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Florida is an important non-metallic mineral producing State. It stands first in the production of phosphate, having held this position for more than forty years; second in fuller's earth, a variety of clay used in clarifying mineral and vegetable oils and fats; is a center in the production of a typically characteristic sedimentary kaolin used in the manufacture of various white ware products; is an important producer of limestone, lime and cement; produces building stone from coquina, oolitic, coral and other limestones which are not only durable and attractive for exterior construction, but also for interior decorative purposes; produces quantities of peat used directly on soils and as a filler in fertilizers; has large deposits of sands suitable for various construction and manufacturing purposes; and has valuable deposits of clays suitable for the manufacture of building brick and tile, as well as for pottery and ornamental burned wares.
The limestones of Florida are of vast importance, contributing generously to its development in supplying material so extensively used in road construction, concrete aggregate, ballast, lime and cement manufacture and also as a building material. Furthermore, the limestones are the most important waterbearing formations of the State, the large, beautiful springs issue from them and the thousands of deeper artesian wells draw their apparently unfailing supplies from such formations. Their total value to the State can therefore not be estimated.
With the discovery of phosphate in 1888, the mineral industry of Florida became more definitely and permanently established. Development proceeded so rapidly that Florida soon assumed first place in the production or this commodity and has continued in the lead. Phosphate is the largest mineral industry in the State; two varieties, entering chiefly into commercial production, the land pebble, mainly from Polk and Hillsborough Counties, the hard rock from a rather narrow belt in the west central portion of the Peninsula, centering at Dunnellon. With these two types is associated a considerable proportion of soft phosphate, large quantities of which are now placed on the market. The limestone, lime, and crushed stone, industry, the cement production and the output of fuller's earth and kaolin have grown in recent years and have contributed increasingly to the value of the mineral output. Other mineral industries are: sand and gravel; common brick; building tile; drain tile; turpentine cups and pottery; peat; diatomaceous earth and mineral waters. The valuation of the output of various Florida mineral products for the years 1933 and 1934 is shown in the following table:
1933 1934* Phosphate $6,417,110 $8,076,317 Limestone, lime and crushed stone 682,961 1,086,444 Sand and gravel 202,679 Kaolin, Fuller's earth 774,808 819,046 Common brick 56,445 Cement, mineral waters 937,619 1,332,787 Total $9,071,622 $11,314,594
* Returns for this year not complete.
Excerpt from "Mineral Resources of Florida" Know Florida, Issued by the State Department of Agriculture, Tallahassee, Circa 1935, pg. 21.
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