THE APATITE PROJECT IN GRÄNGESBERG
GRANGEX Apatit will be the first fossil-free producer of high-quality phosphorus minerals – apatite. The apatite project in Grängesberg is a recycling project where the old beneficiation sand from the iron ore beneficiation at the closed Grängesberg mine is intended to be recycled to produce highly enriched apatite as an input for, among other things, the fertilizer industry as well as highly enriched magnetite concentrate that can either be used in the steel industry or for industrial water treatment.
The project is planned to be carried out entirely with carbon dioxide-free methods for uptake and enrichment. It is just right in time with a general focus on circular processes, partly because this is a desirable restoration project which ultimately contributes to increased biological diversity.
During the year, work on the environmental impact statement continued. Further process tests have been carried out to optimize yields and finally define the flotation chemicals required. The external process laboratories to which we sent material for supplementary process tests during the year have had long lead times due to high workload, which has caused delays for the Company and the submission of the planned application for an environmental permit to Land and the environmental court.
During the autumn, further investigations of the enrichment sand in the Jan-Matts dam were carried out, which make the apatite project even more profitable and important to implement. The work has resulted in an update and an expansion of the mineral resources by 24%, from 2.8 Mton to 3.5 Mton with the phosphorus content maintained. The update has been based on the results from the sampling of the part of the enrichment sand that is under water in the Jan-Matts dam. The sand contains the main mineral apatite and, in addition to phosphorus, also contains interesting levels of rare earth metals (REE).
The mineralogical investigations carried out on the enrichment sand from Jan Mattsdammen also show the presence of another couple of REE-bearing minerals (monazite and allanite). If it turns out that these minerals are economically extractable, the apatite project’s beneficiation process may be expanded and also include the production of these minerals as by-products.
Overflight of Jan Mattsdammen and the GP plant in Grängesberg.
Estimated indicated mineral resources in the sand reservoir of Jan-Matts dam, as of November 2022
Phosphate market 2022 - Seller's market
Raw phosphate is considered a critical raw material by the EU. The EU has adopted a separate law on this sector, the law on critical raw materials. This will be followed up with a package of measures that is about to be adopted in 2023. There is reason to expect powerful measures in the form of risk loans, grants, competition protection etc. from the EU to increase the member countries’ self-supply of the critical raw materials. GRANGEX should have good conditions to be able to contribute to this work.