# 8.1 Mining and mineral processing  (Page 7/7)

 Page 7 / 7

## Phosphates

Rock phosphate [Ca ${}_{10}$ (PO ${}_{4}$ ) ${}_{6}$ F ${}_{2}$ ], mined from open pit mines at Phalaborwa, is an important raw material in the production of fertilisers. The following two reactions are used to transform rock phosphate into water soluble phosphates:

• Ca ${}_{10}$ (PO ${}_{4}$ ) ${}_{6}$ F ${}_{2}$ + 7X + 3H ${}_{2}$ O $\to$ 3Ca(H ${}_{2}$ PO ${}_{4}$ ) ${}_{2}$ H ${}_{2}$ O + 2HF + 7CaSO ${}_{4}$
• Ca ${}_{10}$ (PO ${}_{4}$ ) ${}_{6}$ F ${}_{2}$ + 14Y + 10H ${}_{2}$ O $\to$ 10Ca(H ${}_{2}$ PO ${}_{4}$ ) ${}_{2}$ H ${}_{2}$ O + 2HF
1. Identify the acids represented by X and Y.
2. Despite similar molecular formulae, the products Ca(H ${}_{2}$ PO ${}_{4}$ ) ${}_{2}$ formed in the two reactions have different common names. Write down the names for each of these products in reactions A and B.
3. Refer to the products in reactions A and B and write down TWO advantages of reaction B over reaction A.
4. Why is rock phosphate unsuitable as fertiliser?

(DoE Exemplar Paper, Grade 11, 2007)

## Case study : controversy on the wild coast - titanium mining

Read the extract below, which has been adapted from an article that appeared in the Mail and Guardian on 4th May 2007, and then answer the questions that follow.

A potentially violent backlash looms in Pondoland over efforts by an Australian company to persuade villagers to back controversial plans to mine an environmentally sensitive strip of the Wild Coast. The mining will take place in the Xolobeni dunes, south of Port Edward. The application has outraged environmental groups, largely because the proposed mining areas form part of the Pondoland centre of endemism, which has more species than the United Kingdom, some of which are endemic and facing extinction.

Exploratory drilling revealed Xolobeni has the world's 10th largest titanium deposit, worth about R11 billion. The amount of money that will be spent over the mine's 22 years, including a smelter, is estimated at R1.4 billion. The Australian mining company predicts that 570 direct jobs will be created.

But at least two communities fiercely oppose the mining plans. Some opponents are former miners who fear Gauteng's mine dumps and compounds will be replicated on the Wild Coast. Others are employees of failed ecotourism ventures, who blame the mining company for their situation. Many are suspicious of outsiders. The villagers have also complained that some of the structures within the mining company are controlled by business leaders with political connections, who are in it for their own gain. Intimidation of people who oppose the mining has also been alleged. Headman Mandoda Ndovela was shot dead after his outspoken criticism of the mining.

Mzamo Dlamini, a youth living in one of the villages that will be affected by the mining, said 10% of the Amadiba 'who were promised riches by the mining company' support mining. 'The rest say if people bring those machines, we will fight.'

1. Explain what the following words means:
1. endemic
2. smelter
3. ecotourism
2. What kinds of 'riches' do you think the Amadiba people have been promised by the mining company?
3. In two columns, list the potential advantages and disadvantages of mining in this area.
4. Imagine that you were one of the villagers in this area. Write down three questions that you would want the mining company to answer before you made a decision about whether to oppose the mining or not. Share your ideas with the rest of the class.
5. Imagine that you are an environmentalist. What would your main concerns be about the proposed mining project? Again share your answers with the rest of the class.

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