Phosphate rock is the most important mineral mined in Florida, and Florida leads the nation in its production. The phosphate occurs in shallow beds in central and northern Florida, and the center of the industry is in Bartow near Lakeland. Most of it is used in fertilizers.
Petroleum and natural gas became two of Florida’s most important minerals after the discovery of a large oil field north of Pensacola in 1970. By the mid-1980s, most of these oil and gas reserves were virtually depleted. However, it is believed that significant deposits may lie below the ocean floor of the Gulf of Mexico, particularly off the state’s northwestern coast. Despite pressure from oil and gas companies to secure leases for exploratory drilling, the state government refuses to permit drilling within 160 km (100 mi) of the Florida coast and strongly opposes all offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Other leading minerals include stone, cement, clays, and sand and gravel.
Florida accounts for most of the nation’s production of zircon, which is used in making furnace brick and electronic equipment. The state ranks first in the production of titanium concentrates, which are used in the manufacture of white pigments for paint. Florida also ranks first in the output of masonry cement and peat.
Florida’s manufacturing and processing industries have expanded rapidly since the 1950s. In 2007 manufacturing employed 4.7 percent of the workers in the state. The major manufacturing centers are metropolitan Jacksonville, Tampa, and Miami. There are also many factories in smaller communities. The principal industry in terms of income generated is the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment.
Other leading industries include the manufacture of processed foods, instruments, printed materials, transportation equipment, chemicals, and industrial machinery. The development during the 1950s of the Cape Canaveral area as a missile testing and launching center spurred the growth of many electronics and other engineering plants in eastern Florida. Also manufactured are radios and televisions, telephones, laser equipment, and semiconductors.
Foodstuffs made in Florida include dairy products, meat products, seafood, and a wide variety of other products. Frozen juice concentrate accounts for a large percentage of the citrus crop. The waste peel and pulp are made into cattle feed. Other citrus by-products include citrus peel oils, wines, marmalades, and jellies. Polk County, east of Tampa, is one of the principal citrus-processing centers in Florida. Vegetables and noncitrus fruit are also processed in small towns throughout the state.
Instruments for search and navigation purposes are products in Florida’s manufacturing sector. The printing industry centers on companies publishing newspapers and periodicals, although commercial printing for businesses has grown. Firms building and repairing ships and boats are the leading employers in the transportation equipment sector, joined by the manufactures of aircraft and aircraft parts, guided missiles and space vehicles, and bodies for trucks and buses. Florida’s chemical manufactures include numerous phosphate compounds. In addition, by-products of the wood pulp and paper industry are used in the output of oils, rosins, fatty acids, plastics, and other chemicals.
Industrial machinery makers in Florida include firms making computers and machines used to package other products. Manufactures of fabricated metals are diverse, making things such as structural metal components, metal cans used in fruit and vegetable processing, and sheet metals. Florida’s forests are a source of wood used in the manufacture of wood pulp, paper, and paperboard. Naval stores, including turpentine, lumber for construction, and many wood products are also produced. Cigar making is one of the state’s oldest and best known industries. Ybor City, a section of Tampa, has been the principal cigar-making center since the 1880s. Cigars and other tobacco products are also manufactured in Jacksonville. However, many cigar plants were closed during the early 1960s, as a result of the U.S. embargo on Cuban goods, which cut off supplies of Cuban tobacco. "Florida" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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