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JournalofMiningWorldExpress(MWE)Volume4,2015www.mwejournal.

org
Doi:10.14355/mwe.2015.04.001

MineralIndustryinEgyptPartIINon
MetallicCommoditiesPhosphateRocks
Elmaadawy,Kh.G.1;EzzElDin,M.2;Khalid,A.M.3;Abouzeid,A.Z.M.4
AssistantProfessor,FacultyofScience,Dept.ofGeology,MinofiyaUniversity,Egypt.

GeneralDirector,EMRA,Egypt.

Geologist,Consultant(ExEMRA),Egypt.

Professor,CairoUniversity,FacultyofEngineering,Dept.ofMining,Egypt.

Abstract
Phosphorus is an essential element in the buildup of the human body and all other livings skeletons. The main source of
phosphorusisthenaturalphosphate.About95percentoftheproducedphosphatesareconsumedintheagriculturalsectoras
fertilizersandanimalfeedstocks.Mostofthebalanceisconvertedintophosphoricacidandelementalphosphoruswhichare
therawmaterialsformanufacturingvariousphosphatecompounds.Theworldannualphosphateproductionin2012isaround
217milliontons,andtheglobalreservesamountto67billiontons.Withthepopulationincrease,researchersestimatethatthe
existingphosphatereservescovertheworldneedsofphosphatesformorethan100yearstocome.Egypthasabout4percentof
the world phosphate reserves (2.78 billion tons), and produces about 3 percent of the world phosphate production (about 6
milliont/y).ThepresentarticlecoversdifferentaspectsoftheEgyptianphosphaterocks.ThephosphatedepositsinEgyptlie
between latitudes 23 10 30 50 N, whereas the payable zone lies between latitudes 24 30 26 50 N. They extend
longitudinally from the Red Sea Coast to El Dakhla Oases. Geologically, the economic phosphate beds belong to the central
facial zone of the Upper Senonian age (Upper Cretaceous and Lower Eocene) deposits. They cover the Red Sea Coast, Nile
Valley,andWesternDesert.TheP2O5contentrangesbetween20and32%.Thegangueconstituentsaremainlycarbonates,
silica,andsilicates(clays),dependingontheregionandlocality.Thephosphateoreisminedbyopencastand/orunderground
mining. The underground mining is either longwall or roomandpillar mining methods. Upgrading the phosphate rock is
donethrough:crushing,screening,attritionscrubbing,desliming,anddryingnaturallyorartificially.Flotationisapromising
techniquefortheremovalofallsortsofgangueminerals.Thishasbeentestedinlaboratoryandsemipilotscales.
Keywords
Egypt;MineralIndustry;NonMetallicCommodities;PhosphateRocks

Introduction
Phosphates, in the form of fertilizers, are essential in the agricultural sector. They are also very important
constituentsinanimalfeedstocksandinfoodandotherchemicalindustries.About95%oftheworldphosphate
rock production is consumed in fertilizer industry. Most of the balance is processed, in electric furnaces, into
elementalphosphoruswhichisthemainrawmaterialformanufacturingvariousphosphatecompounds(Emich,
1984, Jasinski, 2007). Economic recovery of phosphates is limited to naturally concentrated phosphate mineral
deposits. More than 40 countries around the world produce phosphate rock. In 2012, the world phosphate
productionreached217Mt,outofwhich209Mtwereproducedbyeighteenmajorphosphateproducingcountries
(countries whose production exceeds 1 million tons per year) (Jasinski, 2014). These countries, arranged in
descending order of their production capacities, are: China, USA, Morocco, Russia, Brazil, Jordan, Egypt, Israel,
Peru,SaudiArabia,Australia,Tunisia,SouthAfrica,Mexico,Kazakhstan,Senegal,India,andAlgeria.Only8.5Mt
areproducedbyallothercountries.Figure1showsthegrowthcurveoftheworldannualphosphateproduction
sincetheyear1850,whenthefirstworldphosphateproductionwasrecorded(Abouzeidetal.,1996;Jasinski,2014;
Abouzeid,2008).
Phosphate is essential for crop growth and hence, food production. To sustain high crop yields, agriculture
requires a steady supply of phosphate chemical fertilizers. It is estimated that approximately 60% of the
phosphorusappliedtocroplandcomesfromthisnonrenewableresource(Cordell,2010;Liuetal.,2008;Smil,2000;
Smiletal.,2009),withtheremainderfromrecycledphosphorusinorganicresidues suchasmanure,cropresidues
andhumanexcreta(Cooperetal.,2011).

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FIGURE1RATEOFWORLDPHOSPHATEPRODUCTIONFROM1850TO2013(ABOUZEID,2008;JASINSKI,2014)

World Phosphte
There are growing challenges for affording phosphate needed to keep pace with food demand for an increasing
globalpopulation.Thesechallengesexistthroughoutthephosphorussupplychain,fromminingofphosphaterock
through fertilizer manufacture, use, and recycling of phosphorus rich wastes. Several studies suggest that
phosphaterockreservescouldbedepletedwithin50100years(Steen,1998;DeHaesetal.,2009;Smiletal.,2009;
Vaccari,2009;Cordell,2010),whileothersaremoreoptimistic(VanKauwenbergh,2010;VanVuurenetal.,2010).
DistributionofWorldPhosphateRockReserves
Duetothespecificconditionsrequiredforphosphaterockdeposition,occurrenceislimitedbothtemporallyand
geographically,resultinginafewmassivephosphateformations,knownasPhosphoriteGiants,whichmakeup
thebulkofphosphaterockreserves(Filippelli,2011).Thedistributionofreserves,whichwasalreadythoughtto
be significantly concentrated with just five countries in control of 86% of global reserves (Jasinski, 2010), was
furtherintensifiedwiththereleaseoftheIFDCreport,anditssubsequentrevisiontoUSGSestimates.Thelatest
estimates,nowsuggestthatfewcountriescontroltheworldphosphatereserves,withMoroccoalonecontrols74.6
%ofglobalreserveswith50billiontones,China5.5%with3.7billiontons,andAlgeria3.3%with2.2billiontons
(Jasinski,2011).Therestoftheworldshareonly16.6%oftheworldphosphatereserves,whichamountsto11.1
billiontons.

FIGURE2SHAREOFWORLDPHOSPHATEROCKPRODUCTIONIN2010(COOPERETAL.,2011)

WorldPhosphateRockProduction
Phosphaterockproductionbeganjustbeforethemiddleof19thcentury,rapidlyincreasingbetween1950and1990,
andplayinganunappreciatedbutkeyroleintheGreenRevolutioninwhichagriculturalyieldsweresignificantly
increased (Elser and White, 2010). From USGS historical production data it is possible to determine that around
7000Mtofphosphaterockhavebeenproducedsince1900,withproductionincreasingonaveragebyaround3.7%
peryear.Productionpeakedin1989anddeclinedforseveralyears(Cordelletal.,2009a).However,risingdemand

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overthelast10yearshasseenannualproductionincreaseagainbyaround3%peryear,reachingaround176Mtin
2010 (Jasinski, 2010). Similar to the situation withphosphate rock reserves,global phosphate rock productionis
dominatedbyjustahandfulofcountries(Cooperetal.,2011),Figure2.Historically,theUShasbeenthelargest
phosphaterockproducer,responsibleforalmostathirdofthisproductionsince1900.ChinasurpassedtheUSas
theworldslargestphosphaterockproducersince2006,andnowproducesaround37%oftheglobalproduction
(Jasinski,2007,2011).Inanattempttosecuredomesticsuppliesduringthe2008pricerises,Chinaimposeda135%
export tariffon its phosphate rock, which effectively stopped exports (Elser and White,2010). The concentrated
natureofworldphosphateproductionraisesthepossibilitythatasmallnumberofcountriescouldhavesignificant
controloverthemarketpriceofphosphaterock,similartotheoilmonopoly(Cooperetal.,2011).
Phosphate Rocks in Egypt
ThediscoveryofphosphaterocksinEgyptdatesbacktothebeginningofthelastcentury,andtheirexploitation
wasinitiatedin19081911byforeigncompaniesinregionsalongtheNileValleyandtheRedSeaCoast,andlately
inKhargaOasesintheWesternDesert.Sincethattimephosphateminingandproductionhasbeensurvivinginthe
formertworegionstillthepresent.Itwasonlysince1957whenthephosphateminingindustrywasnationalized
thatsystematicstudiesonphosphatereservesandproductionwerecarriedout.
The present paper generalizes, in an itemized way as possible, the information available on the main phosphate
occurrences in Egypt regarding their geology, mineralogical and chemical composition, reserves, production,
industrialvalueandotherrelateddata.PublishedandinternallydocumentedreportsoftheGeologicalSurveyof
Egypt are extensively used as the main source of information on the geology, reserves and properties of the
phosphatedeposits.DataonminingandproductionareobtainedthroughtheMiningCompanies.Researchwok
publishedbyuniversities,researchcentersandotherrelatedinstitutionsarealsoconsidered.
PhosphateDistribution
Generally,theEgyptianphosphatesareshallowmarinedepositsofUpperSenonianage.Theirmaximumintensity
of deposition was associated with the transgressive shoreline of a late Campanian or early Maastrichtian at the
continental contact with the sea which encroached from north to south over the northern slopes of the African
platform. Only very poor recorded phosphatic rocks are observed in older sediments of the Senonian and in
youngersedimentsofthelateMaastrichtianandearlyTertiary
Three latitudinal lithologicfacial zones (southern, central and northern) can be distinguished in the Upper
Campanian Lower Maastrichian deposits, Figure 3. The main phosphate characteristics of each zone can be
summarizedasfollows:
SouthernFacialZone
Itliesbetweenlatitudes23102430N.Phosphatedepositsarethinwithlowgradephosphaticlenses.They
occurredamongshallowwatercoastalsedimentsofcoarsegrainedsandstoneandsandyclay.Phosphaticrocks
whichoccurintheextensionbetweenSouthKhargaandDungulareasbelongtothiszone,andtheyarewithout
economicvalue.
CentralFacialZone
It is locatedbetween latitudes2430 26050N. All economic phosphate deposits inEgypt are confined to this
zone.Thesedepositsincludethewelldevelopedphosphoriteswhicharetracedinaroughlywestwardextension
fromQusseirSafagaregionontheRedSeaCoastacrosstheEasternDesertthroughIdfuQenaregionintheNile
Valley, and further to beyond Dakhla Oases in the Western Desert. In this zone, deposition of the phosphate
bearing sediments took place in a pronouncedly vast intraplatform trough, which probably extends further
eastwardsandwestwardsbeyondthelimitsofQusseirandDakhla.Localridgeandbasinconfigurationsofthesea
bottomwereresponsiblefortheveryfrequentlateralandverticallithofacieschangesdisplayedbythestrataand
theircontainedphosphates.(Issawietal.1969;Issawietal.1971;Said,1962;1990).
Phosphoritedepositionfollowedacyclicregime,threeofwhicharegenerallyidentified.Eachphosphatecycleis
representedbyavaryingnumberofbedswhichareembodiedinonegroup.Thethreegroupsaredesignatedas

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lower, middle and upper groups. These groups attain different economic values in the different localities of the
threephosphatebearingregionsinthiszone.
NorthernFacialZone
It occurs between latitudes 260 50 300 50 N. The stratigraphic equivalents of the main phosphatebearing
sediments known in the central zone change to the northern zone into carbonate facies of open sea, pelagic
deposits. These deposits form only scattered thin, discontinuous and fragmentary lowgrade phosphatic rocks.
This zone includes the scattered occurrences recorded in Sinai, Esh el Mallaha, Wadi Araba, Wadi Qena and
BahariyaOases,Figure3.Noneoftheseoccurrencesbearseconomicsignificanceatthepresenttime.

FIGURE3THEPHOSPHATICFACIALZONESINEGYPT

Geology of the Main Phosphate Regions


The main phosphatebearing regions in Egypt are confined to the central facial zone of the Upper Senonian
deposits,whichincludethefollowing:
A.QusseirSafagaRegion(RedSeaCoast);
B.IdfuQenaRegion(NileValley),and
C.KhargaDakhlaRegionincludingAbuTarturplateau(WesternDesert).
AQusseirSafagaRegion
TheregionextendsinanorthwestdirectionalongtheRedSeacoastfromsouthofQusseirtoSafagainbetween
latitudes25502647andlongitudes334534025,Figure3.
1)

GeneralGeology

The complex geology and tectonics which characterize this region are attributed to its confinement to the
boundarybetweentheAraboNubianmassifandtheGulfofSueztaphrogeosyncline.FaultingwiththeNW
trend dominating is the main feature in the region, and it gives rise to a complicated system of horsts and
grabens.(Said,1962). Basement rocks form bold masses which cover major parts of this stretch. The Upper
Cretaceous (including the phosphate deposits) and the Lower Eocene sediments are preserved only in those
tectonic blocks which have mostly synclinal structures. They form isolated hills of faulted elongated basins
which are grouped along two subparallel strips. In the western strip (of a NW extension), these blocks are
separatedfromeachotherbybasementcomplexrocks.Intheeasternstrip(ofaNNW extension)smallpatches
oftheUpperCretaceousandLowerEocenesedimentsoccuratthecontactbetweenthebasementrocksandthe

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postEocenesedimentswhichcoverthenarrowcoastalstrip.
2)

Stratigraphy

Issawi et al. (1971) stated that the oldest sediments in the QusseirSafaga region are represented by Nubian
sandstonesofSantonianCampanianage.TheoverlyingsuccessionofUpperCretaceous,PaleoceneandLower
Eocenerocksbuildupthehillmassesofthefollowingsequence:
a) Variegatedsandstoneandsandyclayswithsubordinateintercalationsofmarls.Lateralandverticalinter
gradationofrocktypesiscommon.Phosphatebedsassignedtothelowergroup(correspondingtothefirst
cycleofphosphatedeposition)areconfinedtoupperpartsofthevariegatedrocks.InQusseirdistrictthey
beareconomicsignificanceinsomeplaces,whileinSafagadistricttheyarenotwelldeveloped.
b) Lower Maastrichtian sediments are represented by relatively deeper water carbonate shale sediments
consisting of limestone, marl, shale, sandstone and siliceous rocks. Phosphate beds of the middle and
upper groups which occur as alternating layers within this succession are economically interesting. In
Qusseirdistrict,bedsofthetwogroupsareseparatedfromeachotherbyanOysterlimestonebed,1050m
in thickness. In Safaga district, Lower Maastrichtian sediments display changes in thickness and in
lithologicfacies.TheOysterlimestonebediscompletelymissingandbedsofmiddleandupperphosphate
groups merge together into one or two payable beds with a thin bed of siliceous marl in between.
Phosphate beds of the upper group mark the top boundary of the phosphatebearing succession in this
region.
c)
3)

LowerEoceneformationsarerepresentedbythickdepositsofsiliceouslimestonewhichformthecaprock
ofthehillymasses.(Issawiet.al.1969)
PhosphateBearingLocalitiesofQusseirSafaga

In the region under consideration there are nine localities in Qusseir district and three localities in Safaga
district, which are considered to be the principal phosphatebearing occurrences, Figure 4. The localities in
Qusseirdistrictare:GabalDuwi,Nasser,Atshan,HamadatTundub,Gihaina,Anz,ZugElBahar,AbuShigeila,
andHamrawein.ThoseinSafagadistrictare:UmElHuetatGasus,Wasif,andMohamedRabah.(Issawietal.,
1969&1971).
31

LEGEND
Measured section
Mines
Hills
Valleys
Roads

RED
0

SEA
10

20 Km

G. Umm Zarabir

SCALE
W. Tebun mines
W. Hamrawein
G. Hamrawein

HAMRAWEIN

G. Anz

Quseir

G. Duwi
G. Atshan

To Qift

G. Hamadat

26

FIGURE4LOCATIONMAPOFPHOSPHATELOCALITIESWITHINTHEREDSEAREGION

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4)

CharacteristicsofThePhosphateGroups

AtQusseir

Numberofphosphatebedsvariesfromonelocalitytotheother.Thenumberofpayablebedsrangesfrom
1to7.

Thedistributionofthepayablephosphatebedsamongthethreegroupsdifferfromonelocalitytotheother.
Insomelocalitiestheeconomicphosphatebedsexistonlyinonegroup(upper,middle,orlowergroup).In
someotherlocalitiesthepayablephosphatebedsexistintwogeologicgroups,orsometimesinthethree
groups.

Thethicknessoftheeconomicphosphatebedsrangesbetween0.2m2.9m.

Thephosphatecontentinthepayablebedsrangesbetween2032%P2O5.

AtSafaga

Thenumberofphosphatebedsrangesfrom13bedsinanygroup.

The lower group does not contain any economic phosphate beds. In the other two groups, economic
phosphatebedsexistinbothupperandmiddlegroups.

Thebedthicknessreaches2.7mthickinmostoftheSafagaphosphatelocations.

Thephosphatecontentinthethreelocalitiesrangesbetween14%and33%P2O5.

5)

ChemicalandMineralogicalComposition

The chemical composition of phosphorite in the phosphate beds at QusseirSafaga Region vary widely in the
different localities. The main chemical compounds present are calcium and / or magnesium carbonates and
silica(Table1).
TABLE1CHEMICALCOMPOSITIONOFPHOSPHATEORESINSOMELOCALITIESATSAFAGAQUSEIRREGION

Compound
P2O5
SiO2
Al2O3
MgO
CaO
Na2O
K2O
SO3
CO2
Cl
F
I.R.
OrganicMatter

GabalDawui
28.38

1.06
1.3
48.26

2.3
8.15
0.04
2.96
4.5
2.38

P2O5,percent
Hamrawein
22.6
6.09
1.77
2.3
43.43
0.79
0.13
1.38

3.4

UmmElHuwietat
29.81

0.30
2.02
47.90
0.25
0.09
3.75
5.83
0.07
2.4
3.76
2.91

Phosphorites are associated with different types of rocks as sandstones and shale in the lower group, and
dolomiteslithosomes.Thephosphoriteissemifriable,inpartmassiveandhard.Textureisgenerallypelletal;
the pellet size differs from gravellitic (24mm), to coarse sandy (1.00.5mm), to fine sandy (0.50.25mm).
Collophanepelletsmakethemainconstituentofthephosphatematerial.Bonefragments,teethandshelldebris
arelessabundant,andtheiroccurrencesareessentiallyconfinedtothemiddleanduppergroups.

In the phosphorites of the lower group, the quartz grains are less frequent and the matrix is positively
phosphaticwithadmixturesofglauconiteoranhydrite.

Inthephosphoritesofthelowergroup,quartzisthedominantaccessorymineralintherock.Thematrixis
generallyamixtureofphosphate,gypsum,clayandsilica.

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InthePhosphoritesofthemiddlegroup,thequartzgrainsarelessfrequentandthematrixisphosphatic
withadmixturesofglauconiteoranhydrite.

In the phosphorites of the upper group, quartz grains are rare and the matrix is essentially carbonate
dolomitewithinterstitialphosphaticmatter.

BIdfuQenaRegion
TheIdfuQenaRegionextendsinbetweenlatitudes25302630andlongitudes32303330onbothsidesof
theNileValley.
1)

GeneralGeology

TectonicallytheIdfuQenaregionisconfinedtotheNEflankoftheNiletectonicsyncline.Themajorpartofthis
phosphate region is characterized by broad gentle folds which are associated with regional faults of the NW
trend.
Rocks of the basement complex, the lower parts of the overlying Nubian sandstones, outcrop beyond the
easternandsoutheasternofthisregion.TheupperpartsoftheNubiansandstonesaretheoldestexposedinthe
region, and they are probably of a SantonianCampanian age. The overlying sediments are similar in their
succession to those of the QusseirSafaga region. Poor phosphate occurrences within the variegated rocks
representtheinitialcycleoftheUpperSenonianphosphateaccumulationasitisthecaseinotherregionsofthe
centralfacialzone.However,thelowerphosphategroupwhichislocallyofeconomicimportanceintheQusseir
districtcontainsnopayablebedsintheEdfuQenaRegion.Themainphosphatebedswhichseemtohavesome
economicpotentialitiesareconfinedtothelowerMaastrichtiandepositsandwhichformtheupperpartofthe
phosphatebearingsuccession(GeologicalsurveyofEgypt,1968).
2)

Stratigraphy

The latter beds fall in two groups designated as the middle and upper groups; both of which are nearly
correlated with beds of the middle and upper groups of QusseirSafaga Region. Phosphate concentrations
generally fade out in the overlying Upper Maastrichtian marlsection. Only at one location in this region, a
commercialphosphatebedisencounteredatitsbottomcontact.
Sediments enclosing the middle and upper groups of the phosphate beds exhibit very significant lithologic
facieschanges.InthenorthernpartsoftheregioninbetweenthelatitudesofQiftandAbuHadtheyaremainly
represented by clay and silicified rock; an association which bears close similarity to its equivalent at Safaga
district.Tothesouth,theyarereplacedatdifferentratesbysandstoneandOysterlimestone.
The variegated rocks and the overlying phosphatebearing strata in areas beyond the southern limit of this
region are almost completely replaced by sandstones which has insignificant phosphate occurrences. Such
facieschangesinthenorthsouthdirectionaretypicalofplatformsedimentsdepositedinatransgressivesea.
3)

PhosphateBearingLocalities

There are ten phosphatebearing localities in this region. These are: Gabal Abu Had, Wadi Hamama, Wadi
Serai,ElGir,GabalElQurm,WadiHigaza,WadiElMashash,WadiElShahab,WadiElBatur,andElMahamid,
Figure5.
4)

CharacteristicsofthePhosphateGroups

The lower phosphate group is not payable in the entire region. Nonpersistent bone breccia and
conglomeratic phosphatic rocks occur in 14 beds among sandy clays and sandstones of the variegated
series.Bedthicknessrangesfrom0.20.7m,andP2O5,contentrangesfrom1018%andrarelyto24%.

The middle group is the most developed and it contains the commercial beds. Phosphate beds are
associatedwithshale,Oysterlimestone,marlandsiliceousrocks.Thegroupmainlyconsistsoftwobeds;
thelowerofwhichismoreeconomic.Bedthicknessvariesfrom0.12.lm,andP2O5,contentrangesfrom15
27.5%.

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The upper group encloses several phosphate beds intercalating a shale section. They range from 17 in
numbers,from0.21.7m.inbedthickness,andfrom1025%P2O5.(GeologicalSurveryofEgypt,1968)

G. Abu Had
N
W.Hamama
W.Serai
G. El-Gir
G. El Gurn
G. Higaza

G.

LEGEND
Town
G. Gabal = mountain
W. Wadi = valley

FIGURE5LOCATIONOFTHEMAINPHOSPHATEBEARINGBLOCKSBETWEENQENAANDEDFU

5)

ChemicalandMineralogicalComposition

The chemical composition of the phosphate beds at IdfuQena Region varies according to the nature of its
cementingmaterial,Table2.
The phosphorite component is represented by phosphatic pellets and phosphatized organic remains with
predominance of the former. Their grain size ranges between 0.12 mm with the prevailing size varying
between 0.20.4 mm. The phosphate material in the pellets is represented by cellophane, 4960% of the rock,
with subordinate amounts of finely dispersed organic material and pyrite specks. In the biomorphic
phosphatizedbonesandremains,besidesthephosphatematerial,theyincludeconsiderableamountsoforganic
impurities. Among the nonphosphatic grains of the phosphate rock; quartz (0.051mm), pyrite, and rarely
carbonaterocksoccur.
Thecementingmaterialofphosphoritegrainsisofthebasal,porousbasal,andrarelyporoustypes.Itconsists
of carbonates, clays and silica mixed together in different proportions and with impurities of dolomite and
ferrodolomite. Carbonate, clay, and carbonate clayey cements are syngenetic, whereas the siliceous cement
wasformedatlaterdiageneticstages.
TABLE2CHEMICALCOMPOSITIONOFPHOSPHATEORESINSOMELOCALITIESATIDFUQENAREGION

Compound
P2O3
CaO2
SiO2
Al2O3
Fe2O3
MgO
SO3
CO2
I.R.

CarbonateVariety
22.7
84.62
4.8
0.32
0.94
0.32
0.22
17.70
4.86

P2O5,percent
CarbonateSiliceousVariety

ClayeyCarbonateVariety

21.24
38.64
24.95
0.42
1.03
0.44

11.12
26.28

20.28
41.16
12.97
0.95
2.85
0.86

13.66
13.34

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The carbonate variety of phosphorites characterizes beds of the middle group in Abu Had. Its mineralogical
compositionconsistsof:phosphatemineral,52.0%,calcite,38.3%,dolomite,1.4%,quartz,4.2%,clay,2.0%,
gypsum,1.2%,andlimonite,1.0%.
Thecarbonatesiliceousandthesiliceouscarbonatevarietiesareverycommoninbedsofthemiddlegroupat
the localities of Serai, El Gir and Mashash and they are generally the most widespread in the region. The
carbonateclayeyandclayeycarbonatevarietiesoftheoreusuallydominateinbedsoftheuppergroup.
Amongthephosphoriteswhichfallwithintheweatheringzone,thosewhicharemostaffectedbythechemical
weathering produce leached types of deposits in which P2O5, is enriched to 2528 % and, which are now the
mostfavorableforexploitationatElMahamidarea.Generallyinthezoneofweatheringalltypesofcementing
materialscontainhypergenemineralsaslimoniteandgypsum.
The recent tests for Nile Valley phosphate reflect its validity to phosphoric acid manufacture which could be
usedforadvancedfertilizersindustryand,hence,makevalueaddedtothephosphateoreinsteadofexporting
theoredirectly.
KhargaDakhlaRegionincludingAbuTarturPlateau
The KhargaDakhla phosphatebearing region is situated in the southern part of the Western Desert. The region
includesawidestretchspreadingfromKhargaOaseswestwardstobeyondDakhlaOases,andincorporatingAbu
TarturPlateauareainbetween.Itsextensionisabout150kmfromnorthtosouth,betweenlatitudes24I52605
N,andabout275kmfromwesttoeast,betweenlongitudes27503055E.ThesouthernsectorofAbuTartur
plateau contains the largest phosphate deposits in the Western Desert and in Egypt. Its SouthEastern corner is
locatedatthecrossingoflatitude2525Nandlongitude3004E(GeologicalSurveyofEgypt,1973;Wassefetal.
1977).Thisistheplacethathasbeenthoroughlystudiedforexploitation,Figure6.
1)

GeneralGeology

Basementrockscropoutassmallhillsintheextremesouthpartoftheregion.Theoverlyingsedimentaryrocks
range in age from Campanian or older to Lower Eocene. Nearly horizontal bedding and gentle folding are
characteristicoftheregion.FaultingofNStrendplaysanimportantroleinthestructureofKhargaareaofthe
region.(Hermina1990).
2)

Stratigraphy

The Upper Senonian successions, including the phosphatebearing sediments, follow in a general way the
stratigraphicsequenceofotherphosphatebearingregionsoftheNileValleyandtheRedSea.Thethicknesses
ofphosphatebearingrocksintheregiondifferwidelyfrom530m;withindicationsofitsincreaseupto70min
thesubsurfacealongdipdirectioninAbuTarturarea.Oysterlimestoneandsilicifiedrockswhichareknownto
associatethephosphateareain.theRedSearegionandpartiallyintheNileValleyregionareentirelymissing
there.Twophosphategroupsaredistinguished.Thelowergroupisbestdevelopedatathicknessof1.06min
thesoutheasternsectorofAbuTarturplateaualongastrikestretchof20km.Itsdistinguisheddevelopmentis
attributed to its association with a diastem surface within the variegated rocks which formed the flank of a
synclinalbay.NowhereelseintheWesternDesertregionthelowergroupattainsasignificantthickness.Inthis
connection the lower phosphate group of Abu Tartur area belongs to the first cycle of phosphate deposition
whichisknownintheRedSeaandNileValleyregions.TheenclosingvariegatedrocksintheWesternDesert
aredominatedbyclays,sandyclayswithintercalationsofsiltyglauconiticsandstonesandsubordinatelayersof
calcareousmudstone,whichexhibitmanylateralandverticalvariations.AnUpperCampanianageisassigned
tothesedeposits.TheUpperphosphategroupcontainsanumberoflowgradephosphatebeds;mostofwhich
arebelow50cminthickness.Althoughitisnoteasytocorrelatethisgroupwithanalogousoccurrencesinother
regions, yet it seems possible to assume that beds of the upper group in the Western Desert are collectively
equivalenttothemiddleanduppergroupsidentifiedintheRedSeaandNileValleyregion.Gypsiferousclays
withrareintercalatinglayersofcalcareousmudstoneandsandstonearetheprincipalrocktypeswhichenclose
the upper group phosphate beds in the Western Desert region, and a LowerMaastrichtian ageis assigned to
them.Minorphosphateoccurrences,mostlyrepresentedbylensesandthinlayersofbonebrecciaarerecorded

www.mwejournal.orgJournalofMiningWorldExpress(MWE)Volume4,2015

both in the variegated shale at few meters below the horizon of the lower group, and in the younger Upper
CretaceousandearlyTertiarysedimentswhichoverliethephosphatesoftheuppergroup
3)

PhosphateBearingAreas

Thereare threeprincipalphosphatebearingareasinthisregion,namelyfromeasttowest,Khargaarea,Abu
Tarturarea,andDakhlaarea.TheeconomicoccurrenceinthephosphatebedsintheWesternDesertregionare
confinedto:

ThelowergroupofAbuTarturarea,whichishighlyeconomic.

Local occurrences of the upper group recorded in few outliers within the northern part of Kharga
depression,whichhaslimitedeconomicvalue.

Phosphorites of the KhargaDakhla region are mainly non compact, massive in structure and pelletal in
texture.

InKharga,P2O5contentinthephosphoritebedsvarieswidelyfromlessthanl0%toamaximumof28%,
the average being around 17%. In Dakhla this content varies from 13.330 % P2 O5 and it averages about
21%.

FIGURE6GEOLOGICALMAPOFABUTARTURAREA(AFTEREGYPTIANGEOLOGICALSURVEY1977.)

AbuTarturPhosphorites
ItisthemostimportantandexploitablephosphatedepositinWesternDesert.Becauseofitshighexpectations,
detailedinvestigationswerecarriedoutontheAbuTarturphosphoritesandprovedtobeapromisingdeposit
intheKhargaDakhlaregion.Figure7isarepresentativegeologicalsectionofAbuTarturarea.Tworeadily
identifiable phosphorite types are observed; the primary nonweathered black type and the weathered
brownishtypewiththeformeraccountingforabout93%ofthetotalreserves.Thebulkofphosphatematerialat
Abu Tartur area is mainly in the form of pellets and oolites, In addition, fragments of organic remains are

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subordinate.Grainsizevariesfromfine(0.010.25mm)tomedium(0.250.5mm)tocoarse(0.51.0mm),withthe
fineandmediumgrainspredominating.Grainsover2mmsizeareextremelyrare.Phosphategrainsofthenon
weatheredphosphoritescontainadmixturesofpyriteandmarcasiteasveryfinegrainedanddustymass,and
organic matter. Nonphosphatic grains include quartz (0.11.0mm), carbonate crystals, clay fragments, pyrite
crystalsandmarcasite.Thecementingmaterialinthenonweatheredtypeisconsideredtobesyngenetic,and
consists of clayand crystalline carbonate with gradationsin between. Occasionally the cementing boundaries
develop into glauconiticclay type. Purely dolomitic cement is not of common occurrence but dolomiticc1ay
and clayeydolomite are not infrequent. In the weathered type ore, considerable amounts of gypsum appear
and iron oxides increase. Pyrite is absent in the phosphate grains and in the cementing material. Main
constituentsofthecementaregypsum,gypsumclayandgypsumcarbonate.
The main minerals in Abu Tartur phosphate sediments are: phosphorite, 5468 %, (predominant; maximum
72%),dolomiteandankerite,315%,(calciteandgypsum,58%,inthenonweatheredoreand1020%inthe
weatheredtype),quartz,15%,clayminerals,410%,pyriteandmarcasite,3.04.5%,innonweatheredtypeto
nilinweathered,hematiteandlimonite,12%innonweatheredand4.5%inweathered,andorganiccarbon,
0.10.3%innonweathered(Wassef,1977a;1977b).
4)

CharacteristicsofthePhosphateGroups

Theeconomicoccurrencesareconfinedto:

ThelowergroupofAbuTarturarea,whichishighlyeconomic.Thebedreaches8metersinsomeplaces.

Local occurrences of the upper group recorded in few outliers within the northern part of Kharga
depression,andareoflimitedeconomicvalue.
Lithology

Formation

Limestone

Kurkur
Formation

Shale

Dakhla
Formation

Upper phosphat e horizon

Weathered phosphorite

Lower phosphate horizon

Phosphate
Formation

Varigated clay
Nubia
Formation

20 m
10
0

250

500

1000 m

Cross-bedded
Sandstone

FIGURE7ASCHEMATICGEOLOGICALSECTIONOFABUTARTURDEPOSITALONGTHEPLATEAUSCARP

5)

ChemicalandMineralogicalComposition:

PhosphoritesoftheKhargaDakhlaregionaremainlynoncompact,massiveinstructureandpelletalintexture.
InKharga,P2O5contentinthephosphoritebedsvarieswidelyfromlessthanl0%toamaximumof28%,the
average being around 17%. In Dakhla .this content varies from 13.330% and it averages about 21%. At Abu
Tartur,themaximumP2O5is29.78%,andtheaverageisaround26%P2O5,Table3.Naturalhumidityofthe
primary ore is 5.6 %. The volumetric weight for the primary and secondary ores is 2.35t/m3 and 2.45t/m3,
respectively.Theoverburdenreachesabout40mofhardrock.

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FIGURE8SURFACEMININGFORABUTARTUROXIDIZEDORE.FIGURE9SURFACEMININGOFABUTARTUROXIDIZEDORE
TABLE3THECHEMICALCOMPOSITIONOFPHOSPHATEROCKSINTHEWESTERNDESERT

P2O5,percent

Compound

P2O5
SiO2
Al2O3
Fe2O3
MgO
CaO
Na2O
K2O
SO3
CO2
Cl
F
U3O8
Moisture
LOI

KhargaArea

DakhlaArea

19.9521.1
10.725.5
3.01.18
5.03.21
2.21.74
36.2434.2

12.126.39
4.843.83
0.380.53
0.711.14

21.6823.3
7.709.52
1.911.65
3.903.19
3.113.44
42.2739.7
2.2
0.4
4.014.55
10.747.12
1.841.33
3.03.12
0.012

AbuTarturArea
Max.Average
29.7825.07
14.o56.55
9.591.76
3.431.35
5.541.68
45.741.07

15.03.12
19.326.97

11.22.14
15.38.78

TABLE4RESERVESANDANNUALPRODUCTIONRATESOFPHOSPHATEINEGYPT(2013)

Area
RedSeaCoast

NileValley

Location

Reserves,Mtons

SafagaArea
Hamraween
Qussier
E.Sepaeya
W.Sebaeya
QuenaArea

30
50
20
80
100
1500
1000*
outofthem124M
tonsoxidizedore
2,780

NewValley

AbuTartour

Total

Produc..,
1000t/y

2000
900

AverageAssay,
P2O5%
1828
1828
1828
2431
2028
1524

upto
2100
5,000

Associatedconstituents

Mining**Status

SiO2,Clays,Carbonates
(Ca,Mg)

SiO,Clays,Carbonates
(Ca)

S+U
Mainlysurface

2226

SiO2,Clays,Dolomote,
Gypsum,pyrite

S+U
Majoritysurface

*ThesereservesaretheprovedreservesatAbuTartur.TheprobableandpossiblephosphatereservesatAbu
Tarturlocationarealmosttentimesthisamount.
**U,UndergroundMining;S,SurfaceMining.

Phosphate Reserves and Production


Table4summarizesthereservesandproductionratesinthevariousphosphateorelocalitiesinEgypt.Thetotal
provedreservesofthephosphateoreinEgyptamountsto2.780billiontons.Theaverageproductionratevaries
from3.0to5.0milliontonsperyear.However,theUSGSMineralCommoditySummaryforphosphatereport

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that the phosphate production in Egypt went up to 6.24 million ton in the years 2010, 2011, and 2012 (Jasinski,
2013).ThisjumpcouldbeattributedtoasuddenincreaseofproductionratethattookplaceatAbuTarturlately.
Itjumpedfrom500thousandtont02milliontonfromtheoxidizedtypeatthescarfoftheplateau,Figures8and9.
Mining and Mineral Processing Technology
AtRedSealocations,miningwascarriedoutbyundergroundtechniques(mostlyRoomandPillarTechnique).
Now, phosphate mining at Red Sea Coast has been halted because of high cost of mining. It may be resumed
shortlyasthephosphatemarketpicksup..
AtSafagamines,thephosphateoreissiliceousanddolomitic.Thereusedtobeacalcinationsplantforupgrading
theore,butbecauseofhighdolomiteandexpensivefuelcosts,theplantwasshutdown,anditwasreplacedby
crushing, grinding, and air classification to produce a marketable fine product, containing 2628 % P2 O3. The
coarsefractionisrejected(about2030%byweight,containing1822%P2O5).
At Hamrawein and Qussier mines, the phosphate ore is siliceous and clayey with some carbonates, particularly
dolomite.Theorewascrushed,attritionscrubbingwashing,deslimed,andsundried.Thesetechniquesarestill
operating.
Mining of phosphate ore at the Nile Valley locations, East and West Sebaeya, is mostly by surface mining. The
overburdenisremovedeitherbyscrapingorbydrillingandblasting,dependingonthenatureoftherock.The
phosphatebedisdrilled,blasted,andremovedbytruckstothecrushingplant,whereitiscrushedtominusabout
5cmandscreened..Theoverburdenthicknessrangesbetween20to40m.
At East Sebaeya, Nile Valley region, the phosphate ore used to be crushed and attrition washed to remove the
clayeyfinefraction(about1012%byweight,assayingabout1218%P2O5)andthehardsiliceouscoarsefraction
(4045%byweight,assay1822%P2O5).Forunknownreasons,theoreisnowbeingcrushedanddryscreenedto
removethecoarsesiliceousfraction,andthemarketableconcentrateisthefinefraction(assaying2830%P2O5).
Ofcourse,controlofairpollutionunderthesecircumstances,isverydifficult.
AtWestSebaeya,thereusedtobeaflotationplant,directflotationandreverseflotation,forupgradingtheore,but
fortechnicalandeconomicalreasonsitisreplacedbycrushingandscreening,anddeslimingsetuptoremovethe
clayeyfraction(about2025%byweight,assaying1218%P2O5),andthecoarsefractionisalsorejected.Mostof
theproductionfromthisareaisconsumedlocallyfortheproductionofphosphatefertilizers.
At Abu Tartur, phosphate mining was planned to be underground (Long Wall Technique) at a large scale
(originallyover12Mt/yrunofmine).Fortechnicalproblems,theundergroundminingwashalted.Instead,Open
Castminingisused,especiallyforoxidizedore,andproductionratereached2milliontonsperyearin2013.This
is done at the rim of the plateau where the over burden is not very high.(reaches 40 m with stripping ratio 7)
(VenmyRand,etal.,1988).Overburdenisremovedbydrilling,blasting,andscrapingdownthehilltothevalley
(Figures 7&8). The exposed ore is drilled, blasted, and removed by trucks to the preparation area. The main
associatedganguemineralisankerite,withsomequartzandoxidizedandrarelynonoxidizedpyrite.Accordingly,
theoriginalflowsheetforupgradingthistypeoforewasdesignedtoconsistofahandpickingstage,crushingand
grindingdownto2mmparticlesize,attritionscrubbing,anddeslimingfortheremovalofminus80microns.The
fraction2mm+80micronsistopassthroughahighintensityhighgradientmagneticseparatortoremovehigh
magnetic susceptibility constituents, iron oxides andankerite(Wassef et al., 1977). Dueto technical problems in
thetrialtests,theflowsheetfailedtoproduceahighgradeoreatreasonablerecovery.Theexistingplantconsists
of crushing, screening, attritionscrubbing, desliming and sun drying (Venmy Rand, et al., 1998). Most of the
productionisusedlocallyfortheproductionofphosphatefertilizers.
AscanbeseeninallthephosphatelocalitiesinEgyptwithoutexception,theprocessingoperationsaresimpleand
primitive. Any new technology; calcinations, flotation or magnetic separation, was shortly abandoned for some
reasons such as lack of experience and persistence not to change, economic and/or technical reasons, and
sometimesfornoobviousreasons.
Flotation,asaphysicochemicalconcentrationprocess,isessentialforconservationofthenonrenewablephosphate

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ores. Flotation can solve almost all the problems of phosphate upgrading, whether the ores are siliceous or
carbonaceous. This can be achieved by optimizing the flotation parameters for each ore, finding alternative
effective reagents at reasonable prices and availability, and using trained and highly skilled operators. For the
clayeyores,attritionscrubbinganddeslimingmaydothejob.
It is well known that more than 80 % of the marketable world phosphate, around the level of 30 % P2 O5 (von
Straaten, 2002), is produced by flotation (Jasinski, 2007). The most abundant phosphate deposits are the marine
sediments which containvariableamounts of carbonates, calciteand dolomite, silicaand silicates (mostly clays).
Conventionalflotationisusedsuccessfullyforupgradingsiliceousores,afterscrubbinganddeslimingtoremove
clays.Theflotationisusuallydoneintwostages:thefirststageisdirectflotationtofloatphosphateleavingsilica
in suspension, in alkaline media, using oleates as anionic collectors. But the floated phosphate, which is the
concentrate, still contains some silica which is carried away mechanically with the phosphate froth. The second
stageisthereverseflotationusingacationiccollectorinanacidicmedia,totreatthefirstconcentrateagaininthe
flotationcelltoremovetherestofthesilicaasfroth,leavingacleanphosphateconcentratetobefilteredanddried
artificiallyornaturally.Thisprocessiscalleddirectandreverseflotationtechnique.
Ontheotherhand,thecarbonatetypesofphosphateoresareextremelydifficulttoconcentrate,especiallybythe
conventionalschemeofdirectandreverseflotation,duetothesimilarphysicochemicalcharacteristicsofsurfaces
of the main ore constituents, carbonates and phosphates (Elgillani, 1978/1979; Elgillani and Abouzeid, 1993). To
helpunderstandtheadsorptionmechanismsinthesesystems,extensiveinvestigationswereconductedonsurface
behaviorofapatiteandcalciteinaqueousmediabymeasuringthesurfacechargeonbothmineralsseparatelyand
their effect on each other under different reagents additions at different media environments (Elgillani and
Abouzeid,1993;Zhangetal.,1999;Mishra,1978,Somasundaran,1968;SomasundaranandAgar,1972;Smanietal.,
1975; Bell et al., 1973; Saleeb and de Bruyn, 1972; Abouzeid, 2008; Elgillani et al., 1984). As a result of these
collectiveefforts,aninnovativetechnique,basedonthermodynamicanalysisofthecarbonateapatitesystem,was
introduced.This technique was basedon adjustingthe pH of the flotation mediaat5.8and using organicacids
and/or phosphate ions as stabilizing reagents (Elgillani, 1978/1979; Elgillani and Abouzeid, 1993). Under these
conditions,thecarbonatesaresupposedtoacquireastablehydrophobicsurfaceandfloatwiththefroth,andthe
phosphatemineralsaredepressed.
ThenewtechniquewastestedondifferenttypesofEgyptianphosphateores.Threephosphateoresampleswere
collected from the three main phosphate regions in Egypt: The Red Sea region (El Hamrawein ore), Nile Valley
region(EastMahamidmines),andWesternDesertregion(AbuTarturore)(Abouzeid,2008,Abouzeidetal.,2009).
Thethreesamplesweredifferentintheirphysicalpropertiesandmineralogicalcomposition.Theyweretreatedby
flotationusingthenewflotationtechniqueatpH5.8.Underthespecifiedconditions,thefollowingresultswere
obtained:

14

ElHamraweinphosphateore,adolomiticoreassaying18.6%P2O5,gavepromisingresults.Whencitric
acid,H2C2O4,andpotassiumdihydrogenphosphatewereaddedandpotassiumoleate,KOl,wasusedasa
collector,aconcentrateassaying32.5%P2O5atarecoveryof79%wasobtained.Aconcentrateassaying
31.7%P2O5at80%recoverywhenphosphoricacid,H3PO4,wasadded,andKOlwasusedasacollector.
When phosphoric acid and citric acid were added together, a concentrate assaying 32.2 % P2 O5 at a
recoveryof78%wasobtained.Itisobviousthatthistechniqueisquietsuccessfulfortreatingthistypeof
ore.Thepresenceofdolomiteisthekeyforthesuccessofthistechnique,whereitmadetheoreslurryin
theaqueoussystemquietstable,i.e.,lesssoluble.

The EastMahamid ore,achalky, oyster phosphateore, waslessresponsive to the new technique thanEl
Hamraweinore.Thesampletobetreatedcontained19.6%P2O5.Aconcentrateassaying29.1%P2O5ata
recoveryof76.5%wasobtainedwhenpotassiumdihydrogenphosphatewasusedasasourceofphosphate
ionandKOlwasusedasacollector,andphosphoricacidwasusedforadjustingthepHat5.8.Whencitric
acid and phosphoric acid were used to control the aqueous media, and KOl was used as a collector, a
concentrateassaying29%P2O5atarecoveryof74.1%wasobtained.Asmaybeobserved,thegradeand
recovery of the concentrate are relatively low, and also the reagents consumptions were relatively high.
Theseinferiorresultsarebecauseofthenatureoftheore,wherethecarbonatestoberemovedarechalky

JournalofMiningWorldExpress(MWE)Volume4,2015www.mwejournal.org

calcium carbonates with only traces of dolomite. These features of the ore made the aqueous media
unstable,andhence,thesurfacestabilityoftheconstituentminerals,phosphateandcarbonate,islow,i.e.,
highlysoluble.

AbuTarturorewasverystable,inspiteofitsawkwardnature.However,thegradeandrecoveryofthe
concentrate at the optimum operating conditions were low. From a feed assaying 21.8 % P2 O5, a
concentrateassaying29.6%P2O5atarecoveryof61%wasobtainedwhendihydrogenphosphateandKOl
reagents were added. Aconcentrate assaying 28.4% P2 O5 at arecovery of57 % was obtained when the
flotationfeedwasscrubbedanddeslimed.Thephosphateionconsumptionwashighinthistypeoforeasa
resultofthepresenceofgypsuminthesample(sulfurcontentofthesamplewas3.63%).

In any case, the above preliminary results areencouraging. They prove that flotation isa suitable techniquefor
upgrading most of the Egyptian phosphate ores. However, it should be taken into consideration that extensive
research and development jobs have to be continuously carried out to make the operation successful, especially,
thatorefeedatanyplantvariesallthetime.
Summary
The world reserves of phosphate rock attain 67 billion tons and the annual production reaches 217 million tons
mined from 18 countries in 2013. About 95% of this amount goes to fertilizer industries. In the same year, the
Egyptianphosphaterockreservesconstituteabout4%oftheworldreserves,2.78billiontons,andtheproduction
raterepresentsabout3%oftheworldproduction,about6milliontons/year.Outofthis,onlyonemilliontonsare
consumedlocallyandtherestisexported.
Phosphates beds in Egypt are shallow marine deposits of Upper Senonian age, distributed in three latitudinal
lithologic facial zones. The central facial zone contains the main economic phosphate deposits. It lies between
latitudes24302650N.ThiszoneincludesRedSeaRegionbetweeenSafagaandQusseir,NileValleyRegion
betweenEdfuandQena,andWesternDesertphosphateRegionbetweenDakhlaandKhargaOasesincludingAbu
Tarturplateau.
InSafagaQusseirRegionthebedthicknessesrangebetween0.2to2.9metersinQusseirarea,andreach2.7min
SafagaareawhereP2O5% rangesfrom 14 to33%. The phosphate rockis semifriable,in part massive and hard
withpelletaltexture.Themainchemicalcompoundsarecalciumand/ormagnesiumcarbonate,silica,andsome
silicates.Thetotalreserveamountstoabout100Mtons.ItisminedusingundergroundRoomandpillarmining
method. At present, the production from this region is limited. At Safaga, the ore is upgraded by crushing,
grinding,andairclassification.AtQussierandHamrawein,theoreissiliceousandclayeywithsomecarbonates
(dolomiteandcalcite).Theoreiscrushed,attritionscrubbed,deslimedandsundried.?
EdfuQenaRegionextendsbetweenlatitudes25302639NandtectonicallyisconfinedtoNEflankoftheNile
Synclineandmajorpartofphosphateexhibitsbroadgentlefoldsassociatedwithregional NWfaulttrend.Inthis
regiontenphosphatebearinglocalitiesarestudiedandrecordedinthreegroups,theloweroneisnotpayable;the
middlegroupisassociatedwithshale,oysterlimestone,marl,andsiliceousconstituents.Itcontainstwobedsof
thicknesses between 0.1 to 1.2 m, P2 O5 from 15 to 27.5 %. The upper group consists of several phosphate beds
intercalating shale. They range in thickness from 0.2 to 1.7 m, and their P2 O5 ranges from 10 to 25 %. The
phosphorite components are mainly phosphatic pellets and phosphatized organic remains. At present the
phosphateoreisminedbyopencastmethodwhereoverburdenreaches,insomeparts,40meters.Thereservesare
estimated by 1.6 billion tons. At higher overburden, and highly inclined beds, the ore used to be mined by
undergroundRoomandPillarmethod.
Abu Tartur deposit lies in between Kharga and Dakhla Oases; about 60 km west of Kharga city. There, the
phosphatedepositbelongstoSenoniansuccessions.Twotypesoforearerecorded:primaryorewhichform93%
ofthedeposit,andoxidizedoreontheperipheryoftheplateau.Thereserves,intheevaluatedarea,areestimated
byonebilliontons.Thisarearepresentsabout10%oftheplateau.Theoxidizedzoneisnowbeingminedbyopen
cast method and produces about 2 million tons per year. The ore is upgraded by crushing, screening, attrition
scrubbing,desliming,andsundried.Theconcentrateassaysabout2829%P2O5,atarecoveryofabout80%.

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TobringthephosphateindustryinEgypttothetwentyfirstcenturybeneficiationtechnology,advancedflotation
studies were carried out on different types of phosphate samples from various regions in Egypt. The Red Sea
Coast phosphate ores responded highly to flotation due to the presence of the carbonate gangue in the form of
dolomite.TheresponseofthehighlychalkyoresoftheNileValleyphosphateRegionwasmedium,andneeded
more control on the aqueous medium stability because of the high solubility of the surface structure of the
phosphateandcarbonategrains.AbuTarturphosphateoregavereasonableresultsduetothepresenceofgypsum
which consumes large quantities of expensive reagents. Optimization and close control of the flotation process
parameterspromisewithgoodfutureofthephosphateindustryinEgypt.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The Authors appreciate the cooperation of El Nasr Mining Company, Misr Phosphate Company, and the
GeologicalSurveyofEgypt.TheyhelpedtheAuthorsbyprovidingthemwiththenecessaryinformation,reports,
data,andothersupportingdocuments.
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