Rock phosphate is a mineral feedstock for the production of phosphate fertilizers and phosphoric acid. It is extracted from the mineral apatite, which is best suited for the production of fertilizers.
Due to the substantial demand for synthetic fertilizers containing phosphate and the development of new sources of rock phosphate, the volume mined has risen steadily over the years. Six principal producing countries (China, the U.S., Morocco, Russia, Tunesia and Jordan) control just under 80% of the world market. While new reserves are being discovered all the time, the available quantities of high-quality rock phosphate are nevertheless finite. Many of the major deposits are contaminated with cadmium. Today only the deposits in Kola (Russia) still meet the restrictive limits imposed by the EU. HELM has access to rock phosphate from various sources and of varying qualities and is therefore able to supply products for virtually any application. The spectrum ranges from the standard quality grade with a phosphorus content of 27-28%, used in palm oil plantations, for example, all the way through to quality grades of more than 30%. The quality of the raw material is usually indicated by a BPL number (BPL stands for bone phosphate lime), which provides information about the phosphorus content.
Examples of applications
Rock phosphate does not dissolve easily in water, making it difficult for plants to assimilate. Chemical conversion via phosphoric acid produces phosphate fertilizers, such as DAP, MAP and other ammonium phosphates, which are more easily assimilated by plants.