Phosphorus in the soil-plant system

For extensive information on phosphates and their use in agriculture, please visit "Use of phosphate rocks for sustainable agriculture" FAO 2004.

Apatites are phosphates of igneous origin and are not suitable for direct applications because of low solubility. Sukulu phosphates have to be beneficiated and chemically transformed. Moreover, the regional market for phosphates is limited. Therefore, the project must be oriented to exports of beneficiated rock ie. concentrates.

World production of phosphate rock in 2006 was 145 Mt; its distribution is shown here (source US Geological survey 2007). An extensive study by CRU "Phosphate Rock: outlook for 2005-2015" is here.

World production of phosphate rock is dominated by 12 countries - United States, China, Morocco, Russia, Tunisia, Jordan, Brazil, Syria, Israel, Egypt, South Africa, Australia, Senegal, Togo, India. See this detailed production statistic years 2001-2005. Approximately 15% of current world production is from igneous sources and 87% is from sedimentary sources. Main igneous sources are Brazil (Tapira Minas Gerais), Russia (Kola peninsula) and South Africa (Palaborwa). Sedimentary phosphate rock will continue to supply the bulk of global phosphate needs in the future. In the medium-term future (10-15 years), reserves of low cadmium phosphate rock in central Florida will be depleted, and production will be reduced. Production to meet global needs will come from other deposits, which in general may have higher contents of cadmium and other minor elements.

In 2007, the United States remains the world's leading consumer, producer, and supplier of phosphate fertilizers, however, its share of the world market has been shrinking. Phosphate fertilizer production increasingly being located in the large consuming regions of Asia and South America. US. exports of phosphate fertilizer to China and India, the two largest consumers of phosphate fertilizers, have dropped significantly since 2000. Exports of DAP to India have rebounded slightly over the past 2 years owing to temporary plant closures in India and increased consumption, but have not returned to the record level of 1999. Exports of MAP to Brazil have increased over the past several years, but declined in 2005-00 owing to lower demand.

put on line on 26/02/2009 by Pierre Ratcliffe Consultant to MISA/Nilefos Contact through Nilefos: (