Phosphate represents a significant opportunity within the mining industry. As the fourth most mined mineral in the world, phosphate has earned its spot by offering versatility in production — from fertilizer and power to phosphoric acid and other industrial chemical compounds. Successful mining of phosphate requires a strong balance between mining expertise and service.

Phosphate market overview

The phosphate market is on the rise. Valued at $30 billion, it’s expected to grow by 7% by 2025. At current extraction rates, it’s possible to obtain more than 200 years’ worth of phosphate. Phosphate is primarily obtained from sedimentary deposits through surface mining. Draglines and bucket wheel excavators are used for large deposits, while smaller amounts are managed with power shovels or earthmovers. The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 240 million tons annual global production
  • 300 billion tons, equating to 1,250 years’ worth of potentially exploitable resources
  • $75 billion total phosphate market in 2021
  • $83.28 billion estimated total market in 2026

It’s fair to say phosphate is a market worth pursuing.

Phosphate in Florida

The phosphate mined in Florida represents 70% of the United States’ fertilizer supply. That’s 20% of the world supply. Florida-based mining operations collect phosphate for use in one of three forms of fertilizer: diammonium phosphate (DAP), monoammonium phosphate (MAP), and MicroEssentials. Each sell for more than $300, with some blends worth more than $400.

To obtain phosphate in Florida, a specific surface mining method is used. First, draglines remove the overburden (top layer of soil). The overburden is then set aside for use in land reclamation. Draglines retrieve the ore, or matrix. The matrix is dumped into a pit, mixed with water to become a slurry, and pumped to a beneficiation plant. The slurry pumps used for this task must be high quality and well maintained. To minimize profit loss, it’s crucial that these pumps are as easy to service as possible.

KSB has been involved in the mining industry for more than a century. For Florida phosphate mines alone, KSB has provided pumps, parts, and service since 1914. It offers a wide variety of pumps, ensuring each operation has the right pump for the job. KSB offers extensive support, including 24/7 delivery, bearing assemblies exchange and repair, pump exchange and repair, field service, and nose gap adjustments through the KSB SupremeServ Network.

“Whether it be reliability, engineering, maintenance teams or dealing with inventory control on our side — I get to interact with a lot of different professionals at different levels and it makes it very interesting. No one day is the same. We’re constantly looking at the customers’ needs and how our products will meet the needs and the demands that they have out in the field,” shared Shon Daughtry, Key Account Manager, GIW Industries, Inc (A KSB Company).

With its long history in the phosphate market, KSB has accumulated a wealth of knowledge when it comes to pumping phosphate matrix. It has shared its knowledge with the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute, which has used the material to develop online training. KSB also provides training at the GIW Industries Mulberry office to local technicians and engineers who use GIW® slurry pumps.

The phosphate market is one of the largest mineral markets in the world, demanding best-in-class equipment to deliver high-quality mining results. KSB prides itself on providing state-of-the-art slurry pumps, parts, and service for phosphate mines in Florida and beyond.