Flotation Chemistry of the Inco Matte Separation Process
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1976
The flotation chemistry of the commercial INCO matte separation process was investigated. The slow cooling of Bessemer converter matte forms discrete phases of Cu2S and Ni3S2 and a Cu-Ni alloy. After magnetically removing the alloy, the Cu2S and Ni3S2 are separated by flotation at pH 12.4 (saturated lime) using diphenyl guanidine (DPG) as both collector and frother. DPG has been used exclusively in this flotation process because of its unusual selectivity for copper minerals. The surface product resulting from chemisorption of DPG onto the Cu2S was identified as the double salt Cu(DPG)2SO4,.CU(DPG)2(OH)2. The adsorption followed Langmuir behaviour up to a monolayer coverage. In the absence of DPG, the rapid adsorption of oxygen by Cu2S in flotation pulps was observed. The surface product was identified as the insoluble basic copper sulfate CuSO4.3Cu(OH)2 with the production of sulfate ion. In the presence of DPG, the oxidation reaction appears to be suppressed. The frothing properties of DPG and commercial frothers were compared. DPG is not a powerful frother. Batch flotation tests confirmed that DPG is a highly selective collector when compared to most sulfhydryl collectors.