Phosphorus in the form of phosphate promotes plant growth and is an important raw material for the bioeconomy. Germany imports phosphate from North Africa, where the main deposits are located, as there are no significant phosphate deposits in the EU and the recovery of phosphorus from secondary sources is limited.
The PhD project investigates the environmental and social impacts of phosphate mining in Tunisia and analyses the social-environmental interaction.
At first, the global reserve will be revised according to the update of Tunisian reserves using primary data. Then, the concept of criticality of phosphorus will be analyzed along the global supply chain and discussed in order to propose more integrative definition of criticality. Based on this, the supply risk factors along the global supply chain will be modelled according to the social stability and the environmental performance of the producing countries of phosphate rock, phosphoric acid and white phosphorus.
To understand the interaction between social and environmental factors, phosphate mining in Tunisia will be investigated as an example. Based on primary data from the Gafsa mining region in southern Tunisia, the environmental and social impacts of phosphate mining are assessed using the life cycle analysis (LCA) method. In addition, a survey will be conducted to gather opinions of the local population on the consequences of phosphate mining.
The project involves ITAS, Pforzheim University (INEC), and the state-owned Compagnie des phosphates de Gafsa (CPG) in Tunisia.