Most of the worlds phosphate deposits can be grouped into six types: 1) igneous apatite deposits; 2) marine phosphorites; 3) residual phosphorites; 4) river pebble deposits; 5) phosphatized rock; and 6) guano. The igneous apatites and marine phosphorites form deposits measurable in millions or billions of tons; the residual deposits are measurable in thousands or millions; and the other types generally only in thousands of tons.
Igneous apatite deposits have been mined on a small scale in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia. Marine phosphorites have been mined in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Residual phosphorites have been mined in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Florida. River pebble has been produced in South Carolina and Florida; phosphatized rock in Tennessee and Florida; and guano in New Mexico and Texas. Present production is limited almost entirely to Florida, Tennessee, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.
Incomplete but recently partly revised estimates indicate the presence of about 5 billion tons of phosphate deposits in the United States that is minable under present economic conditions. Deposits too lean in quality or thickness to compete with those in the western and southeastern fields probably contain tens of billions of tons.