Sustainable recovery of phosphorous from mine tailings


Luleå tekniska universitet


Luleå tekniska universitet, LKAB

Ulrika Rova



Phosphorus (P) is an essential element for the growth of plants. The most common P fertilizers are manufactured from phosphate rock which is not sustainable as the global P resource is finite and also geographically restricted. To meet the growing global demand for food, a secure supply and a sustainable P management is one of the key challenges for the UN´s Sustainable Developments Goals. The most common phosphate mineral is apatite. So far production of apatite concentrate has not been economically viable and hence apatite is part of the mine tailings currently deposited.

In this pre-study we will use residual resources from the forest industry to develop biodegradable flotation reagents, i.e. lignin nanoparticles, for beneficiation of mine tailings. The overall aim is to verify the use of these lignin nanoparticles for the flotation of mine tailings from LKAB to recover high-quality concentrates of phosphate with a potential to be used as a source for P-rich fertilizers.