Flotation Process Response of Ok Tedi Flourine Bearing Minerals

Manlapig EV, ; Mackinnon IDR, ; Laudr DW,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1997
Orebodies at Ok Tedi contain a number of different fluorine bearing minerals. Some of these minerals report to concentrate and are responsible for the presence of the penalty element, fluorine, within the concentrate. Previous analytical work has tended to examine geological samples for content, rather than determine the metallurgical behaviour of the different mineralogical species. This investigation utilised X-Ray Diffraction combined with Scanning Electron Microscope / Electron Microprobe to identify the fluorine bearing minerals in flotation test products. Seven fluorine bearing minerals were identified, viz., talc, phlogopite, amphibole (tremolite and actinolite), sphene, apatite, biotite and clay. Talc was found exclusively in the skam ore type. Phlogopite and amphiboles (tremolite and actinolite) were found to occur in both skarn and porphyry ores, while sphene, apatite, biotite and clay were found only in the porphyry ores. Of the fluorine bearing minerals observed, only talc exhibited natural hydrophobicity to any significant degree. Phlogopite and the amphibole minerals were found to be hydrophillic, whilst the remaining minerals occurred in insufficient quantities to determine the flotation behaviour. Ok Tedi copper concentrate fluorine content prior to skarn ore treatment in the mill (typically 350ppm) was previously identified as deriving from phlogopite, while talc was believed to be the source of intermittent high concentrate fluorine contents when skarn ores were treated. This paper provides supporting evidence for this belief, and reports the nature of fluorine bearing mineral flotation behaviour.
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