Today’s Phosphate Industry

  • Phosphate minerals are mined and are further processed into phosphoric acid that is used to produce various products.
  • The bulk of the phosphate that is mined – more than 85% – is used to produce phosphate fertilizers. Another 5% is used to make animal feed supplements.
  • The remaining phosphates are used in making a variety of food and specialty products such as soft drinks, toothpaste, and leavening agents; and in industrial applications such as detergents, pesticides, metal coatings, and water softeners.
  • Global demand for phosphate fertilizers led to a large increase in phosphate production during the second half of the 20th century.
  • Long-term demand for phosphate fertilizers is growing at about 2% per year, driven by population growth, improving diets and bio-fuels demand.
  • The total market value of all phosphate products is estimated at >$30 billion.

Phosphoric Acid Production in the 21st Century

Current Incumbent

  • The Wet Acid Process is the status quo and the dominant process used for phosphoric acid production.
  • Furnace Acid Process market share is small and continues to erode due to its high operating costs.

The Wet Acid Process (WAP) and Furnace Acid Process (FAP) each have Advantages/Disadvantages in Making Phosphoric Acid.

  • WAP
    ~ Advantages:   Cheapest commercialized technology.
    ~ Disadvantages:  Requires high grade beneficiated ore; makes impure, dilute black acid; uses copious amounts of water; has environmental problems which include large gypsum piles and clay ponds.
  • FAP
    ~ Advantages:  Can use  ores without beneficiation or with reduced beneficiation; makes high-purity,  water-white acid; requires limited water usage; produces solid slag that does not leach impurities and locks in radon radioactivity.
    ~ Disadvantages: Costly due to large electrical usage and the requirement that the raw material fed to the process be clinkered.

    Mosaic-New-Wales

    The Mosaic Company – New Wales Complex (includes wet acid plant)

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Transformational Technology

No Phosphogypsum - Valuable Co-product Instead