Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Where is the M Ranch?

M Ranch is located in rural western St Lucie County east and west of Carlton Road and north of Glades Cut-Off Road.

How large is M Ranch?

M Ranch is just over 2,300 acres in total.

How much of the property will be used for the mining operation?

Only about 7% of M Ranch’s total contiguous property (2,300 acres) would be used for the mining operation. The actual area identified for mining is 80 acres. An additional 49 acres would be used for buffering and about 35 acres for staging activities.

Will there still be agriculture on the property?

Yes, approximately 93% of the total M Ranch property will continue to be agricultural. In addition to current cattle ranching and citrus growing activities, future plans include a sod and hay farm and an organic nursery that will include leafy greens and other vegetables and fruits. The owners are working with sustainable farming advocates and other professionals to incorporate the latest practices in land management, environmental stewardship and regenerative farming methods.

Why are high quality fill material (soil) and base rock needed in the local economy?

In just a 10-mile radius of M Ranch, there are thousands of undeveloped acres. More than 30,000 homes have already been approved for development in this area, along with two large FPL solar facilities. Development along the Treasure Coast I-95 Jobs Corridor in the Tradition, Southern Grove and Wilson Grove areas will continue.

This material is a valuable resource needed by the local construction industry for new residential and commercial developments, as well as county, city, and state road construction projects throughout St. Lucie County.

Where does the fill material and rock come from now?

Fill and rock are currently being sourced and fulfilled from mines which are frequently located far outside of the area. This intense demand from the construction industry results in truckloads of materials being shipped long distances, impacting miles and miles of St. Lucie County roadways and driving up costs of construction. Many local mines are running out of material. Some material not even extracted yet is already reserved by contractors and will not be locally available.

How close will the mining operation be from its neighbors?

The actual processing of the materials will be at the farthest southwest corner of the mine site, more than 2,000 feet (or about 5.5 football fields) from its neighbors.

Who are the customers for the mined rock?

Roadway contractors, developers, local builders, municipalities, and improvement districts and regulatory agencies who are creating stormwater improvement projects, parks, infrastructure (roads, bridges, utilities) and constructing residential housing and commercial sites, all of which need high quality fill material (soil), and base rock.  These materials are a valuable resource needed to support the growth and infrastructure improvements of St. Lucie County and the Treasure Coast area.

Can the owner expand the size of the mine without permission of St. Lucie County?

No. Once approved, only the area listed in the approved plans and permits can be mined.

 

Operations

If approved, what type of mining will occur at M Ranch?

The M Ranch would use a newer mining method called wet mining to extract materials from lower underground depths. This process minimizes noise and dust. M Ranch will NOT use any methods of blasting on our site. 

More information and examples of the different types of mining operations in the State of Florida can be found on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s website at

What are the hours of operation of the mine?

In St. Lucie County, mines are allowed to operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.  To be sensitive to community needs in the area, M Ranch anticipates hours of operation to begin later than that and be more limited to Monday through Saturday.

How long will mining operations continue?

The mine is expected to operate for 7 to 10 years.

How many people will be employed at the mine?

There are typically about 7 to 10 employees engaged in the daily operations at a small mine.

How will the trucks enter and exit the property?

Trucks will be directed to enter and exit the mine using the private Haul Road through the adjacent M Ranch property so they exit directly onto Glades Cut-Off Road which will be the mine’s main entrance. The trucks will cross Carlton Road at a well monitored, signed and gated driveway entrance to the mine site. This will help to route truck traffic away from Carlton Road and neighboring residents.

What impact will the mine have on local traffic?

The mine is within a 10-mile radius of most of the residential and commercial development already approved by St. Lucie County and the City of Port St. Lucie. The materials from M Ranch mine would be transported short distances (within that 10-mile radius) to local construction sites on Glades Cut-Off Road and Range Line Road. An independent traffic study determined that the truck traffic will have a moderately low effect on current traffic conditions. A Haul Road through the owner’s private property will exit onto Glades Cut Off, keeping more traffic on the site and routed away from Carlton Road and neighboring residents. Sourcing the materials locally from M Ranch mine will minimize the overall travel time, fuel consumption, and roadway impacts.

Will the mine operations affect school bus pick up and drop offs?

In St. Lucie County, mines are allowed to operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.  To be sensitive to community needs in the area, M Ranch anticipates hours of operation to begin later than that and be more limited to Monday through Saturday.

Will the mine use any noisy blasting methods?

No. M Ranch will NOT use blasting methods in its mining operation. 

What kind of sound and landscaping buffers will be around the mine?

The entire mine operation will be surrounded by a sodded berm, and the Carlton Road frontage will further buffer the site with a sodded berm and additional 4 to 6-foot landscape/tree/shrub buffer to obscure the site and enhance dust control.

There will be an additional 200-foot setback with 49 acres of land separating the mining operation from the surrounding agriculture community.

On the easterly side of the site along Carlton Road, there is a large amount of existing dense vegetation, some of which is 20-feet in height, that is proposed to be retained until the mining operation is completed.

Once mining operations cease and construction of the Reclamation Plan begins, exotic vegetation will be removed and will be replanted with native species to retain and maintain a buffer there. 

The Haul Road will be buffered along the south side with a sodded berm and a 4 to 6-foot-tall hedge, where it abuts existing residences, in compliance with St Lucie County Code.

What types of dust control measures will be used during mining operations?

Control of dust is a high priority for M Ranch, and several measures will be undertaken to ensure minimization of dust including: using asphalt millings for construction of the main Haul Road; road buffering and landscaping; regular wetting down/irrigation on and along the road. The wet mining process that will be used also minimizes dust.

Will silica be mined on the property?

No.  Silica will NOT be mined on the property.

 

Environmental

What impact, if any, will the mine have on other agriculture, aquaculture and cattle operations in the area?

M Ranch will be permitted by the SFWMD/FDEP. Both regulatory agencies require M Ranch to avoid impacts to agriculture, aquaculture, and cattle to receive approval.  M Ranch will also contract with a groundwater hydrologist to conduct a thorough Groundwater Hydrological Analysis to confirm there will be no negative impacts.

Will the mine operation have any effect on area wells, water table or aquifer?

Water for the mine operation will come from proposed and permitted wells on the M Ranch site. As part of the South Florida Water Management District’s permitting requirements, M Ranch will be required to do site specific modelling and groundwater analysis before any dewatering can occur to ensure area wells, water table and aquifer are not negatively impacted.

What affect will the mining operations have on the C-23 and C-24 canals?

Before being discharged into the C-23/C-24 canals, the mine discharge will have to flow through many agricultural ditches to clean it from any waste or impurities. There will be no negative impact to water quality or quantity.  Under the permits for the operations, all discharges will be monitored for compliance.

How can M Ranch help reduce flooding issues along Carlton Road?

Separate from the proposed mining project, M Ranch is committed to helping alleviate flooding issues along Carlton Road. M Ranch will unblock canals and ditches on their property that may have been filled in by a previous owner. Other stormwater retrofits and ways to use the mine-lake as part of the St. Lucie County Master Drainage System are viable alternatives that will be discussed with County Commissioners and Staff.

What will be the mine’s impact on wildlife?

An independent wetland and wildlife report identified crested caracara, sandhill crane, American alligator, little blue heron, tri-colored heron and the wood stork as species that have been seen on the property. There is also habitat for the eastern indigo snake, although none were observed. With the creation of the littoral shelf and submerged berm, there will be additional habitat created for most of these species when the mine is closed, the project is completed and properly reclaimed.

What happens to the mine once the operations are over?

Once operations cease (after 7-10 years), the mine will be transformed into a stormwater retrofit area as part of a required Reclamation Plan and will become a long-term environmental benefit to the region. It will provide much needed water quality treatment and offer local flood control for adjacent county roads and properties.

The reclamation plan will include littoral shelfs on at least half of the 80 acre mine-lake. A littoral shelf is a shallow shelf in a water body that is planted with native aquatic vegetation to help filter out the nutrients and minerals in the water prior to it leaving the pond through an out-flow structure. The littoral shelf will attract wetland dependent species, and an upland buffer will provide roosting and nesting opportunities for wildlife.