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Rock phosphate is a general term for rock that contains a high concentration of phosphate minerals, which commonly belong to the apatite group. Phosphate rock minerals are the only significant global resources of phosphorus. Phosphorus is an essential element for plant and animal nutrition. Mined rock phosphate is primarily used in the production of phosphate fertilisers for agriculture. Phosphorus from rock phosphate is also used in animal feed supplements, food preservatives, anti-corrosion agents, cosmetics, fungicides, ceramics, water treatment and metallurgy.
In the world, the United States is the leading importer of phosphate rock, but the leading producer and exporter of phosphate fertilizers, accounting for about 37% of world P2O5 exports . The world’s total economic demonstrated resource of rock phosphate is 18 Gt, which occurs principally as sedimentary marine phosphorites.
- http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/phosphate_rock/ USGS Phosphate Rock
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