Phosphorite, phosphate rock or rock phosphate is a non-detrital sedimentary rock which contains high amounts of phosphate bearing minerals. The phosphate content of phosphorite is at least 15 to 20%; if it is assumed that the phosphate minerals in phosphorite are hydroxyapatite and fluoroapatite, phosphate minerals contain roughly 18,5 % phosphorus by weight and if phosphorite contains around 20% of these minerals, phosphorite is roughly 3,7 % phosphorus by weight, which is a considerable enrichment over the typical sedimentary rock content of less than 0.2%.
For general use in the fertilizer industry, phosphate rock or its concentrates preferably have levels of 30% phosphorus pentoxide (P2O5), reasonable amounts of calcium carbonate (5%), and <4% combined iron and aluminium oxides. Worldwide, the resources of high-grade ore are declining, and the beneficiation of lower grade ores by washing, flotation and calcining is becoming more widespread.