
64 Florida Phosphates.
about 8 to 12 feet thick; the matrix is clay, and over the
phosphate are several feet of black sedimentary mud. The
Mastodon Company has been organised to mine this deposit,
and has a charter from the State under which it has to pay
the same royalty as the River Companies. A dipper dredge
will be employed. The pebble here runs a little over 70 per
cent., with between Ij and 21 per cent. of iron and alumina.
This Company expects to be in operation by the spring'of
About nine miles west of Bartow are situated the lands
of the Bone Valley Phosphate Company, through which runs
a small creek, a tributary of the north fork of the Alafa
River. This creek has meandered to an extent which is
surprising, and though the channel is only about three feet
wide, the whole bed is about too yards across. This area is
underlaid with largish pebbles mixed in sand, constituting
in reality a drift deposit, and will be mined by a centrifugal
pump from a barge, the stream being dammed up to hold
the water. The deposits underlying the land will be excavated
.by a dredge at a future date, when the bed of the creek has
Two miles north of Fort Meade, on Hendry Branch, the
Virginia-Florida Phosphate Company owns about 30o acres of
land, which slopes sharply on both sides down to the stream.
The present digging, which is done by hand, is being carried on
near the bed of the creek, where there is a bed of drift phosphate
in sand about three feet thick. The works are situated oarthe
Ee G -
PiGPATE REGION A
atRIaF A .- -
PHIOSPHATE MSIOG 0
Florida Phosphates. 65
high ground, where the main deposit, which is said to be very
thick, is overlaid by a few feet of cap rock. The water for
washing is pumped from a well sunk to a depth of about 250 feet
The drying is done by a brick chimney. It is under contempla-
tion to mine by dredge or land excavator. About I,5oo tons
were shipped last year, the result of some ioo days' work,
extensive alterations in the plant having consumed much time.
At Fort Meade a company is mining pebble embedded in
a hard white rock, which is broken up by crusher. The pebbles
are then screened from the sand and matrix. Iron and alumina
runs between 6 and 7 per cent.
Several other undertakings have been organised, and are
getting in their plant, but the work is not forward enough to
enable any description to be made.
There is a very fine deposit of pebble on Little Pain's
Creek, overlaid with a white rock capping well mixed with
pebbles, but no operations have been started in this neighbour-
hood. Big Pain's Creek also contains large deposits in its bed
and under the surrounding banks, but the iron and alumina is
said to run high.
It is not known at the present date how far north and east
the pebble deposit extends. Lake Hancock is the present
northern boundary, and the Peace River is practically the
eastern boundary. Bowlegs Creek, just south of Fort Meade
and east of Peace River, flows through a fine deposit, with a
very stiff clay matrix; and C. Apopka River, further south, is a
66 Florida Phosphates.
museum for the paleontologist. Kissimmee Island is said to
have a deposit of black pebble, but no thorough examination
has been made of this district. At Tampa, when boring wells
for water, a phosphate stratum was found at six feet from
the surface, z1 to 16 feet in thickness. Below this a
sandstone rock, 12 feet thick, was encountered; then a
stratum of about 16 to 20 feet of clay; and then three feet
of flint, under which was the limestone rock. The Bays'of
Hillsborough and Tampa are said to be underlaid with black
pebble, but the superincumbent sand is too thick for operations
to be undertaken.
The islands near the mouth of Manatee River are under-
laid with a stratum of brown phosphate about one foot
thick, but the average test is low, many of the' nodules
being partially phosphatised sandstone. The shores of these
islands are covered with fossil bones, which test about
74 per cent. in phosphates and I per cent. in iron and
alumina, but the sand rock is again present. The marl crops
out along this neighbourhood, and pieces are intermixed
with the phosphate.
Travelling south, the Sarasota region is encountered.
The phosphate deposit occurs a few feet from the surface, the
pebbles being embedded in clay. Pebble is also found .ii
abundance in all the small creeks. There appears to be a great
deal of semi-phosphatised sand rock in all this part of the
country, and though undoubtedly there are good deposits,'
the average stratum in this neighbourhood is unit for mIalag
FloAida Phosphates. 67
purposes. In some places a quantity of small bright amber-
coloured smooth pebbles, are found, which run high in analysis,
but the silicate pebbles which are mixed throughout more
than counteract this advantage. The shores of Sarasota Bay
are literally strewn with bones, mostly the ribs of the manatee,
and also with the sand rock. Should a deposit be found
without sand rock or silicate pebbles, mining and. shipping
can be carried on very cheaply. It needs a careful and long
investigation to determine what tracts are suitable for mining,
and while any cheap and rich phosphate deposits remain
unsold in Polk County, that section is likely to have the
Major E. Willis, of Charleston, South Carolina, gives the
following atialyses, made by Dr. C. U. Shepard, Jun., of
samples taken by him when making ari examination of the
Sarasota tract for the proprietors *-
Land Rock: Large
aie from Bay ..
Phillip Creek: Small
Rock and Gravel..
Phllll Creek: Free
ofGravel .. **
North Creek: Rock)
Shll Gravel ..
Land -Rock: Small
Rock had Gravel..
Land Rock: Fe of
Booa from BowileM
Cro so ..
Trib. Do. of Iron
Mols- Pbos. Pboof y and Silo.
tuw. Acid. Lime. Almoa InoL
X.zo 25.97 56.72 57.35
.o05 24.o5 52-53 53.09
.95 9.o04 64.03
i.zo 21.62 47.22 47-75
.90 26.35 57'56 58.o8
.70 a9.19 6415
s.8o 33.26 7A64 74.73
a.50o 8.6o Full of Sand.
1.63 ai.6o Full of Sand.
Free from Sand.
SFull of Sand
1 and Shell.
2.13 17.03 Full of Sand
3.87 8.53 FreeofGravel.
.50 .13 Jut as Mined.
. "*' -'i *w
68 Florida Phosphates.
AREA AVAILABLE FOR SUCCESSFUL
LAND PEBBLE MINING.
Although such an enormous area of country is underlaid
by the phosphate deposit, it must not be thought that it is
all suitable for mining operations. As a matter of fact, the
further that practical investigations are pursued, so much
smaller do those tracts appear which are suitable for economic
working. Too great a thickness of overburden, and too thin
a phosphate stratum, immediately eliminate about 1,500 square
miles of the phosphate area. Then comes the important
question of iron and alumina which is found to be excessive
in many tracts otherwise suitable for exploitation. Heavy
sandstone capping cuts out a large acreage; want of water
interferes in other places.
To sum up, we find that the total area likely to be mined
is probably less in extent than the Charleston phosphate fields,
though, on the other hand, those deposits which are available
in Florida are capable of producing twenty to forty times
more phosphate per acre than is raised in the South Carolina
phosphate region. The Carolina fields are within measurable
exhaustion, from an economic mining point of view, whereas
the examinations already made in Florida show .an
inexhaustible mine of wealth for generations whose forefathers
are still unborn.
Florida Phosphates. 69
COST OF PRODUCTION OF
The cost of raising and preparing land pebble for market
varies very considerably in accordance with the methods
employed. The industry is too young at the present date for
any actual figures to be given. Where no hand labour is
employed the total cost delivered on board cars at works should
not exceed $1.50 to $2.oo per ton. Freight to Port Tampa
varies from $1.00 to $1.5o according to location of mines, and
includes delivery to steamer alongside the pier. Thus the
estimated cost f.o.b. steamer at Port Tampa would be about
$2.50 to $3.50 per ton, where the best appliances are in use.
Where the deposit is being worked by hand, cost will be at
least $1.oo per ton higher.
LIST OF LAND PEBBLE COMPANIES
ACTUALLY IN OPERATION OR EXPECTING TO
COMMENCE VERY SHORTLY.
Alafia Mineral Lands Co.
*Bartow Phosphate Co. ..
Bone Valley Phosphate Co.
*Florida Phosphate Co., Ltd.
*Fort Made Phosphate Co.
Land Pebble Co... .
Mastodbo Phosphate Co.
Pharr Pb phate Co. ..
Terrac a Phosphate Co.
70 Flrida Phosphafcs.
It is.not possible to name, all oaf the numerus- cpsmpnies
which have been formed for the purpose of mining land pebble,
but the above'appear tb be the most 'ikmpoitait at the present
time. Several companies which have been organized are waiting
till practical results are obtained by the above companies, so that
they may be able to decide which is the best method of
THE FUTURE OF THE PEBBLE
It is as yet rather premature to predict the future of the
land pebble industry, but it may not be out of place to mention
one or two points which seem to foreshadow an important
position for the land pebble mining among the various
phosphate industries of the world.
There has as yet been. no discovery made of any phos-
phate deposit of such gigantic dimensions as to area. The
regularity of the deposit is unparalleled, and the thickness of the
stratum, taking Io feet only as the average, is beyond anything
hitherto known to exist elsewhere. There are in France a few
cases where the Somme phosphate has been found 30 feet in
thickness, and one instance where 4o,ooo tons have been taken
from 2z acres; but the whole area of the Somme phosphate
deposits owned by the companies in operation does not eceed
zzo1, acres. Who then can state the limit of th cpacityof
pebble lands, when it is known that the' traum has been di
into for 25 feet without going through it, such'a strtum being al
Floridp Phos1atss. 71
to produce x6,ooo tons per acre ? In Charleston 15 inches is
the average stratum, with 6 to zo feet of overburden; in Florida
the average stratum is thicker than the average overburden,
and the test of the phosphate in Florida is ten units higher
than that near Charleston. The test of the phosphate and
the yield of pebble per cubic yard being practically invariable
to any appreciable extent, this industry is based on known
conditions which do not change from day to day as in other
kinds of mining.
Taking these points into consideration, and with the
history of Charleston mining as a guiding line, if is not wide of
the mark to predict that an industry which can produce a
medium testing phosphate at a figure never yet touched by
other producers of the same quality, will. soon take a high and
important place. The increasing demand for phosphates of
medium grade, together with an extending market for all
phosphates, leaves no room for doubting the probable rapid
growth of land pebble mining.
That there will be great competition among the companies,
-and the likelihood of extremely low prices for some time, is only
to be expected, but in view of the expensive plant required it
is probable that producers of land pebble will combine in some
way rather than enter a war of competition. The necessity for
heavy initial outlay will tend to keep the field from being over-
crowded, and the similarity of interest should help to establish
a more reasonable method of marketing the phosphate than has
.been the case in other phosphate centres.
72 Florida Phosphates.
River pebble had a very easy introduction into the phosphate
market, for the supplies came forward at a time when such a.
material was actually required. The difficulties of the Coosaw
Mining Company in South Carolina, and the consequent
falling off of available supplies from that district, enabled
large quantities to be consumed last year without weakening-
prices. Since river pebble is almost identical with, if not
superior to South Carolina river rock, it will always be one of
the phosphates most in demand.
THE ROCK DEPOSITS.
The extensive prospecting that followed the discovery of
Rock phosphate at Dunnellon, in Marion County, led to similar
finds in all the western counties, from Talahassee to a few miles.
north of Port Tampa. These discoveries gave rise to the idea
that millions and millions of acres contained solid beds of high-
testing phosphate, needing only the pick and shovel to turn
them into gold. The careful and conscientious investigations
that were made as soon as mining operations were entered into,
quickly proved the fallacy of this delusive theory, and it was
found that even the best deposits were extremely capricious in
their formation, and that the phosphate could not be extracted
as easily as was originally anticipated.
The phosphate occurs in a series of pockets, and also in
drifts, and is covered by an overburden of sand and clay of a
thickness varying from a few inches to many feet. Sometimes
the rock crops out on the surface, and in certain localities these
Florida Phosphates. 73
outcrops comprise an area of about a quarter of an acre of
nearly solid rock. The contents of these pockets are sand, clay,
flints and sandstone, rough and jagged pieces of phosphate
rock, soft phosphate, and phosphate bowlders. The bowlders,
instead of being smooth, as the name would naturally imply,
are irregular masses of rock, with a rough surface, weighing
from a few pounds up to many hundreds of tons. In the larger
bowlders there are jagged interstices, filled with sand and clay.
The question as to whether a pocket or deposit is worth
exploiting depends upon the proportion of its various
ingredients, and the ordinary method of examination by the
sinking of a few pits is apt to be most misleading. In order to
get a real knowledge of the value or contents of a property it is
advisable to cut long ditches and cross trenches, for pitting does
not sufficiently reveal the nature of a deposit.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ROCK
The phosphate rock itself is found in a variety of types,
which have been *grouped and classified as follows by
Dr. N. A. Pratt, who kindly placed his classification at our
Ist. THE LAMINATED TYPE. Hard bowlders or fragments
thereof more or less distinctly compacted in layers, sometimes
with interstices between the laminations, filled with sand or
clay, or else empty, sometimes compact and solid, but in all cases
the laminations can be distinctly traced on the fractured edges,
7 Florida Phosphates.
and are curved concentrically or spirally around a central point,,
like the leaves of a head of lettuce, except that the laminations
are continuous. In a small bowlder the curvature is distinctly
traced on the fractured edges. On a large one the curvature
may scarcely be detected, and the laminations appear as plates
SThe colour is brown, amber, grey or white, but generally .
of one colour from the same locality; they all have a coarse,
harsh, hackly fracture.
The average composition of this type, whatever the colour.
or where found is practically the same; an average of eighteen
samples of this grade analysed, yields (excluding sand):-
Lime Carbonate .. .. .. .. 7.53 .. 7.46
Combined Water and Organic Matter .. 3.23 .. 2.50
Alumina and Oxide Iron .. .. .. 3.21 .. .6o
Lime Phosphate .. .. .. .. 80.88 .. 84.95
Sand and Insoluble .. .. .. .. .. .o1
and. THE CONCHOIDAL TYPE. Hard bowlder, generally
smooth, sometimes polished exterior, solid and massive within.
The fracture is smooth and conchoidal, like the interior of a
conch shell, colour cream, white or light, sometimes intricately
banded with irregular or broken streaks of darker colour. .It
average composition computed from sixteen analyses is, when
Lime Carbonate .. .. .. .. 6.25 .. 5.75
Combined Water .. .. .. 4.10 .. 4.0
Alumina and Oxide Iron .. .. .. 8.15 .. 1.28
Phosphate of Lime .. .. .. .. 83.53 .. 86.3a
Silicic Acid combined .. .. .. zAo .. 175
Florida Phosphates. 75
3rd. TmH WEDGEWOOD TYPE is bowlder-like, has a semi-
coachoidal fracture that looks like Wedgewood or semi-porcelain
ware-it iis dry and rough to the touch, brittle, and rings
under the hammer. White and cream colour generally, some-
times stained and spotted. The tough, white, rainpitted
rock, type 5, may be included here (see type. 5). Its average
composition computed from twenty analyses is, freed from
.Lime Carbonate .. .. .. .. 6.43 .. .u
*Combined Wter .. .. .. .. 3.85 .. 3.85
.Alumina and Oxide Iron.. .. .. 2.25 .. 3.44
:Lime Phosphate .. .. .. .. 83.7 .. 844
:Silicic Acid.. .. .. .. .. 2.10
4th. THE OREOLE TYPE.-This is -a soft mass occurring
in Layers, irregular strata or masses, sometimes of several feet
thickness and considerable area. It is perhaps the widest
disseminated and most abundant of all the types. Pure, it is
chalk white in colour, soft and satin-like in feeling. It is very
porous and light when dry, and smooth and fine as pearl
powder ; when mixed or wetted it holds from 30 to 40 per cent.
of water, works under the fingers to a pasty mass, easily shaped
or moulded and dries into a hard cake, friable but of consider-
able tenacity. When subjected to heat in either its natural or
molded state it becomes tough, resists abrasion and loses more
or leus of its smooth feeling; it does not shrink in bulk nor
crack, nor is it restored to its former condition by soaking in
76 Florida Phosphates.
It is almost free from sand and grit, but contains alumina.
It invariably occurs under and around the bowlders and extends
laterally beyond them, and underlies tracts of land where no
bowlders are found. Sometimes it is harder and heavier than
described, but having similar composition both kinds are
classed together. In its pure state it is unfortunately closely
associated with intervening beds, or layers, or pockets of pure
white sand and clay, or both, which is difficult to separate, and
the grade is reduced thereby.
Analysis of a pure sample yields :-
Augusta Mines. Jordan's.
Combined Water .. .. .. .. 5.60 .. 2.o0
Lime Carbonate .. .. .. .. 2.68 .. 4.55
Alumina and Oxide Iron .. .. .. 2.3o .. I.6o
Lime Phosphate .. .. .. .. 87.64 .. 78.o1
Insoluble Silica .. .. .. .. .75 .. 2.75
5th. Another type is as white as Oreole, but is in ledges
or bowlders, is very tough, resists fracture, though sometimes
soft and smooth to the touch. It is compact and heavy. On
exposed surfaces it appears deeply pitted as if by rain drops, but
probably due to growth of a species of lichen. Along with it
occurs rock of the Wedgewood type, and as their compositions
are so nearly the same, I think best to class it under that head
or type, and call it Wedgewood too, for the present, at least.
6th. THE FOSSIL TYPE, so called from the fossil impressions
contained, and from the cavities of j to f of an inch. This
fossil, called Orbitoides, accompanies the nummullite in all
its nummullitic limestone, and in this state is a characteristic
Florida Phosphates. 77
fossil of a sand rock that overlies the prevailing lime rock,
and which is not a sponge flint rock. It is of good quality,
hard bowlder, brown in colour, breaks in all directions easily,
exposing the cavities just mentioned. The fractured parts,
very harsh and sandy in one piece, more smooth in another;
in any case the cavities will identify the type. It resembles
sand rock so closely that it might be rejected in mining.
Analysis of the roughest and most unpromising piece yields :-
Sand and Insoluble .. .. .. .. .. .. 2.95
Alumina and Ferric Oxide .. .. .... 3.65
Lime Carbonate.. .. .. .. .. .. .. 4.40
Phosphoric Acid .. .. .. .. 36.32
Bone Phosphate Lime .. .. .. .. .. .. 79.43
Lime .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 48.72
7th. RIVER ROCK TYPE consists of either or all of the
above types, except the Oreole, all darkened even to blackness
by the staining action of the water and mud, and exclusion of
air. It is sometimes blue, sometimes pink and even green on
the surface. They seem more massive and heavy than any of
the other types. The percentage of lime phosphate, in samples
from Blue Springs Run, was above 82 per cent. All these
forms or types run more or less into each other, yielding
mixtures of more or less uniformity, dependent also on the
quantity of clay and sand that may adhere to them.
8th. To these types we venture to add another found in
the phosphate deposits of the basin of the Ochlawaha River,
which had not begun to be worked at the time when the
above classification was made.
78 Florida Pkosphaks.
THm PEBBLE TYPE is found in the drift deposits in the
Anthony an-d Spairs district, 12 to 20 miles north of Ocala
These pebbles are indistinguishable in appearance from some
of the pebbles found in Polk County. They are smooth and
hard, and vtry in colour from cream to brown. Analysis run
from 58 to 6s per cent. of phosphate.
The first company to commence actual mining operations
was the Marion Phosphate Company, which broke ground near
Dunnellon, in December, 1889, and shipped their first cargo,
700 tons, per bark "Gler," from Savannah, in April, 189o, to
Liverpool. The Dunnellon Phosphate Company took the field
in February, I89o, and in May shipped 1,500 tons, per
ss. "Hallanmhire," from Fernandina to London and Hamburg.
The general method of mining is as follows:-A considerable
area is first cleared of the superincumbent sand and clay, which
are removed to some distance from the edges of the pit-or mine,
as these openings are generally designated. The phosphate is
then attacked with pick and shovel, the smaller bowlders are
separated from the sand and clay in which they are usaully
embedded, tie larger ones being broken up with blasting
powder. The pieces of broken phosphate, which occur both In
the sot phospnate and also mixed with the sand and clay, a.
raked out during the process of excavation. Originally th
phosphate wa wheeled out of the mines in barrows, and d i
Flsria Phophates. 79
work hours the mines had the appearance of a beehive, being
densely crowded with men and planks and wheelbarrows. In
some mines an incline has been cut into the deposit, and the
material is brought to the surface in cars running on the sloping
track, and hauled up by a stationary engine. A third system
and apparently the most practical, is to make a deep cut, using
a cable hoist to extract from the pit, and then remove the
overburden for the next cut, drill the rock phosphate and
fire the holes. This method keeps the production in progress
with the uncovering, and seems to us to be more in accordance
with the usages of mining.
In most of the mines where active operations are being
carried on, cable hoisting machinery is employed. The buckets
in use hold about a quarter or a half of a ton, and on an average
about 300 buckets of material are raised per day. The contents
of the buckets are emptied into cars, which run along an
elevated platform round the mines, which are generally about
too to 400 feet square, and drop the phosphate into the drying
sheds which are built round the sides of the mine. These
sheds consist of wooden roofs, supported by wooden uprights.
On the ground a flooring of cord wood is arranged, and the
phosphate is piled on the top to the height of 8 or to feet.
When the pile is complete the cord wood is ignited and
allowed to burn out, by which time all the organic matter
and moisture in the phosphate is eliminated. During the
prevlaep o( heavy rains the sides 'of the drying sheds are
boearM up loosely with scantling. The size of the kilns (or
8o Florida Phoskpates.
phosphate piles) varies from 200oo to 700 tons, the usual quantity
in one pile being about 300 o Ml It takes about five cords of
'*6d&d4 burn oo tons, o1 cords fdor oo tons, and 15 to 20 cords
for 70oo0 's. The phosphate is ready for handling and
shipment about three to four days after firing.
It was with great difficulty that the rock for the early
shipments was selected, as nothing was known of the various
qualities, and the work in the laboratory was very heavy.
Similar looking pieces of rock were found to vary largely in
their percentage of phosphate and of iron and alumina, and
pieces of white sand rock were often mistaken for phosphate;
in fact the whole business of selection was a puzzle to even
the longest heads.
The question of main importance in rock mining is the pro-
portion of first quality phosphate (i.e., rock testing 75 per cent. of
phosphate and upwards, with less than 4 per cent. of iron and
alumina) to the total quantity of cubic yards to be removed.
Careful calculation shows that about 15 per cent. is the maximum
proportion of bowlder phosphate produced from the whole mass
excavated, including overburden. The average of prime rock
mined, exclusive of overburden, may be taken to be about
25 per cent., the remainder being soft phosphate, clay, sand
and sandstone and flints. Sometimes in a good pit an average
of 40 per cent. has been reached, but taking the good with the
. bad, the usual percentage will not exceed 25 per cent.
In some mines there is as much as 50 per cent. of soft
phosphate, in others this material does not appear. This so
Florida Phosphates. 8s
phosphate is evidently the detritus of the bowlders, probably
worn off before the bowlders had reached their present degree of
hardness, and though it has very little sand mixed with it, yet
as it is usually surrounded by both sand and clay, it is not
possible to extract it in its pure condition. There are two
qualities of this, according to the admixture of deleterious
elements, the first running from 70 to 78 per cent., the second
65 per cent. and upwards, but the percentage of iron and
alumina is excessive. It appears, however, that there is a
market for this material, and small shipments have been made
both to Europe and the United States.
Mixed up with this soft phosphate, or mixed with the sand
and clay in those deposits which are free from soft phosphate,.
there is a good proportion of small pieces of hard rock phos- .
phate. In the earlier days little attention was paid to this, but
since the reduction in the prices obtained for phosphate, miners
are increasing their production by at least 50 to' 1oo per cent.
by saving this material, the test of which is about 76 per cent.,
with 3 to 4 per cent. of iron and alumina. There are places
where this broken phosphate occurs, together with small
bowlders, in the form of a sandy drift along the banks of
the Withlacoochee River, where the deposit seems to have been
formed by the river in the same way as the drift deposits in the
beds of the rivers of South Florida. Phosphate is also found
in the bed of the Withlacoochee River, mostly in angular pieces,
and also in indurated black nodules, which are very similar to
the pebble of Peace River, though larger in size and heavier
82 Florida Phosphates.
in specific gravity, These nodules are black throughout, and
run about 80 per cent. phosphate with under 2 per cent. af
iron and alumina.
The Dunnellon Phosphate Company are by far the largest
operators in rock phosphate, and, at one time, had twelve mines
opened and running actively, employing upwards of 400
hands. About 3,500,000 feet of lumber have been used in the
building of their houses, drying sheds, elevated platforms, &c.,
and the mines are furnished with cable-hoisting apparatus. In
addition to the work being carried on in their ordinary mines,
a barge fitted with a clam-shell dredge is working on the
deposit in the river's bed. The rock thus raised is washed on a
barred grating, fitted on a second barge, and the phosphate is
then conveyed to the rotary drier, built on the banks, and
finally prepared for market.
During last December a further enterprise was taken in
hand, viz., the mining of the drift deposit near the river's edge.
Here over a good many acres the phosphate crops out on the
surface, mostly in the form of small bowlders, and the deposit
is covered by about two feet only of overburden. Below this,
small bowlders and rough ragged pieces of phosphate ar
found packed closely together, and the yield in proportion to
quantities moved will. be very high, probably 4o per cent.
Sometimes there is a serious admixture of clay, but in moat
places the rock is embedded in loose sand, and can be washed
with ease and economy. A small trial plant is now running
successfully on this material, the process being as follow:
Florida Phospkates. 83
The cars containing the phosphate empty their contents on
to a screen over which water is thrown : the rock passes thence
into a revolving washer, with teeth and angle iron affixed
to the sides. A perforated iron pipe supplies the water for
washing. A circular screen is fixed to the end of the washer to
enable the sand, &c., to pass out, and the phosphate falls into
elevated buckets which discharge it into a wet bin, whence a
spiral takes it into the rotary drier. After passing through the
drier, the rock is elevated into the storage bin, undergoing a
final screening as it passes along. This plant is both neat and
efficient, and will doubtless be enlarged to enable this drift
deposit to be worked on the large scale which it obviously
merits. The cost of producing this phosphate is about 40 to 5o
per cent, cheaper than mining the bowlder rock.
Several of the mines working this gravel phosphate, as it
is termed locally, have been unfortunate in their selection of
plant, the general mistake being too great a complication of
mechanical devices and too light machinery, but a short course
of experience will soon remedy present defects.
Many of the rock miners have been very careless in their
method of preparing the phosphate for market, and shipments
have been made running high in iron and alumina, simply
because the rock was coated with clay. In order to avoid the
shipment of improperly cleaned ore, we are in favour of using
a crsher to reduce all rock to a maximum of a few inches only,
and screen out the sand and clay, after passing the phosphate
through washing and drying apparatus. This is now being done
84 Florida Phosphates.
at some of the mines, and will doubtless be the general practice
By carrying out some such process as indicated above, there
will be an end to the important discrepancies which have
occurred in the results of analyses made from samples taken in
Florida, and samples taken on discharge of cargoes in London.
It is a very difficult matter indeed to sample a shipment
composed of pieces of rock of such different sizes as have been
shipped, and the lower tests arrived at in Europe may perhaps
be accounted for by the rolling of the larger and heavier pieces
to the bottom of the ships during loading, whereas all the fines
remain at the top ; discrepancies also arise from too small a
proportion of samples being taken in Florida. In addition to this
advantage, which is of considerable if not of vital importance,
the washing and drying of all the phosphate would eliminate
the sand and clay which not only adheres to the phosphate, but
is also fitted tightly into the numerous interstices and cracks.
It is not possible to give any estimate of the quantity of
hard rock likely to be produced from a given area, since the
mines diker so exceedingly in their formation, nor is it possible
to say what the maximum thickness of a deposit can be, though
the fact that up to date no rock has been found higher than zoo
feet nor lower than 30 feet above sea level, would seem to
imply that no bed is likely to be more than 70 feet thick.
In one instance phosphate has been found and mined more
or less continuously for 50 feet, and in many openings where a
Florida Phosphates. 85
depth of, 40 feet from the surface has been arrived at, there are
no signs of exhaustion. Where the larger and richer pockets
do occur, enormous quantities of high-grade phosphate will be
produced from an exceedingly small area, but the average
pocket is extremely capricious and deceptive. One single
bowlder has yielded as much as 1,5oo tons of phosphate. Nor
has the limestone rock in solid form been yet encountered in
the workings as far as we can ascertain, though loose pieces
have been found from time to time at the bottom of some of
the mines. Occasionally strata or leads of large flint rocks,
weighing up to several tons each, are found running through a
deposit; also large masses of sandstone, and in some cases pits
have been abandoned for these causes.
Prospecting has been carried on by some of the companies
on a very large scale, and the results show that outside of the
pocket formation the deposits are either cut off by flints or
sandstone, or else end either abruptly or run into unimportant
beds of phosphate so mixed with sandstone and clay that profit-
able mining is out of all question. The companies organised
at the beginning of the phosphate boom have very extensive
properties, but the proportion of paying deposits is ridiculously
small to the total area bought.
In order to illustrate this more fully, we will quote what
Dr. Wyatt says of one of his own examinations*:-
An excellent example of this superficiality is afforded by
one of our recent examinations, in which the geological con-
VUt Nw York Miig, ad Eiimring Yow l, Angust 23, i89o.
86 Florida Phosphates.
editions were of the usual order. The area investigated may be
5,120 ACRES OF LAND.
A B C D
E F G H
Each division representing 640 acres.
Very fine phosphate indications were scattered more or less
all over this tract, sometimes in the form of big boulders
out-cropping at the surface, sometimes in the form of small
debris, brought up from below by the mole or the gopher.
A local expert had intimated ,that it contained millions of
tons, and our own first impressions of it were of the highly
sanguine order. A systematic exploration was, however, at
once instituted and carried out, first by boring all over the
tract with a twenty-foot auger, and then by sinking con-
firmatory pits at short intervals to a depth of 15 to o20 feet.
The result of our work was extremely disappointing, and
may be briefly summarised thus:-
(a). No phosphate in workable quantities.
(6). A small basin or pocket of good phosphate, covering
an area of about z5 acres.
(c & d). No phosphate in workable quantities.
Florida Phosphates. 87
(e). Large quantities on surface leading to a very large
pocket, covering about 35 acres, Very much mixed
Sup material, principally low grade.
(f &g). No phosphate in workable quantities.
(h), The highest point in the tract very densely grown,
big bowlders of phosphate, sandy conglomerate on
surface. Fifteen small pockets of phosphate, ending
in limestone at a depth of 13 -feet."
The total acreage covered by these widely scattered
phosphate deposits was set down at 83 acres, and the character,
quantity and composition of the phosphate itself as shown by
the pits dug, and the material extracted from them, were
estimated after experiment to be as follows:-
Bowlder material, large and small,
after screening.. .. .. 13 per cent. of the mass.
Debris and whitish phosphate, soft
and plastic .. .. .. 29 .
Sand, clay, flints and waste .. 58
The principal mines now being worked are situated in
Alachua, Levy, Marion, Citrus, and Hernando Counties, and
though the proportion of good deposits to the total area in
which phosphate is found, is merely fractional, yet there is
beyond doubt an enormous quantity of available phosphate
88 Florida Phosphates.
which can be cheaply and profitably mined, and the likely
demands of the market cannot make any appreciable difference
in the sources of supply.
ANALYSIS OF ROCK PHOSPHATE.
Turning now to the question of the analysis of Florida rock
phosphate, and taking samples right and left without any
selection, it is difficult to imagine a greater incongruity and
apparent contradiction of results. Samples which closely
resemble each other give results as divergent as the poles, and
the collector can range his samples from tests of pure carbonate
of lime up to go per cent. of phosphate. The percentage of
phosphoric acid though in itself of vital primary importance,
must only be considered in conjunction with the question of
the proportion of iron and alumina. A few months after the
commencement of the development of Florida phosphate, vague
rumours were floated about that the phosphates of Florida were
phosphates of alumina; and though there seemed to be adequate
reason for certain apprehensiveness on this score, there can now
be no doubt whatever that the rock phosphate is a genuinely
good marketable and workable phosphate when properly pre-
pared. There are of course places where the iron and alumina
runs excessively high, and in one instance 23 samples taken
fromTa property, the purchase of which was being seriously enter-
tained, gave 19 per cent. of phosphate of iron and alumina.
Florida Phosphates. 89
There is a point, however, that seems to us to have been
overlooked by most of the companies mining, and that is the
distinction between phosphates of iron and alumina and
silicates of iron and alumina ; in other words it is advisable to
ascertain the form in which the iron and alumina is combined.
Experiments prove that if the average piece of phosphate is
broken up into small fragments, and then carefully washed and
screened, the analysis of the washed sample will show a much
smaller percentage of iron and alumina than the unwashed ore.
This proves the benefit to be derived by crushing, washing and
drying and screening all phosphate as recommended previously.
ANALYSIS OF CARGO FROM
The following analyses may be taken as fairly representing
a good average shipment:-
Oxide of Iron
i. Voelcker & Sons.
osass misad .63 saf o nssa.ds
war" o -sa te at sntemWt
Equivalent to Tri .ea
Pboshate of Limc 10M3
ANALYSIS OF CARGO OF ROCK
FROM PEMBERTON FERRY DISTRICT,
Augustus Voelcker & Sons.
.Moisture in fine sample
dried at 2x2 Fah.
Organic Matter and Water
Sof Combination ..
*Phosphoric Acid ..
Lime.. .. ..
Oxide of Iron
Carbonic Acid, &c.
Insoluble Siliceous Matter
"Equivalent to Tribasic
Phosphate of Lime ..
The Rough Sample con-
tained Moisture. ..
And accordingly Tribsic
Phosphate of Lime ..
tEquivalent to Carbonate
of Lime .. .. *
0.00 0.00 00.00 00.00
8.49 8.77 8.32 8.15 8.44
100.00 100.0o 100.0o 00o.oo 100.00
77-26 77.28 77.65 78.13
1.51 1.50 2.66 1.45
7609 76.12 75.58 77oo
- 3-36 -
The above analyses fairly represent what the average
results. of well selected and prepared cargoes should test, but
many badly prepared shipments have given very different
results from the above.
Florida Phosphates. 91
The following table shows the results of a number of
samples taken on the field*:-
AVERAGES FROM RESULTS OF SEVERAL HUNDREDS OF COMPLETE
ANALYSES OF SAMPLES (SUN-DRIED) TAKEN ON THE SPOT BY
DR. FRANCIS WYATT, OF'NEW YORK, AND ANALYSED BY HIm-
SELF OR HIS ASSISTANTS.
SAMPLES CLASSIFIED AS FOLLOWS:--
BOWLDER PHOSPHATE meaning Clean high-grade rock.
BOWLDRS AND DEBRIs ,, Unselected phosphatic material.
Sorr WHrrE .. ..,, Soft white phosphate in which no bowiders
UNSELECTED -.. .. ,, Everything that was thrown up from the
pits (phosphates and inert and waste
Bowlders (137 analyses) .. ..3415 42.10
Bowlders very carefully selected (86
analyses) .. .. .. .. 36.0 45.90
'Bowlders and Debris (x6o analyses) .. 29.70 38.20
Soft White (97 analyses) .. .. 32,50 41.70
Unselected, total outcome (76 analyses) 13.80 27.40
COST OF PRODUCTION
Sili- boae Flu-
ceou. Ack. oride
5.20 x.8o 1.70
4.95 1.70 1.57
13.25 2.1o 1.49
5.20 4.80 '*15
31.00 3.-6 o.37
Numerous inquiries from the various companies have
elicited widely divergent figures for the cost of mining and
preparing rock for the market. Some place the cost as low as
$1*o5 per ton delivered free on rails, others as high as r$o.oo.
No doubt when mining was first undertaken the cost of produc-
VU Nm York Miing mnd Esgieering r Yul, August 23, ipo.
92 Florida Phosphates.
tion was very materially higher than it is to-day, owing to the
crude and expensive manner in which the earlier mining
operations were conducted, but the fall in prices necessitated
economy on all sides, and the average cost to-day is less by
several dollars than it was a year ago.
In order to arrive at a fair basis of cost, it is necessary to
estimate the quantities of material likely to be moved, and the
proportion of phosphate to be won, allowing an average depth of
say 40 feet. Many miners who give a low cost of production
are working on a calculation derived from the raising of a few
hundred or a few thousand tons extracted from their initial
opening, which naturally would be where the rock is found
nearest the surface. The fact that when larger quantities have
to be raised a greater depth will be reached is lost sight of. and
cost of repairs and wear and tear of plant is entirely overlooked.
After inspecting a large number of mines, and studying
closely the methods of raising and preparing the phosphate, we
have formed the following conclusions, viz. :-
(i.) That the cost of putting the rock phosphate in clean
condition f.o.b. cars in those mines which have the soft
phosphate intermixed with the gravel and large bowl-
ders will average $5.00 per ton.
(ii.) That the cost of raising, washing and preparing the
phosphate in the mines where gravel and bowlders
occur without the soft phosphate should not exceed
$4.oo per ton.
Florida Phospkatas. 93
(iii.) That the cost of raising, washing and preparing the
phosphate in the gravel deposits along the Withlacoo-
chee River should not exceed $3 per ton.
(iv.) That dredging and preparing the phosphate found in
the Withlacoochee River should not exceed $2.50
The above estimates are based upon a minimum production
of I,ooo tons per month, under good practical management.
It is, of course, possible to produce small quantities at very
low figures, where an owner of the lands containing the deposit
employs a small gang of men under his own supervision, but
when considering the subject as a serious mining undertaking,
where a steady output of considerable size is expected and
required, the matter assumes a different complexion.
GRAVEL ROCK MINING.
In addition to the rock mines described above, there is
another form of deposit known in Florida as the gravel or
plate-rock deposit, which has not yet been referred to. These
deposits occur in Alachua, Levy and Marion Counties. Although
the Peninsular Company commenced operations in the autumn
of I890, on a small scale near Anthony, in Marion County,
and shipped a cargo the following spring, yet it is only during
the last few months that any attention appears to have been
94 Elarida Phosphates.
paid to this locality. This is rather surprising, seeing that the
distance from Ocala, the headquarters of the rock mining
industry, is only a few miles, and that the occurrence of the
phosphate is more regular than that in the ordinary rock mines.
The formation of the rock mines closely resembles the
phosphate deposits in the south-west of France, where the
same uncertainty and want of continuity exists, and it is a
remarkable fact that the deposits in the Anthony district lie
in a formation very similar to that of the Somme deposits
in north-east France. The overburden of earth. is very light,
a few feet only, and below this is found a drift deposit of
jagged phosphate, mixed with sand and clay. The phosphate
seems to be much the same as the gravel in the rock mines;
but, whereas in the latter the gravel is found together with
bowlders by the edge of the Withlacoochee River, or mixed
up in the ordinary mines with the large bowlders and soA.
phosphate, it exists at Anthony and Sparrs entirely by
itself, and the presence of bowlders weighing over forty
or fifty pounds has not yet been discovered. In addition
to this, the gravel phosphate of Anthony is found overlying.
the lime rock, which latter occurs in the same form as the
grey phosphatic chalk underlying the Somme deposits: in
other words after extracting the phosphate, the limestone
appears in angular pyramids of various sizes. In some places -
the layer of phosphate follows exactly the steep undulations of
the limestone, in others the whole of the intervening space 4
filled up with the phosphate. thickness of this stratum
appears to vary from three to eight feet, when following dowy thl
Florida Phosphates. 95
inclined surface of the lime rock: in some of the cavities
which have been completely filled up with the phosphate, the
thickness of the deposit from the point where it commences to
the bottom of the conical hole is about 30 feet as a maximum.
The tops or shoulders of the pyramid lime rock comes close to
the surface of the ground, and in some instances break through
The lands round the Anthony and Sparrs district have
now been very thoroughly prospected, and this region will
undoubtedly become an important phosphate mining centre,
owing to the uniformity of the occurrence of the phosphate,
and the ease and economy with which it can be raised and
prepared for market. It has been stated that an average cubic
yard of this deposit will yield about 800 lbs. of phosphate; and
by making a systematic examination it is possible to arrive at an
approximately close estimate of the contents of any given
The Peninsular Phosphate Company have sold their
undertaking to a French Syndicate, and there are eight other
companies in the field, all busy in the erection of their works,
which are expected to be in operation by the spring of the
Sphoshate, being mixed with clay and sand, has to be
washed during preparation for shipment, and two different
processes are being adopted. One consists of a compound log
washer, or hollow cylinder, revolving in water and fitted with a.
96 Florida Phosphates.
wooden shaft to which strong iron paddles are attached in
screw-form. After passing through the log-washer, the rock
enters a second cylinder or screen, and fresh water is poured on
it from a perforated pipe traversing the centre. The second
system is a circular iron washer with internal flanges, fixed in
screw-form, and with a perforated pipe supplying water all the
length of the washer and of the circular screen fixed at the end
of the washer.
None of the plants are as yet in operation, so it is not
possible to speak of results, but we think that in some instances
larger and stronger screens will have to be adopted before good
work is obtained.
Judging by the general outlook, and comparing these
deposits with the rock mines, it seems likely that the cost of
production in this district will not exceed about $3.00 to $3.50
per ton for phosphate washed and dried f.o.b. cars. This
estimate is based on a minimum production of Io,ooo tons per
annum, under efficient and practical management.
ANALYSIS OF GRAVEL ROCK.
Local reports differ very widely as to the proportion of
iron and alumina contained by the gravel phosphate, but most
of the analyses submitted to our notice show a quantity which
Florida Phosphates. 97
averages between 2 and 3 per cent. In order to produce
phosphate which can be sold with a guaranteed maximum
of 3 per cent. of oxide and alumina, it will be necessary to
give the material a very thorough washing and cleaning
so as to get rid entirely of any clay or other impurity.
The following analysis is the mean result of the tests of a
number of samples taken in the Anthony and Sparrs region
and analysed locally, viz.:-
Carbonate of Lime
Oxide of Iron and Alumina..
Moisture.. .. ..
.. .. 1.94
.. .. 2.50
*Equivalent to Tribasic Phosphate of Lime 78.76.
The following are the analyses of the European chemists:-
Organic Matter and Water of
Combination.. .. .. 0.59
*Phosphoric Acid .. .. 3C.6
Lime .. .. .. .. 52.08
Oxide of Iron .. .. .. 1.36
Alumina. .. .. *. 1.39
MqMesia, Ac., Carbonic Acid 7.17
Insoluble Siliceou Matter .. o.85
Tribsio Phosphate of Lime 79.81
36.33 .. 36.84
1.12 .. 1.2
.4 .. 0.29
. 79.3 .. 80.43
98 Florida Phosphates.
INFLUENCE OF FLORIDA PHOSPHATES
ON THE MARKET.
The discovery of phosphate rock in so many places, and the
wild excitement and speculation that ensued, naturally resulted
in the formation of a number of companies. Some of these
were bond fide business undertakings, controlled by men
connected with the phosphate industry; but by far the larger
number were purely speculative, and it is the operations of these
companies that have had the effect of reducing the price of phoe-
phate at such a rapid rate. No sooner was a company formed
than flourishing reports were published in the newspapers as
to the gigantic richness of the deposit acquired, with a view of
selling stock to the unwary traveller bitten with the phosphate
mania. Ocala lost its head completely under the influence of
the red-hot excitement which was prevalent. The hotels were
swarming with speculators who were selling and buying lands
with surprising rapidity. The porticoes resounded with the
tales of the fabulous wealth to be acquired almost in a few days.
Sellers of stock were narrating the tempting offers they had
refused for tens of thousands of tons of rock, while those who
had not yet bought their picks and shovels were talking glibly
of raising fifty, seventy-five, and even a hundred thousand tons
of phosphate within 12 months, and every ounce to test over
8o per cent.
The greater number of people who were investing in hbads
or forming companies had absolutely no knowledge of mininr
Florida Phosphaes. 99
and still less of the phosphate market and its requirements
Directly a company was lorganised its sponsors wanted to
sell thousands and thousands of tons before a single labourer
had been engaged, imagining vainly that merchants and
manufacturers were even more anxious to buy than they were
themselves to sell. Other companies had no working capital,
and were endeavouring to make large sales in order to borrow
money on the security of the contract and of the buyers' names.
Each company had so many officers with their special friends
and agents, and a dozen different people were offering the same
phosphate for sale. Besides this there were plenty of speculative
operators making large offers, hoping to secure the material at
a lower figure after making sure of a buyer.
It so happened that at the particular time when these
offers were coming forward (i.e., the summer months of
1890) the European market was prepared to receive large
additional quantities of phosphate without prices being
In order to understand the feeling of the market at that
time it is necessary to look back a few years in the history of
the prices and consumption of phosphate in Europe.
In the summer of 1887 South Carolina phosphates (the
barometer of the phosphate market) reached the lowest price
they have ever touched, falling as low as 6id. per unit; freights
wre. of opurse very cheap, but phosphate was being shipped
from South Carolina at prices below the actual cost of produce.