Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36:117–129, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-018-0038-2
The separation of dolomite from phosphate is the most challenging problem in phosphate mineral processing. More than 50 percent of the phosphate reserve in Florida contains too much dolomite to process using current industry practice. The current way of producing phosphoric acid requires less than one percent MgO in the phosphate concentrate as the feed material. The Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research (FIPR) Institute has collaborated with worldwide experts in the field to address this issue. As a result, the industry is now offered three feasible options. Option I entails three methods for reducing MgO content in the concentrate from the Crago process, including adding a dolomite depressant in the rougher flotation step, dolomite flotation of the cleaner concentrate, and scrubbing the cleaner concentrate in quartz sand, which could reduce MgO content in the final concentrate by 20 to 40 percent. Option II involves the crushing and grinding of high-dolomite phosphate pebbles followed by dolomite flotation at slightly acidic pH using a new collector that does not require phosphoric acid as a phosphate depressant, achieving a final concentrate analyzing less than 0.9 percent MgO at about 87 percent P2O5 recovery. Option III is a gravity separation technique using an innovative separation jig, and its full potential remains to be demonstrated.