Electrochemistry of Sulfide Flotation

Woods, R.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 36
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1976
INTRODUCTION Gaudin (1), considered that "the mechanism of mineral collection is the central problem of flotation theory". From their work on adsorption phenomena in flotation for more than fifty years (2), Gaudin and his co-workers have made major contributions to the elucidation of this mechanism, a fact acknowledged by their contemporaries in the field (e.g. (3)). Their investigations in a number of areas, e.g. demonstrating that submonolayer quantities of adsorbed collector species can induce flotation, or identifying the influence of substances which can activate or depress (1), have helped to provide the basis for and the development of a theory to account for the interaction between mineral and collector. It was established in the late fifties (4) that the presence of oxygen is a prerequisite for the flotation of metal sulfides with thiol collectors. This fact rendered inadequate the concept of simple ion adsorption being responsible for rendering these minerals hydrophobic. The requirement for oxygen has been explained (1) in terms of this species being a component in chemical reactions between the sulfide surface and the collector. Gaudin has been instrumental in identifying the products of chemical reactions at sulfide minerals (1.5), a line of work which has been continued particularly by Finkelstein and co-workers in South Africa (6). In presenting a detailed mechanism of the mineral-collector- oxygen interaction, it has often been considered that the mineral surface - must first be oxidized to a metal oxy-sulfur species which
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