Agrominerals – University of Copenhagen

SASMin > Projects > Agrominerals

Small-scale production of agrominerals
for sustainable agriculture

Agrominerals are minerals with the potential of improving agricultural production by contributing essential nutrient elements to the soil and/or by improving the soil texture. Common agrominerals/-rocks are phosphate, lime, K-rich minerals, clay, zeolite, and mica. In general, African soils are depleted in essential nutrients due to intensive farming, inadequate compensation of the nutrients 'harvested' and leaching as a result of precipitation.

The vast majority of the Sub-Sahara rural populations rely on farming and thus access to quality soil is essential. This warrants the need for cheap and low-technology designed fertilizer supply systems to ensure the sustainability of millions of small scale farmers. In addition to improving agricultural production, provision of agrominerals also imply that more jobs in small scale mining can be generated in rural areas.

The aim of the project is to identify potential agromineral occurrences with the potential of increasing the yield of nearby small-scale agricultural production. The project will be implemented in Ghana and Tanzania.

The project will focus on the use of phosphate bearing rocks. A large number of small phosphate bearing rocks have not been geologically described, because they do not meet the tonnage or specifications required for commercial water-soluble fertilisers.

The project will identify the types of crops and areas which in particular are in need of phosphate. Adjacent phosphate sources and local fertilizer demand in Ghana and Tanzania will be addressed with the objective to facilitate commercial networks between local farmers, small-scale miners, and research institutes in order to initialize one-to-one tests. Not all phosphate rocks are suited for agricultural uses due to either their content of radioactive elements, or they may require too advanced mineral processing procedures in order to produce the necessary quality.

The project will provide a road map for a successful implementation of agromineral-based projects.