China urges to utilize limited phosphorus resources more reasonably 07-05-2019

The first China Phosphorus Resources Development Seminar was held in Yichang City, Hubei Province from 22nd to 23rd of June. Many experts in the seminar were of the opinion that with the decline of pure phosphorus rocks worldwide, a lot of countries tend to develop and utilize middle low-grade phosphate rocks. Hence, scientifically developing middle low-grade phosphate rocks has become one of the primary tasks in China.

The utilization rate of phosphorus resources becomes low in China

Phosphorus is one of the essential nutrients for plants as it helps them in their growth. Guanzhou Qiu, an academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, said that phosphorus has become the bottle neck on agricultural production in many countries. As a result, it is very important to improve the utilization rate of phosphorus in soil.

“Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, Guizhou, and Yunnan are the main phosphorus resource rich areas, also called fluorine resource rich areas”, Qiu added.  In China, over 80% of phosphate rocks are used for producing phosphate fertilizer, with over 1.5 million tonnes of fluorosilicic acid coming out every year. The by-products which contain fluorine are barely used. A large number of fluorine resources are emitted in the form of exhaust, effluent, as well as waste and residues, which severely contaminate environment. Hence, it is essential that the fluorine from phosphate rocks should be cleaned efficiently.

China needs to make better use of the total rock phosphate reserves

According to Cunwen Wang, the principal of Wuhan Institute of Technology, China owns 187 million tonnes of phosphate rocks in total. However, 90% of them cannot be directly utilized as middle low-grade phosphate rocks. 50 million tonnes of phosphogupsum are also produced each year as solid waste, but only 64% of them can be utilized. Hubei ranks highest in the total reserve of rock phosphate, the annual extraction and the industrial value of phosphorus chemical industries. A lot of companies and industries in Hubei are located alongside the Changjiang River and Han River. With the development strategy of the Changjiang river economic zone, it is of great importance to realize the transformation and update of industries and the control of environmental pollution.

Ruan Chi, an academician of Xingfa School of Mining Engineering, Wuhan Institute of Technology said that the characteristics of rock phosphate lie into four parts. First, most of the resources are grouped in one area with inconvenient transportation. Second, the number of low-grade rocks is more than that of high-grade rocks. Third, low-grade refractory ores account for a large percentage of the beneficiation. Fourth, it is difficult to extract them due to the different degrees of depth.

He also added that problems on the extraction and utilization of rock phosphate also remain, such as low rate of recovery for small enterprises; high expenses on dressing ores; high cost of transportation especially for those ore districts far away from the river.

Phosphogypsum should be disposed of scientifically and environmentally friendly

A majority of industrial wastes are generated during the production of phosphorus chemical enterprises.  phosphogypsum and yellow phosphorus slag are two main types of phosphorus chemical waste with large emissions. the vice general manager of Guizhou Kailin Group Co., LTD said that the utilization rate of phosphogypsum in China is less than 40% with a total number of over 300 million tonnes. Nearly a hundred of areas are used for stacking phosphogypsum, which pose a potential threat on environment. It is urgent that phosphogypsum should be disposed of scientifically and environmentally friendly.

For more information about China's phosphorus market, please have a look at our monthly newsletter Phosphorus Industry China Monthly Report.

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