Physical Aspects of Fine Particle Flotation

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 18
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1984
In the flotation of fine particles, problems arise which do not occur with coarse-ground pulps. For example, the presence of colloidal or near-colloid- al gangue particles gives rise to ex- cessive entrainment in the froth, with reduced grade as a consequence. If the values themselves are finely dissemi- nated, the recovery usually decreases as the particles diminish in size, so a low recovery is combined with poor grade. Sutherland and Wark (1955) referred to the complications arising from the presence of fines, indicating (p.382) that fine grinding "introduces diffi- culties that have not yet been satis- factorily overcome". At the time of writing, very little work has been done on fines flotation specifically, yet the groundwork has been well laid. The availability of better scientific instruments, together with the general advance of understanding in a wide variety of relevant research fields, has taken us a long way toward finding the reasons behind the problems as- sociated with fines, and also toward finding practical solutions. It would be useful to define what is meant by "fine" particles before going further. To some extent, the definition is somewhat elastic as far as flotation is concerned, because the density of the particles has a bearing on whether or not they act as fines. But in general we are dealing with particles less than about 20 pm in Diameter.
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