Polk County Company Develops New Phosphate Technology
A Polk County company is developing technology that it says could transform the phosphate industry. There may also be potential benefits to the environment.
The new process takes low grade phosphoric rock, and uses a high temperature kiln to produce phosphoric acid for fertilizer or other uses.
It doesn't use any water in the process,and it doesn't produce mountains of radon-laden phosphogypsum waste -- both big changes from the current method.
Tip Fowler is president of JDC Phosphate in Bartow. He says the ability to use lower grade phosphate rock means there's more to mine.
"The phosphate companies may be able to more than double the mining reserves that they would currently be able to get at," Fowler says, "just by going deeper."
And mining more rock from the same cut means the footprint of the mine wouldn't be extended.
An Australian mining company has invested in JDC, which is now raising money for a demonstration plant in Polk County.
©2013 WUSF. All rights reserved.