Physical Separation of High Grade and Low Grade African Phosphates

Conference Dates

April 29-May 4, 2018


Africa is a source of many phosphate deposits of various resource grades and a significant global contributor of phosphate for fertilizer or phosphoric acid applications. Many of these deposits in Africa exist as sedimentary and alluvial deposits. The main phosphate bearing mineral is usually carbonate fluorapatite with quartz occurring as the main gangue mineral. It is common for phosphate deposits to have clay constituents (varying amounts in each deposit) and Mintek has found through various studies that African phosphates can easily be upgraded by removal of barren fines/clays after some initial upfront wet scrubbing. The scrubbed material is then screened wet to remove the barren fines, which normally occur in the <600µm fractions. Coarser fractions, usually >13mm are also scalped off as they also tend to contain barren coarse waste consisting mainly of quartz, calcite and dolomite. In some cases, energy input is required to remove the contaminants from the phosphate mineral surface, hence attritioning would be carried out in these instances. Much of the testwork conducted at Mintek was to determine if the resource can be upgraded to >30% P2O5 target specification.

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