The Effect Of Copper Sulphate Addition On The Recovery Of Chromite In The Flotation Of UG2 Ore

Mailula, T. D.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2003
Paper written on project work carried out in partial fulfilment of M.Sc.(Chemical Engineering) degree Chromite and talc are two major gangue minerals in platinum bearing UG2 ore processed from the Bushveld Complex in South Africa. During flotation, talc is effectively depressed by the addition of depressants. Chromite, on the other hand, is considered to be hydrophilic, its recovery is believed to follow water recovery and therefore recovered by entrainment only. In certain cases it has been shown that chromite can be activated by the reagent suite and hence is made amenable to true flotation. The aim of the work was to investigate the effect of the addition of copper sulphate as an activator and the effect of the depressant type and dosage on the recovery of chromite. The results of these experiments showed that copper sulphate, at higher dosages, activated the chromite. Low dosages of copper sulphate resulted in no chromite activation. This was observed at low depressant dosages of both IMP4 (guar gum) and KU5 (carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC)). When the depressant dosages were increased, at higher copper sulphate dosages, it was observed that the activated chromite was depressed by IMP4, but that the activation was still significant with the use of KU5. The activation of the chromite is attributed to the form of the copper species present in the solution and on the mineral surfaces at pH = 9 enhancing collector adsorption and thereby increasing hydrophobicity. These species were not measured directly and it is recommended that this should be further investigated using surface mineral techniques. Keywords: flotation; depressants; chromite; copper sulphate
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