The Impact Of Water Quality On Flotation Performance

Levay, G.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2001
Water represents 80?85% of the volume of mineral pulp processed in flotation circuits. Imperatives for a more detailed focus on circuit water quality and its control have come from increasing requirements to use relatively impure primary water supplies (e.g. high salinity, treated sewage) and high proportions of recycle from tailings dams, thickener overflows, dewatered and filter products. An integrated methodology for examining process water quality and its effect on minerals separation has been developed coupled with minerals surface chemistry across the complete processing circuit. Unrecognised factors, including varying proportions of water streams (daily or hourly), colloidal precipitation, highly variable pH and Eh, reaction and dissolution of minerals, minerals surface layer coatings, residual reagents and their reaction products, and microbiological activity have been studied in eight mineral processing circuits. The methodology combines: solution survey and modelling; microbiological surveys; minerals surface analysis and modelling; and process response. It has been possible to match the predicted (model) pulp chemistry with that measured from surveys of the solution and mineral surfaces. Treatment methods have included: monitored and balanced stream combinations; organic species removal; flocculation and aggregation; induced precipitation; dissolved air flotation; ageing (oxidation, UV exposure); and chemical surface conditioning of minerals. Some specific achievements from the methodology applied in plant and laboratory testing, with examples from case studies, will be described.
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