A Critical Assessment of Flotation Agents

Nagaraj, D. R.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
Literally thousands of new flotation agents, both collectors and modifiers, have been proposed for sulfide and non-sulfide flotation over the past six decades since the beginning of the use of soluble surfactants in flotation. In stark contrast, the number of flotation agents used in practice is small. Xanthates and fatly acids, along with a few well-recognized modifiers, dominate the industry. Three major questions will then arise: a) are there truly specific needs in the industry that call for chemistries that are different from those used currently ? b) if yes, given the track record in the industry, what is the likelihood that such different chemistries will ever be used and to what extent ? and c) is more research into developing new chemistries necessary ? A critical assessment of flotation agents in general is made in this paper to provide answers to these questions and to identify the major factors that are responsible for the large disparity that exists between flotation reagent research and commercial usage.
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