Mineral Resource Composition
Phosphorite deposits are mineral occurrences recovered primarily because they are rich in phosphorus, a key nutrient for crop growth and for phosphoric acid used in the beverage industry.
How and Where They From
Phosphorites exist in a wide range of depositional environments. Phosphorites may be present on the seabed or in the stratigraphic column. Generally, phosphorites are targeted on continental shelves and slopes usually in depths from 50 to 1000 meters. Several factors contribute to the formation and style of phosphorite mineralization, including a supply of phosphorus, low-oxygen bottom waters (suboxic), present or pre-existing complex oceanographic circulation patterns including upwelling, and a proper sedimentological setting. Styles of phosphate mineralization vary in form depending on formative setting and can range in size from sand to pebble to nodular material or may be present as hardgrounds (replacement of host rock) or crusts.
Why We Need These Resources
The world population is now more than eight billion people and is on track to reach 10 billion by 2050. This growth will require a 70% increase in food production. To achieve this yield, farmers need access to affordable fertilizer to produce crops necessary to feed the growing population. China, Morocco, and Russia dominate phosphate reserves and production, resulting in geopolitical risks to the entire supply chain, from phosphate to food prices.
All living cells require phosphate as it is a component of the cell wall, DNA, and bones. Phosphate cannot be manufactured and there is no synthetic substitute to replace it. Phosphate is an agriculturally important nutrient used in fertilizer production. Dredging of offshore phosphate sands offers host governments an opportunity to correct trade imbalances that presently exists in the phosphate sector.
Odyssey’s investment to develop technologies and processes for phosphate dredging that are both environmentally sensitive and economically attractive has made the company a world leader in the sector.
A Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger (TSHD) would be used to extract ore from a phosphorite deposit. TSHDs are a proven technology already in use globally in aggregate mining and infrastructure dredging, and comply with environmental, social, and fisheries impact regulations. A secondary vessel, a Floating Production and Storage Platform (FPSP), can be used to separate the dredged material to produce a phosphate concentrate. Inert, sediments with less phosphate mineral content will be returned to the seabed by way of a downpipe positioned closely to the seabed. Based on this operational premise, the negligible environmental impacts and comprehensive mitigation measures have been carefully analyzed.
Phosphorite Deposit Projects
Nothing in the world grows without the adequate fertilization with phosphates. Close to three quarters of the total amount of available phosphorus exploitable worldwide is used in fertilizers. Other important uses for it include detergents, nutritional supplements in animal food, water softeners, food and pharmaceutical additives, coating agents in treatments for metallic surfaces, metallurgy additives, plasticizers, insecticides and oil product additives.