Advances in Synthesis and Use of Chelating Reagents in Mineral Flotation
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1994
This paper provides a summary of the studies performed over a period of more than fifteen years by the Italian National Research Council's Mineral Processing Institute in Rome to develop applications for the use of chelating reagents in the flotation of metallic minerals. A description is given of the various phases through which the studied progressed, starting with the combined use of commercial chelating reagents and a neutral oil and then moving on to the synthesis of new long-chain chelate collectors for the flotation of sulphide and oxidized Pb, Zn and Cu minerals. After a series of preliminary tests which confirmed the possibility of floating various metallic minerals with commercial reagents containing chelating groups exerting specific action on given cations, the studies were addressed to the development of a theoretical method of choosing chelating groups that exert selective action on one metallic mineral rather than others. The theoretical approach was based on thermodynamic data concerning the chemical equilibria in solution. The validity of the method has been proved in numerous cases by flotation tests on pure minerals. Subsequently the research was directed towards the design and synthesis of reagents with a mixed aliphatic-aromatic structure containing chelating groups for Pb and Zn and an alcoxyl chain of various length, position and configuration. The flotation results obtained on oxidized and mixed Zn-Pb ores provided interesting pointers for designing the nonpolar portion. The structural criteria identified via these studies were interpreted on the basis of chemical and steric considerations. A description is given of a new synthetic chelate collector which is effective in the selective flotation of Cu minerals from complex sulphides. The fact that this reagents is more selective than xanthate is demonstrated by comparative flotation tests on actual ores.