A federal judge has ruled against Mosaic Company expanding its South Fort Meade mine until the US Army Corps of Engineers reviews less environmentally damaging alternatives to the project.

The Sierra Club and local environmental groups filed a lawsuit on 30 June against the Army Corps for granting a permit to Mosaic for the 10,756-acre expansion into wetlands in violation of the Clear Water Act.

The mine expansion would disturb 534 acres of wetlands and 56,661ft of streams that run into the Peace River, according to the Corps’ website.

Mosaic said it will file an appeal against the ruling.

The mine, at its current capacity, does not have enough phosphate rock to continue mining operations at its present level.