Phosphorus bearing minerals in iron ores and their possible benefication

  • El-Sayed I. Elgayar

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Modern electron optical techniques together with X-ray and mineralogical examination have been used to study the occurrence and form of phosphorus bearing minerals in iron ores.
Three ores have been studied - Bahariya and Aswan from Egypt and Frodingham ironstone from U.K. The iron in the Bahariya iron ore is mainly as hematite and goethite. The gangue minerals are halite, gypsum, barytes, quartz and calcite. Iron content is between 49.8 to 63.2% and phosphorus 0.14 to 0.34%. The phosphorus occurs as very fine particles of apatite which are distributed throughout the ore. Removal of the phosphorus would require very fine grinding followed by acid leaching. Aswan iron ore is an oolitic iron ore; the iron content between 41-57% and phosphorus content 0.1 to 2.9%. It is mainly hematitic
with variable quantities of quartz, apatite and small amount of clay minerals. In the oolitic iron ore beds, apatite occurs in the hematite matrix; filling in the pores of the oolithic surfaces, or as matrix cementing the ooliths with the hematite grains. In sandstone claybeds the distribution of the apatite is mainly in the matrix. It is suggested that the liberation size for the apatite would be -80 m and flotation concentration could be applied for the removal of apatite from Aswan ore.
Frodingham ironstone occurs in the lower Jurassic bed of the South Humberside area. The average iron content is 25% and the phosphorus is 0.32%. Seven mineral phases were identified by X-ray; calcite, quartz, chamosite, hematite,
siderite, apatite, and chlorite. Apatite occurs as very fine grains in the hematite and chamosite ooliths; as matrix of fine grains intergrown with chamosite and calcite grains; and as anhedral and sub rounded grains in the ooliths (8-28 m).
It is suggested that two processes are possible for the dephosphorisation; the Flox process or a reduction roast followed by fine grinding, magnetic separation, and acid leaching.
Date of AwardFeb 1980
Original languageEnglish


  • Phosphorus
  • mineralogy
  • iron ore
  • electron-probe analysis
  • dephosphorisation

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