ABU TARTUR

ABU TARTUR (RU: Абу-Тартур) is the largest phosphorite deposit in Egypt, in the Western Desert, in the Dakhla oasis. It has been discovered in 1958, the detailed exploration is carried out since 1977 by the "General Organisation for Mining" Egyptian company.

The deposit is situated among the Upper Cretaceous depositions, which are rumpled into the brachyform synclinal fold in the north wing of the Nubian anteclise; the area is about 20 thousand kilometres. The productive phosphorite horizon (Campanian-Maastrichtian) up to the 58 metres in thickness lies on the variegated clays of the Nubian clastic complex, and is overlapped by the clay-carbonate rocks of the upper Maastrichtian. The industrial stratum stands out at the bottom of the horizon of the 2-10 metres in thickness. The phosphorites are of the granular type.

The bulk of the ore is represented by the clay-carbonate (dolomite) small and medium sized varieties with the phosphate grains of less than 0.5 millimetres in size, containing the admixture of the pyrite. The explored reserves (the C1 + C2 categories) are 987.8 million tonnes, of which 363.4 million tonnes (the C1 category) are explored in details, with the 25.3% average content of the P2O5 in the ores.

It is supposed that the underground room-and-pillar development system would be used. The combined enrichment of the phosphorites is the most promising: washing, flotation, and roasting. The flotation concentrate contains 31.5% of P2O5 (with the 85% of the P2O5 recovery). The annual production is planned to be 10 million tonnes of the phosphorites, and up to 7 million tonnes of the concentrate (1985-90).