Rock Phosphate Grinding Mill China

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Rock Phosphate Grinding Mill China

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Rock Phosphate Grinding Mill China

Rock Phosphate Grinding Mill China

Rock Phosphate Grinding Mill China


Interest in phosphate recycling is increasing in the industrialized world. There are large amounts of phosphate available in waste streams from e.g. agriculture, sewage treatment and from industrial side streams which pose an increasing problem. To avoid wasting these in e.g. landfills, and to counteract the depletion of natural phosphate sources, routes for re-use are explored. One possibility is to replace phosphate rock by recycled materials in the production of white phosphorus. Worldwide, P production is limited to China, Kazakhstan, the USA and The Netherlands.

The phosphorus process

The phosphorus process consists of two parts. The first part is a wet granulation and sintering of phosphate rock, producing hard pellets of 1-2 cm. This treatment is necessary to prevent blocking of the furnaces further downstream. The rock pellets are then mixed with cokes (reducing agent) and pebbles (SiO2, for slag formation) and fed into a furnace. The furnace is heated to 1500 °C by means of electric resistance. At this temperature, phosphate is reduced to P4 which leaves the furnace as a gas, together with the by-product CO and some dust. This dust is removed in an electrostatic precipitator and recycled into the process. The P4 is then condensed. The resulting CO gas stream is used as fuel for the sintering plant and other on- site processes. The calcium oxide which is left in the furnace after the phosphate has reacted, combines with the SiO2 to form a liquid slag. This slag is tapped, cooled, crushed and used for e.g. road construction. Iron, present as an impurity in the rock, is also reduced in the furnace. These form a separate slag, ferrophosphorus, which contains roughly 75% Fe and 25% P, with small amounts of other metals. It is used as a steel additive. The usual route for phosphate recycling is to mix the material with the rock before the grinding stage. This implies that it has to fulfil the same set of restrictions imposed on regular phosphates and the impurities it contains.

Phosphate content

The typical P2O5 content of phosphate rock is 30-40% (= 13-17.5% P). The phosphate content of waste streams is usually lower. If the remainder is made up by inorganic compounds, this will lead to more slag per tonne of P4. This will affect the energy efficiency of the process negatively, since the heat in slag is lost. The slag takes up a substantial amount, about one- third, of the total electricity consumption of the process; therefore extra slag should be avoided if possible. On the other hand, if the remainder of the secondary stream consists of SiO2, this has no effect on the energy balance since the process requires the addition of SiO2 anyway. Aluminium compounds may replace SiO2 in slag formation, so that recovered aluminium phosphates would make a good raw material for the process.


Since the phosphorus furnace is a reduction process, it also reduces every (trace) element present which is more easily reduced than phosphorus. The most notable are: x Iron. This forms a separate slag, an Fe-P alloy with 25% P. The removal capacity of this, and the market, are limited. If pure FePO4 is used, only one-third of the phosphorus is released as P4; the remainder will end up in the ferrophosphorus. Also, the reduction of iron requires additional energy and cokes. x Volatile metals. Sewage sludges and manure often contain considerable amounts of zinc. This is volatilised in the furnace and subsequently precipitated on the furnace dust. Since this is recycled, zinc tends to build up in the system. This makes purges necessary. Similar problems occur for other volatile metals like lead, cadmium and tin. Radioactive isotopes, which are present in the rock as uranium decay products, such as 210 Pb, are also accumulated here. This makes this stream lightly radioactive, typically 800 Bq g-1 , which requires special handling and prevents its use as a Zn source, or landfill. Instead it has to be stored as a radioactive waste.

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