Physico-chemical characterization of Ogun and Sokoto phosphate rocks
There is a need to identify potential phosphate rock sources to supply phosphorus (P) for crop growth and sustain food production. Physico-chemical characteristics of phosphate rocks from two Nigerian deposits were evaluated to determine their suitability for processing or direct application as P fertilizer. Physical properties such as textural forms, hardness, specific gravity, shrinkage, water absorption capacity and firing color were determined. Ogun rock phosphate (ORP) and Sokoto rock phosphate (SRP) were also subjected to chemical and mineralogical analysis. Solubility tests were conducted at two different particle sizes in 2% citric acid. ORP had a higher water absorption capacity and shrinkage than SRP while specific gravity of ORP was lower. Total P2O5 of SRP and ORP were 36.1% and 31% respectively, which is greater than P2O5 content of Morocco rock phosphate. Both ORP and SRP contained carbonate fluorapatite and chlorapatite minerals. Gypsum, calcite and lime were associated with both rock phosphates indicating their liming potential in the soil. ORP was more soluble in water, probably because it has a lower pH (5.0) than SRP (7.8). Higher solubility of SRP in 2% citric acid may be caused by its high carbonate content. Solubility of both rocks in 2% citric acid increased with decreasing particle size. Solubility of both rocks in 2% citric acid was greater than 30% indicating that they are reactive rocks. The agronomic effectiveness of these rocks has been validated in several on farm trials. We recommend these phosphate rocks for production of P fertilizers and direct application in crop production.
Keywords: Phosphorus, apatite, crop production, fertilizer, Ogun rock phosphate, Sokoto rock phosphate