Phosphate Rock Supply Chain - Executive Summary

Phosphate Rock

few Material


Source of Raw Material:
Naturally occurring ore

Derivative Water Treatment Chemicals:
Phosphoric Acid
Fluorosilicic Acid

% of Total Domestic Consumption
Attributed to Water Sector:

Less than 1%

Understanding Chemical Supply Chains

Product Family:

CAS No.:

Shelf Life:
60+ Months


RISK RATING: Moderate-Low

-Low Modern


Agricultural use of phos-
phate-based fertilizer, trade
disputes, and reliance on a
small number of countries
for imports have led to lim-
ited supply and dramatically
increased price of
phosphate rock. Domestic
production is largely
intended for fertilizer.


Criticality: High. Essential for the production
of chemicals necessary for corrosion control.

Likelihood: High. Previous disruptions in
supply have impacted manufacturing of de-
rivative water treatment chemicals.

Vulnerability: Low. The U.S. is a leading pro-
ducer of phosphate rock, however the ma-
jority is used in fertilizer manufacturing,
thus increasing reliance on imports for
water treatment chemical manufacturing.


Water Treatment Applications


Phosphate Rock

Water treatment chemical production

Other Applications


End Use

	Fertilizer (95% overall domestic use)

	Personal care products

	Animal feed supplements

	Chemical production


Domestic Production Locations (2019):
11, concentrated in Florida, North
Carolina, Louisiana, and Wyoming.

(^) International Trade (2019)

Primary Trading Partner (Imports): Peru
Primary Trading Partner (Exports): Canada

Domestic Consumption (2019):
25,500 Million kg

i Domestic Production (23,300 M kg)

 Imports for Consumption (2,100 M kg)

i Export of Domestic Production (0.152 M kg)


Phosphate Rock Supply Chain - Full Profile

Product Description

Phosphate rock, most commonly found in the mineral fluorapatite (Ca5(P04)3F), is not used directly in water
treatment. It is the most significant commercial source of phosphorous and is used in the production of
phosphoric acid and fluorosilicic acid.

Use in Water Treatment

Use as a Precursor to Other Water Treatment Chemicals

Phosphate rock is used to manufacture phosphoric acid and fluorosilicic acid.

Other Applications

Phosphate rock has a wide range of applications. The leading use of phosphate rock is to produce phosphoric
acid and other sources of phosphorous in fertilizer. It is also widely used in animal feed supplements,
detergents, toothpastes, and beverages (USGS, 2020).

Primary Industrial Consumers

In 2017, approximately 95% of phosphate rock consumed in the U.S. was used in the production of phosphoric
acid via the wet method, for intended use in fertilizer production (USGS, 2020).

Manufacturing, Transport, & Storage

Manufacturing Process

Phosphate rock deposits are naturally occurring calcium phosphate minerals found in large deposits in China,
the Middle East, North Africa, and the U.S. Phosphate rock may be produced by conventional underground or
surface mining (USGS, 2020).

The use of phosphate rock requires the removal of impurities, a process specific to the grade of the deposit.
Mined phosphate rock is washed, crushed, screened, and floated before chemical processing can take place.
Beneficiation steps may include separation of particles, crushing, and grinding to separate the phosphate from
other material. Further processing includes multiple steps of flotation, and possible filtration. Phosphate may be
dried and calcined or may be shipped as a slurry to accommodate initial processing steps by chemical
manufacturers (DOE, 2013; FIPRI, 2021).

Phosphate mining and beneficiation is an energy-intensive process, and energy costs may play a considerable
role in determining the price of purified phosphorous (DOE, 2013).

Product Transport

Phosphate rock can be transported to processing facilities from mines by rail, truck, boat, or as a slurry through
pipeline. It is routinely transported by ship, rail, truck, and pipeline (USGS, 2020).

Storage and Shelf Life

Phosphate rock is stable and non-reactive over a wide range of temperatures. When stored properly, phosphate
rock can have a shelf life in excess of 60 months (DOE, 2020; USGS, 2020).

EPA 817-F-22-035 | December 2022


Phosphate Rock Supply Chain - Full Profile

Domestic Production & Consumption

Domestic Production

Production data was collected from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), for the year 2019, while trade data was
collected from the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) Dataweb, as shown in Table 1. Both production
and trade data are specific to phosphate rock.

Table 1. Phosphate Rock Production and Trade Data Sources

Production and Trade Data


Data Source



Domestic Production

U.S. Geological Survey

CAS No.: 1306-05-4

Phosphate Rock

Imports and Exports

U.S. International Trade Commission

HS Code:2510

Phosphate Rock

Total U.S. domestic production of phosphate rock was approximately 25,500 million kilograms (M kg) in 2019
(USGS, 2021). Domestic commercial production of phosphate rock takes place in five states within the U.S., with
the majority (63%) of operations centered in Florida. All domestic mining operations operate integrated facilities
which include fertilizer and phosphoric acid plants in addition to the mine and extraction facilities (FIPRI, 2021).
As of 2017, there were five domestic producers, and production takes place at five mines in Florida, four mines
in Idaho, one mine in North Carolina, and one mine in Utah. All phosphate rock mined from these facilities is
utilized in captive production, and none is sold to the commercial market (USGS, 2017). The Mosaic Company
(Mosaic) reported production of approximately 12.8 billion kg of phosphate rock in Florida for 2020, with a
capacity of 17.2 billion kg. This represents a majority of domestic production capacity. Mosaic ships phosphate
rock concentrate from Peru to their Louisiana processing facility for production of phosphoric acid and fertilizers
(The Mosaic Company, 2021). The number of domestic manufacturing locations shown in Figure 1 represents
operating facilities as of 2017 (USGS, 2020).



Phosphate Rock Supply Chain - hull Profile


 "N A	wii

Domestic Production of Phosphate Rock
0 11 Domestic Manufacturing Locations (USGS, 2017)

Figure 1. Domestic Production of Phosphate Rock
Domestic Consumption

U.S. consumption of phosphate rock in 2019 is estimated at 25,500 M kg. This estimate includes production of
23,300 M kg, import of 2,100 M kg, minus export of 0.152 M kg (USGS, 2021), as shown in Figure 2.

Domestic Consumption (2019):

25,500 Million kg

	Domestic Production (23,300 M kg)

	Imports for Consumption (2,100 M kg)

a Export of Domestic Production (0.152 M kg)

Figure 2. Domestic Production and Consumption of Phosphate Rock in 2019

Trade & Tariffs
Worldwide Trade

Worldwide import and export data for phosphate rock (ground) are reported through the World Bank's World



Phosphate Rock Supply Chain - Full Profile

Integrated Trade Solutions (WITS) software, as a category specific to ground phosphate rock. In 2021, the U.S.
ranked 12th worldwide in total exports and 22nd in total imports of ground phosphate rock. In 2021, the Russian
Federation ranked first worldwide in total exports and India ranked first worldwide in total imports (WITS,
2022), as shown in Table 2.

Table 2. WITS Worldwide Export and Import of Ground Phosphate Rock in 2021

2021 Worldwide Trade
Phosphate Rock, Ground (HS Code 2510.20)

Top 5 Worldwide Exporters

Top 5 Worldwide Importers

Russian Federation

2,067 M kg


4,556 M kg


747 M kg


990 M kg


403 M kg

Russian Federation

640 M kg


40 M kg


531 M kg


26 M kg


508 M kg

Domestic Imports and Exports

Domestic import and export data are reported by USITC in categories specific to phosphate rock. Figure 3
summarizes imports for consumption1 and domestic exports2 of phosphate rock between 2015 and 2020. During
this period, the overall quantity of imports varied, with the greatest volume of imports occurring in 2018. The
volume of exports, considerably smaller than the volume of imports, remained relatively steady. Over this five-
year period, Canada was the primary recipient of domestic exports while Peru was the primary source of imports
with a much smaller quantity consistently originating from Morocco throughout this period (USITC, 2021).


	w	in	in	in	i/i

t t:	t t	t t:

o o	o o	o o

cl a.	cl a.	cl a.

E uj	E .2	E .2

2018	2019	2020

 Exports to Canada
Exports to United Kingdom
Exports to Other Countries

Figure 3. USITC Domestic Import and Export of Phosphate Rock between 2015 and 2020

1	Imports for consumption are a subset of general imports, representing the total amount cleared through customs and entering
consumption channels, not anticipated to be reshipped to foreign points, but may include some reexports.

2	Domestic exports are a subset of total exports, representing export of domestic merchandise which are produced or manufactured in
the U.S. and commodities of foreign origin which have been changed in the U.S.

Domestic Trade of Phosphate Rock
3<000	HS Code 2510




m	(/">		in



e ,2	e 	e ^

2015	2016	2017

	Imports from Peru

	Imports from Morocco

	Imports from Other Countries



Phosphate Rock Supply Chain - Full Profile


Imports of phosphate rock are primarily supplied from Peru. There is no general duty for import of phosphate
rock, however there is an additional 25% duty on imports from China (USITC, 2022), as summarized in Table 3.

Table 3. 2022 Domestic Tariff Schedule for Phosphate Rock

HS Code

General Duty

Additional Duty - China
(Section 301 Tariff List)

Special Duty





Market History & Risk Evaluation

History of Shortages

Phosphate rock is a raw material necessary for production of phosphate-based corrosion control chemicals and
water fluoridation chemicals. While the U.S. is a leading worldwide producer of phosphate rock and phosphoric
acid, approximately 95% of domestically produced phosphate rock / phosphoric acid is used in captive
manufacturing to produce fertilizer (USGS, 2020). Domestic production of phosphate-based chemicals other
than fertilizer may rely on import of phosphate rock from a small number of countries including Peru, Morocco,
China, and Russia. Domestic manufacturers and suppliers of phosphate-based water treatment chemicals
oftentimes rely on the international market for supply of inputs and raw materials (ICL, 2021). Price and access
on the international market, like the domestic market, is driven by agricultural demand and increasingly by
demand for lithium iron phosphate battery materials (Murtaugh, 2021; Spears et al., 2022). The international
market for phosphate rock and phosphoric acid may also be impacted by trade barriers, international events
such as armed conflict, and natural disasters.

Challenges in obtaining phosphate rock, phosphoric acid, or downstream precursor chemicals such as
monosodium phosphate on the international market. This has led to repeated shortages of phosphate-based
water treatment chemicals. Most recently, the disruptions in international trade caused by the COVID-19
pandemic have severely challenged these manufacturers.

Risk Evaluation

The complete risk assessment methodology is described in Understanding Water Treatment Chemical Supply
Chains and the Risk of Disruptions (EPA, 2022). The risk rating is calculated as the product of the following three
risk parameters:

Risk = Criticality x Likelihood x Vulnerability
Criticality Measure of the importance of a chemical to the water sector

Likelihood Measure of the probability that the chemical will experience a supply disruption in the
future, which is estimated based on past occurrence of supply disruptions

Vulnerability Measure of the market dynamics that make a chemical market more or less resilient to
supply disruptions

The individual parameter rating is based on evaluation of one or more attributes of the chemical or its supply
chain. The ratings and drivers for these three risk parameters are shown below in Table 4.



Phosphate Rock Supply Chain - Full Profile

Table 4. Supply Chain Risk Evaluation for Phosphate Rock

Risk Parameter Ratings and Drivers


Phosphate rock is essential to
production of all phosphate-based
water treatment chemicals including
chemicals necessary for corrosion

Risk Rating: Moderate-Low


There have been historic widespread
supply disruptions due to decreased
production in countries that are
significant suppliers to the
international market. Supply
disruptions have impacted availability
of derivative products and inputs for
water treatment chemicals.


Though the U.S. produces a large
quantity of phosphate rock, the vast
majority produced is intended for use
in fertilizer manufacturing, which
increases reliance on imports for
manufacture of water treatment


EPA, 2022. Understanding Water Treatment Chemical Supply Chains and the Risk of Disruptions, retrieved

Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute (FIPRI), 2021. Phosphate Beneficiation, retrieved from

ICL Group Ltd, 2021. 2020 Annual Report. ICL Group Ltd., retrieved from financials/2020/ar/ICL-Group-Ltd.-final-20F-2020.pdf

Murtaugh, Dan, 2021. China's Power Cuts Widen Amid Shortages and Climate Push. Bloomberg News,
September 23, 2021, retrieved from

NSF International, 2021. Search for NSF Certified Drinking Water Treatment Chemicals, retrieved from

Spears, B.M., Brownlie, W.J., Cordell, D., Flermann, L., and Mogollon, J.M., 2022. Concerns about global
phosphorous demand for lithium-iron-phosphate batteries in the light electric vehicle sector,
Communications Material, 3(14), retrieved from

The Mosaic Company, 2021. Form 10-K 2020, retrieved from

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), 2013. Energy and Environmental Profile of the U.S. Mining Industry,
retrieved from

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), NBL Program Office, 2020. Safety Data Sheet Phosphate Rock, retrieved
from Rock 2020.pdf



Phosphate Rock Supply Chain - Full Profile

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 2020. 2017 Minerals Yearbook: Phosphate Rock, retrieved from https://d9-

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 2021. Mineral commodity Summaries for Phosphate Rock, retrieved

U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), 2021. USITC DataWeb, retrieved from

U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), 2022. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) Search, retrieved from

World Integrated Trade Solutions (WITS), 2022. Trade Statistics by Product (HS 6-digit), retrieved from