The Phosphate Mineral in Florida as an Economic Resource

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Phosphate rocks are mineral elements made up of phosphorus and oxygen compounds. They are divided into three types of rocks: metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary. It is an essential component of any living creature's diet because it promotes strong teeth and bones (Mao et al. 4589-4596). It's also important as a crop nutrient because it's required for healthy growth, boosting food production. It is an essential mineral in Florida because it has helped the state become the nation's leading fertilizer producer. It appears as a phosphate mineral rock with other foreign compounds that aren't part of the primary mineral. The phosphate must be extracted from the mixture before it can be used. It exists naturally as a phosphate (PO4) which is a positively charged atom ("Disodium Phosphate/Monosodium Phosphate/Potassium Phosphate" 88-88). It cannot be found in an elemental. The phosphate reacts with other elements found in the body to produce compounds which are crucial for growth. These elements constitute chemicals of life which are vital in the physiology of living things. The by-products that are formed from the reaction are milk, Deoxyribonucleic Acid, and Adenosine Triphosphate. These come in handy for various metabolic activities and other biological functions.

The phosphate produced contains ninety-three percent of phosphorous because it occurs as a compound in association with other mineral elements. The pure phosphorous is obtained when the mixture is taken through a series of separations, which would then provide the phosphorous that is needed in preceding industrial functions.

Phosphate rock resulted from both mineralogical and biological processes because the phosphorous in solution in the sea water did precipitate due to high temperatures culminating in the deposition of the phosphate in the seabed. It also emerged from biological processes because the crustaceans and other sea creatures died and their skeletons, as well as their waste products, were subjected to intense pressure and temperature. These conditions resulted in the formation of sedimentary phosphate rocks.

The Florida phosphate is mined by using steam dredgers, especially in the deep waters. The mining has undergone massive evolution since it was initially done by using wheelbarrows, picks, and shovels. I was inefficient and uneconomically viable. Mechanization resulted in the introduction of the draglines which doubled the work done manually. It was initially sorted by picking the big silica pebbles manually from a conveyor belt but it is currently obtained by centrifuging the contents and then the heavy materials accumulate separately where they are separated to other locations. Floatation method that is currently employed helps isolate phosphate rock from quartz. Varied hydrophobicity helps separate further other contents.

The availability of fossils that obtained from Bone Valley Formation exacerbated the formation of the phosphate at Florida. It has been superimposed by the presence of artifacts of giant teeth from dead sharks, huge bones of whales, terrestrial animals, birds, and plants. The rich climatic condition consisting of optimum temperature facilitated the proliferation of the rich and sufficient variety of food in Florida (Háva and Kadej 1414-1423). These induced the migration of animals’ species from other areas of the world who were in search of food. The animals later died and their remains were subjected to extreme pressure and temperature resulting in the formation of phosphate. There is evidence that some animal species moved to Florida as they evaded the hostile environment that as created by the advancing glacier. The animals originated from Asia and Africa during the Great Ice Age when the sea was shallow at the Bering Strait land bridge.

There are various waste products that are produced from the exploitation of phosphates in Florida. These are precipitator slurry, furnace building wash-down, NOSAP slurry, furnace scrubber blowdown, and phossy water.

The wastes from the phosphate plant are disposed of through various ways. These range from the use of treatment tanks to the deposition at designated places. There is also reusing of some products such as water after internal purification. It is achieved after the recycling of the waste products.

The annual revenue from the phosphate plant at Florida is quite handsome. It is estimated that the plant contributes to a tune of 85.9 million dollars to the state which is employed in developing other sectors of the economy and in the conservation of the environment (Háva and Kadej 1414-1423). It also provides room for employment to over six thousand individuals to whom about seventy-two million dollars is paid as wages and salaries.

There are different measures that have been used to ensure that the Florida phosphate reserve is exploited sustainably. It ranges from legislation to taxation. On 1st July 1975, there was a law that was imposed on the company which was to foster an obligatory phosphate reclamation. The latter was to ensure that there was manageable exploitation of the resource in order to avoid wastage and land degradation (Háva and Kadej 1414-1423), which, in turn, will ensure that the future generation can benefit from the resource.

There were taxes adopted in order to ensure corporate social responsibility in Florida. The ones were executed through Conservation and Recreational Lands Program in the state of Florida.

Works Cited

"Disodium Phosphate/Monosodium Phosphate/Potassium Phosphate." Reactions Weekly, 6 Dec. 2014, / Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.

Háva, Jiří, and Marcin Kadej. "Contribution to Knowledge of the Dermestidae (Coleoptera) from Afghanistan with Description of three New Species." Florida Entomologist, vol. 97, no. 4, 2014, pp. 1414-1423, Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.

Mao, Xiaoyun et al. "Phosphorus Availability and Release Pattern from Activated Dolomite Phosphate Rock in Central Florida." Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol. 65, no. 23, 2017, pp. 4589-4596, Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.

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