Rock Phosphate is a chemical compound containing phosphorus and oxygen. Rock phosphate is essential for the growth of plants and animals. The term Rock phosphate (or Phosphorite) is used to define any rock with a high phosphorus content. The largest and least expensive source of phosphorus is obtained by mining and concentrating phosphate rock from the numerous phosphate deposits of the world. Some phosphate rock is used to make calcium phosphate nutritional supplements for animals. Pure phosphorus is used to make chemicals for use in industry. The most important use of phosphate rock is in the production of phosphate fertilizers for agriculture. Phosphorus is involved in numerous plant functions, but its most important role is in helping plants capture the sun’s energy and begin the photosynthesis process. The phosphate mineral known as hydroxyapatite is important for bones and teeth part.
About 95 % of the world’s phosphate rock production is consumed in the fertilizer industry. Most of the balance is processed, in electric furnaces, into elemental phosphorus which is the main raw material for manufacturing various phosphate compounds. The economic recovery of phosphates is limited to naturally concentrated phosphate mineral deposits. More than 40 countries around the world produce phosphate rock. These countries, arranged in descending order of their production capacities, are China, USA, Morocco, Russia, Brazil, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Tunisia, South Africa, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Senegal, India, and Algeria. Phosphate is essential for crop growth and hence, food production.
Rock phosphate in Egypt
Rock Phosphate is the most important mineral deposit in Egypt, it is in the form of a belt of phosphate deposits extending to about 750 km in length from the Red Sea on the east to Dakhla Oasis on the west. The economic importance can be summarized in that exported abroad in large quantities. it is also part of the manufacture of chemical fertilizers of super phosphate type. The phosphate sites are of economic importance in Egypt in three main areas:
One of the most important areas, where Rock phosphate regions in Mahameed and Sabaaia, which lies between Edfu and Qena cities. Estimated Rock phosphate reserves in Mahameed area of about 200 million tons and up with a ratio (fifth phosphorus oxide) of about 30%. Geological studies have resulted from those reserves estimated at 1000 million tons around Mahameed areas.
Red Sea coast
Rock Phosphate occurs between ports of Safaga and el qussiar. Mount. Dawy, el-atshan and Hamrawein. Estimated reserves of 200 to 250 million tons of rock phosphate.
Abu Tartour plateau, between Dakhla Oasis and Kharga Oasis, represents the largest phosphate deposit in Egypt, where an estimated Rock Phosphate reserves of around 1,000 million tonnes.