Sulfur is a chemical element with symbol S and atomic number 16
Sulphur occurs naturally in the environment and is the thirteenth most abundant element in the earth's crust. It can be mined in its elemental form, though this production has reduced significantly in recent years. Since early in the 20th Century, the Frasch process has been used as a method to extract sulphur from underground deposits, when it displaced traditional principally in Sicily. Most of the world's sulphur was obtained this way until the late 20th century, when became more commonplace. As of 2011, the only operating Frasch mines worldwide are in Poland and since 2010 in Mexico. The last mine operating in the United States closed in 2000. A Frasch mine in Iraq closed in 2003.
It is abundant, multivalent, and nonmetallic
Sulphur is the primary source to produce sulphuric acid, the world's most used chemical and a versatile mineral acid used as an essential intermediate in many processes in the chemical and manufacturing industries. Sulphuric acid is used by the fertilizer industry to manufacture primarily phosphates, and also nitrogen, potassium, and sulphate fertilizers. Sulphur is also used in many other industries including non-ferrous metals, pigments, fibers, hydrofluoric acid, carbon disulphide, pharmaceuticals, agricultural pesticides, personal care products, cosmetics, synthetic rubber vulcanization, water treatment, and steel pickling.
Well over half of global sulphuric acid production comes from burning elemental sulphur at points of consumption, with most of the remainder produced at non-ferrous metals smelters and pyrites mines. East Asia, led by China, is the largest overall acid producer, stemming largely from rapid growth. It is followed by North America, Africa, and Latin America. Practically all traded acid is from smelters. Western Europe is the largest acid trading region, followed by East Asia and North America.