Occurrence and physicochemical properties of organic matter found in phosphate ores
The proposed research project is aimed at detailed characterization of organic matter found in certain types of phosphate ores. The presence of organic compounds often complicates the beneficiation of such ores to produce a fertilizer-grade phosphate concentrate. Further advances in the treatment of such problematic phosphate ores require a thorough understanding of the nature and distribution of organic compounds within phosphate ores. Among the most advanced methods, the proposed research will employ a range of x-ray, infrared, and other spectroscopic methods to visualize the internal structure of ore grains, to generate maps of mineral components within grains of various sizes, and to visualize the presence and distribution of various organic compounds on mineral particles. These techniques are expected to provide complete information about associations of organics with different ore components. Finally, different ore treatment methods will be tested in order to investigate the release of organics by the tested ores.