Phosphorus is found in nature as part of mineral rocks being an increasingly scarce and limited natural resource. Most of the mined phosphorus is earmarked for the production of fertilizers for agriculture, but its misuse and its discharge into the environment have led the receiving waterways to eutrophication, not being guaranteed the availability of this resource to future generations.

Despite being an essential element for the development of life, the vast majority of phosphorus rock is only found in a few countries, not being any European State a principal producer of this mineral. This fact puts Europe in a situation of dependency in terms of this natural resource:

map-phosphate-production

Source: Jasinski, ‘Phosphate Rock’.

When analyzing trends in fertilizer demand for agricultural application it is found that its use is increasing and it is expected to keep in this trend in the future.

map-fertiliser-consumption

Source: http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/fertiliser-consumption-in-1997-1999-and-projections-for-2030

Limited natural sources of phosphorus and increasing global demand are causing a price volatility of the mineral rock leading to the need to look for alternative sources of this essential mineral for agriculture and for life.

diagrama-ciclo-p