Technology & Innovation
Producers could save about two-thirds on capital costs using the Pyrophos process, while benefiting from substantially lower operating costs, the CSIRO stated.
A NEW CSIRO-developed process designed to make low grade phosphate reserves economical to mine while reducing problematic waste by-products will be commercialised by Australian company Pyrophos.
Phosphate producers are grappling with increasing production costs, low quality reserves, and the problematic waste by-product phosphogypsum.
For every tonne of phosphate produced using wet acid, about three tonnes of phosphogypsym waste is created; resulting in about three billion tonnes of waste being stockpiled each year, according to the CSIRO.
In contrast to wet acid, Pyrophos’ new smelting-based process involves applying heat to phosphate ores, resulting in a safe gravel by-product which could be used as a road base aggregate or in Portland cement production.
The Pyrophos process also has a much smaller plant footprint than the wet acid process and replaced the more expensive sulphur with coke.
Producers could save about two-thirds on capital costs using the Pyrophos process, while benefiting from substantially lower operating costs, CSIRO stated.
“CSIRO has developed the core IP and will be the R&D centre supporting our design engineers for our work with individual producers,” Pyrophos managing director Mark Muzzin said.
“We bring industry knowledge to the partnership – from the economics, to the processes and people.
“It’s now up to us to evolve the IP and convert it into commercially proven technology.”
Global phosphate producers are contending with growing production costs, lower quality reserves, and stockpiling the waste by-product phosphogypsum.