The Chemistry of Pyrite Flotation and Depression

Ball, B. ; Rickard, R. S.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 27
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1976
INTRODUCTION Pyrite responds to the flotation reagents normally used in sulfide flotation systems. For example, it is well known that xanthates are good collectors for pyrite, and cyanide, sulfide and hydroxides are depressants. The particular response of pyrite to these and other reagents is used to advantage in several areas. By careful control of depressant and collector additions, pyrite can be separated from other sulfides by flotation. This is of obvious importance in base metal sulfide flotation where pyrite depression is often required to produce a marketable grade concentrate. Flotation of pyrite has long been employed in gold ore processing, and it appears that pyrite flotation from coal may become important in the future (1). It is probably a direct consequence of this relative ease of separation, plus the low economic value of pyrite, that detailed investigations on the chemistry of its flotation and depression are relatively limited. Gaudin (2,3,4) and others, in the mid-1950's published data on the flotation of pyrite, but detailed or consistent mechanisms were lacking. In 1955, Sutherland and Wark's book (5) was published, in which a large amount of empirical information, especially earlier work of Wark and Cox, was presented. More recently, in 1968, significant contributions have been made by Fuerstenau et al. (6,7) and Majima and Takeda (El. These papers introduced electrochemical explanations of the effects observed with xanthate and cyanide ions.
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