Investigation Of Surface Properties Of Gangue Minerals In Platinum Bearing Ores

Martinovic, J.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2005
The large proportion of gangue minerals present in platinum bearing ores in South Africa provides challenges to the flotation and downstream processes. In order to take effective measures to reduce their recovery in flotation, an understanding of the mechanisms and factors influencing their behaviour is needed. Typical gangue minerals are pyroxene, feldspar, quartz, chromite and talc. Of these, talc is a naturally hydrophobic mineral and although it is present in relatively small quantities, it has a disproportionate effect as it has a strong froth stabilizing effect, increasing the recovery of other gangue minerals by entrainment. Talc recovery is effectively reduced with the addition of polymeric depressants. Although the other gangue minerals are assumed to be hydrophilic and their recovery by entrainment is expected to follow the water recovery, there is some evidence that they may be activated by the typical reagent suites used. Reagents such as copper sulphate, added as an activator, and collectors are used to selectively induce hydrophobicity on the sulphides. It has been shown that some of these gangue minerals can be activated. This research work investigates whether inadvertent copper activation is mineral specific and evaluates the mechanisms and factors affecting the reversal of activation with the addition of the depressants using electrokinetic measurements, adsorption and microflotation tests. Results are presented that show that the selected minerals do respond differently and that the reversal of activation is dependent on mineral type, depressant type, dosage and ionic strength of the electrolyte.
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