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Towards Zero Solid Waste in the Sedimentary Phosphate Industry: Challenges and Opportunities

Authors
  • taha;, yassine
Publication Date
Nov 10, 2021
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/min11111250
OAI: oai:mdpi.com:/2075-163X/11/11/1250/
Source
MDPI
Keywords
Language
English
License
Green
External links

Abstract

The phosphate industry produces huge volumes of waste (hundred million tons per year). These wastes are generally surface landfilled, leading to significant environmental impacts and a large footprint. The current practices of phosphate waste management, the typology of the waste streams and their characteristics, and finally their potential applications are reviewed. All the waste streams generated during the life cycle of phosphoric acid production going from the extraction of phosphate rock to its enrichment and transformation are considered. Great circularity opportunities have been identified and they aim (i) to recover the residual phosphorus and other critical minerals and metals, and (ii) to consider phosphate wastes as alternative resources in the civil engineering and building sectors. The purpose is to shift from linear thinking to circular thinking where synergy between different mining and other industries is highly encouraged. By doing so, opportunities to safeguard natural resources and to minimize the environmental and societal impacts are limitless. However, many challenges are still limiting this shift: economic and technical constraints, societal and policy-makers’ awareness, regulation harmonization and finally knowledge gaps. More efforts and investment in research and development are still required to reach the zero-waste target.

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