It is not enough to get phosphate out of the dirt. In beneficiation plant phosphate is separated from the dirt. Trains and trucks take phosphate to the chemical plant. In Florida chemical plants are very close to mines. This makes it easier to get the ore to the plant. In chemical plant, phosphate will be made into fertilizers.The chemical plant is where the products from phospate are made.
Here is a step-by-step process of what happens to the phosphate rock and how it is transformed:
In the plant, molten sulfur is burned to produce sulfuric acid.
The phosphate rock is ground.
In the phosphate reactor, the phosphate rock is reacted with sulfuric acid to create the concentrated phosphoric acid needed to make fertilizer.
Then it is mixed with ammonia in another reactor. It is taken to a granulator and a dryer and then to a storage warehouse.
The principal fertilizer product of the industry is diammonium phosphate (DAP), but there is also a fertilizer called monamonium phosphate (MAP).
The fertilizer is mixed with potash, a form of potassium.
It is transported to places all over the world and sold to farmers. The farmers put it on the field to nuture the crops. Chemical processing is necessary because phosphate rock is not soluble in water.
When sulfuric acid is reacted with phosphate rock to produce phosphoric acid, a byproduct is also produced. This byproduct is called phosphogypsum and it looks like a chalky whitesh sandy dirt. This byproduct just happens because of chemical reaction . Phosphate companies have no use for Phosphogypsum, so they place it on the big stacks on their property. According to the law, phosphate companies are responsible for taking care of their phosphogypsum stacks for 50 years after they finish stacking it!