Electrochemistry of Sulphide Flotation

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 25
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1984
Electrochemical investigations of the flotation of sulphide minerals are re- viewed. Flotation with thiol collectors is interpreted in terms of a "mixed poten- tial" model in which the process leading to hydrophobicity is the anodic oxidation of the collector at the mineral surface and this is driven by the cathodic reduc- tion of oxygen. Electrochemical studies have identified the products of anodic oxidation as chemisorbed collector, metal collector compounds, and dithiolates; the products formed in each situation depend on the collector used, the mineral under study, and the pretreatment of the mineral surface. Investigations on galena, pyrite, and chalcocite are discussed. Electrochemical and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopic studies have been used to determine the products of surface oxi- dation of sulphide minerals in order to elucidate the mechanism of collectorless flotation. The mixed potential mechanism allows consideration to be made of the ways in which flotation of sulphides with thiols can be inhibited. Examples of depressant action are presented. The relevance of electrochemical investi- gations to practical flotation is Discussed.
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