Apatite Rock Phosphate
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(Fluoro, Chloro, Hydroxyl) Phosphate
The color in apatite is often due to the presence of rare earth
elements or by natural irradiation.
The History Says
The name apatite is from the Greek word to deceive because the gem
varieties were often confused with other minerals. Previously apatite
was used as a source of phosphate for fertilizer, but today mainly
phosphorites are used.
The Present Scenario
Apatite is said to enhance one's insight, learning abilities and
creativity, and to give increased self-confidence. It also is said to
help achieve deeper states of meditation. Using apatite is said to
facilitate the desired results when working with other minerals.
Apatite is said to be usefull to help improve one's coordination and
to strengthen muscles, and to help suppress hunger and ease
AND ROCK PHOSPHATE are the two important minerals of phosphorous.
Apatite is of two types:
||containing a small percentage
of fluorine (3.8% max.)
their percentage composition is as follows:
41.0, CaO 53.8, Cl 6.8 = 101.6
42.3, CaO 55.5, F 3.8 = 101.6
Apatite is of igneous origin and is found in veins. Rock phosphate
cannot be strictly called a mineral, as it has no definite chemical
composition. It is a secondary deposit formed due to the accumulation
of organic remains, like bones and by replacement of limestone,
calcite, etc., by phosphoric solutions to form a mixture of calcium
phosphate. The rock phosphate is commonly termed as 'phosphate
nodules' as it is found in nodular form. It is customary in the trade
to give or indicium Phosphate of Lime (TPL). It is also termed as Bone
Phosphate of Lime (BPL).
Apatite and rock phosphate are valued mainly for their phosphorous
content. These minerals, are mostly utilized for the manufacture of
Phosphorous obtained from apatite and rock phosphate is utilized
mainly for the manufacture of phosphoric acid (H3PO4) which in turn is
utilized for the production of pure chemicals like sodium phosphate,
monocalcium phosphate, fluorine-free dicalcium phosphate as animal
Phosphate products are also used in pharmaceuticals, ceramics, silk,
textiles, insecticides, sugar refining and in the manufacture of
Pure phosphorus has limited uses. It is of two types viz., white
phosphorus and red phosphorus. White phosphorus, nearly insoluble in
water, is slightly soluble in alcohol and certain organic liquids; it
dissolves readily in carbon disulphide and in ammonia. At 34ºC,
white phosphorous ignites spontaneously in air, evolving white fumes
of phosphorus pentoxide (P2O5) which in turn combine with water to
form orthophosphric acid (H3PO4). The melting point of white
phosphorus is 44.1ºC, boiling point is 280ºC and sp. gr.
Red phosphorous is a dark amorphous solid obtained by heating white
phosphorus to 250ºC out of contact with air. It is used in match
|CaO 55.07 %
P2O5 41.82 %
H2O 0.59 %
Cl 2.32 %
O 38.76 %
F1 0.24 %
|typically green but also
yellow, blue, reddish brown and purple
||An unusual "partially
dissolved" look similar to the look of previously sucked on
||vitreous to greasy and gumdrop
||crystal habit, color, hardness
Superphosphate is manufactured by acidulating powder rock phosphate
or apatite with dilute sulphuric acid (approximately of 70% strength)
in fixed proportions and the resulting slurry is allowed to cure for
about two weeks to reduce the free acid and finally bagged. The main
idea behind the acidulation is to convert the insoluble tricalcium
phosphate content of the mineral into water soluble mono calcium
On an average, the consumption of raw materials for the manufacture
of one tonne of superphosphate is as under:
Phosphate (P2O5; 27 to 34%) about 0.6 tonne.
acid (100% purity) about 0.38 tonne equivalent to 0.132 tonne of
For the manufacture of superphosphate, industries generally prefer
rock phosphate containing a minimum of 70% BPL, though upto 63-65% BPL
is also being consumed. Presence of iron and alumina should be as low
as possible as they unnecessarily consume too much of sulphuric acid
and also cause reversion of water soluble phosphoric acid in
superphosphate. Sulica should also be as low as possible.
For the manufacture of phosphoric acid by wet process, usually rock
phosphate containing 30-32% P2O5 is required.
The USA, North Africa, the USSR and the Pacific islands are the
principal phosphate rock producing countries. Most of the countries in
Europe and Asia depend upon imports of phosphatic minerals from these
countries. The total world reserves of rock phosphate and apatite are
estimated at 47,000 million tonnes.
Florida, Tennessee and the discovered island, 64 km. off the
California coast 182 metres deep midway between San Diego and San
Clemente islands, are the important producing states. Florida is the
largest producer in the world and produces nearly half the quantity of
the total world production.
There are a series of phosphate deposits running from south of Salt
Lake City in Utah, traversing Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. They
occur in two horizones, one of Mississippian age and the other of
Brazil - Rock Phosphate reserves are estimated at 250 million tonnes.
Chile - Estimated apatite reserves are 4 million tonnes. Both guano
and apatite are worked. The deposits are worked in Atacama and
Coquimbo provinces. The average grade worked is 25% P2O5. The
production of guano comes from Antofagasta and Tarapaca provinces
worked by Sociedad Chilena de Fertilizantes.
Morocco - Phosphate bed is found in sediments of the Eocene age for a
distance of 320 km. between the Atlas Mountains to the east and the
Atlantic coast in the west. The sediments are composed of shale,
limestone and sandstone of marine origin. Phosphate occurs in
limestone. The largest producing mine is the Khouribga (Kourigha). The
phosphate rock from this mine is known as 'Morocco Phosphate' in
trade, guaranteed to contain a minimum of 73% BPL. The thickness of
the phosphate bed is 3 metres.
There is another mine at Louis-Gentil; the output from this mine is
known as 'Safi Phosphate' with about 70% BPL guaranteed. The output of
the Khouribga mine is sent to Casablanca port ant that of Louis Gentil
to Safi port for export.
Algeria & Tunisia
Phosphate deposits of Eocene age occur on both sides of the border
for a distance of 320 km. Mining is underground. The mineral worked is
transported over cableways and narrow gauge railway owned by the
mining company to Tebessa and transferred to the State railway for
haulage to the port of Bone on the Mediterranean sea.
In Tunisia, the largest producing mines are at Moulares and Redeyef
of the western extension of the deposits worked at Djebel Onk in
Algeria. The bed varies in thickness from approximately 2 to 3 metres.
The phosphate deposits of Tunisia and Algeria are of a comparatively
low grade which ranges from 58 to 66% BPL.
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