Interpreting The Role Of Reagents In The Flotation Of Platinum-Bearing Merensky Ores

Wiese, J. G.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2007
Reagents are added to the flotation process of Merensky Reef ores to achieve specific functions that enable the separation of valuable minerals from gangue minerals on the basis of the difference in their surface properties. However, due to the complexity of the process, the various interactions that occur as well as the incomplete liberation of the ore and range of minerals present, it is difficult to quantify the behaviour of each of the reagents. More specifically, changes made to achieve a particular outcome may have secondary effects that can override the desired effect. If all the effects and interactions can be accounted for, it is possible to manipulate reagent suites and obtain better overall metallurgical performance. This paper discusses the effect of the addition of copper sulphate at different operating points of the recovery of the sulphide minerals. Batch flotation tests indicated that the recovery of chalcopyrite was not affected when operating conditions were varied, whereas pentlandite recovery was strongly affected by the point of reagent addition, and pyrrhotite recovery was enhanced by copper sulphate addition, irrespective of the point of addition, with the extent being dependent on the ore source. Floatable gangue was activated by copper sulphate in the presence of the dithiophosphate collector. Froth stability was also affected by copper sulphate addition.
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