Froth Characteristics in Phosphate Flotation

Lovell, V. M. ; Freyberger, W. ; de Cuyper, J
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 25
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1976
The recovery of apatite from the phoscorite ores occurring in the Transvaal, Republic of South Africa, involves a flotation process that is particularly difficult to characterize from a fundamental point of view. However, the reagents used, (tall oil fatty acid, nonylphenyltetraglycol ether, sodium silicate, and sodium hydroxide) can successfully bring about a separation of apatite from dolomitic calcite, which is the most troublesome gangue component. Recently, it has been demonstrated with some flotation feeds that the addition of certain polysaccharides can improve the flotation significantly. It has been shown that the metallurgy obtained is closely linked to the nature of the froth, and this, in turn, is influenced, often dramatically, by the presence or absence of certain of the reagents. The character of the froth depends less on the inherent frothing ability of these reagents than on the presence or absence of fine mineral particles in the froth, and on their surface characteristics and state of aggregation. The polyglycol ether and the polysacchar- ides have been shown to affect these properties, and it is suggested that a major function of these reagents is to modulate the properties of the fine particles in the pulp, thereby changing the character of the froth and giving rise to improved results.
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