Wadi Al-Abiad Mine
It is located 115 km south of Amman, and 2 km from the desert highway in Al-Karak Governorate. There are 422 employees working in the location. They are distributed on the managerial, administrative, and technical divisions.
Production in the mine started in 1978/1979. Phosphate is found in lenticles formed in the late cretaceous period. Phosphate in Wadi Al-Abiad location is considered to be an extension to the phosphate ore in Al-Hassa, where it is found at two geological levels:
- (Upper level, with a layer thickness ranges between 4-5.5 m.
- Upper level, with a layer thickness ranges between 4-5.5 m.
Most of Wadi Al-Abiad phosphate lies in the upper geological level. Mine exploration for phosphate in Wadi Al-Abiad had started in the early 1960s by an American company, Parsons, which had done bore drilling and exploration work, during which, several confirmed ores were discovered.
There are a number of auxiliary facilities in the mine:
Drilling and Geology Department
The department tasks are focusing on locating phosphate ores, and conducting the required studies related to the quantities, types, and extensions of the phosphate layers. Furthermore, studying the available geological composites such as cracks, folds, and calculating the overburden to determine the economic feasibility of exploiting the ore, and the mining methodology to apply. The study is conducte according to the following stages:
- Conducting the primary field study to identify the rock layers,
- Drilling in the locations where it is possible to have phosphate, and then using well diggers to make a grid of bore wells.
- In case of the phosphate availability is proved, bore wells drilling is increased, based on the primary study, to determine the boundaries of the phosphate lenticle.
- Conducting the appropriate analysis for the phosphate samples in terms of TCP (tri-calcium phosphate), Cl (Chlorine), and SiO2 (silicon dioxide).
- After completing the drilling work and determining the extension of the phosphate layer, the wells surveying work is defined as final.
- Preparing the required maps.
- Conducting the needed calculations to determine phosphate quantities, its type, overburden quantities, and all other calculations to help in defining the economic feasibility of exploiting the ore.
- Submitting all the information to the Mining Division to be studied.
Besides that, the Department carries out the quality control tasks, conducting any modifications requested by the mining operations and defining the layers, determining the faults and cracks, and other requested issues.
Mining and Extracting Phosphate
Mining at Wadi Al-Abiad mine is done using the uncovering method, which is removing the overburden using draggers or traditional land moving equipment. Mining is done as in the following steps:
- Explosion: applying explosives in the overburden and removing it from over the phosphate layer.
- Collection: after the explosion, collecting phosphate by various mining equipment.
- Uploading and Moving: phosphate is loaded, using various mining equipment and moved to the crusher’s site or the storage facilities.
Phosphate Processing Units
The objective of this stage is to upgrade phosphate’s quality and to remove impurities as much as possible, such as: chlorine (Cl), calcium oxide (CaO), and silica (SiO2), also upgrading TCP ratio through the following stages:
- Crushers: After completing the mining steps and moving phosphate from the ore locations or the storage facilities to the crushers, it is then crushed, sieved, and sorted to the required size.
- Ratio upgrading machines: the objective of having quality upgrading equipment, through washing the phosphate coming from the crushers, are removing impurities and lowering chlorine ratio.
- Handling and drying (kilns): This division is considered one of the main divisions and a special production division, where the last operation is done by drying phosphate and preparing it for the External Shipping division. The purpose of these special kilns is reducing moisture content in both the washed or normal phosphate, through generating hot gases to dry the phosphate.
After completing the work at the phosphate processing units, phosphate is then stored in silos ready to be shipped by trucks or trains for exporting.