The Influence of Pulp Potential in Sulphide Flotation
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1984
The influence of pulp potential on the flotation behaviour of sulphide minerals in laboratory batch flotation tests is discussed in terms of self-induced flota- tion, collector-induced flotation, and depression.' Assuming that the pulp poten- tial is controlled by the same factors that determine the genuine redox poten- tial, an attempt is made to interpret the experimental results in terms of potential-dependent reactions based on bulk thermodynamic data. Self-induced flotation is displayed by many sulphides in moderately oxidizing solutions but not in reducing solutions. The available evidence suggests that the hydrophobic entity could be sulphur produced by superficial oxidation of the mineral but this has not been established beyond dispute. In general, flotation is observed near the potentials at which sul- phur would be expected to form and the minerals which produce sulphur seem to float the most strongly. Collector-induced flotation is most conveniently studied on minerals which have only slight self-induced floatab- ility. The mineral-collector interaction is potential-dependent hence flotation is generally only observed in limited ranges of potentials. While the general form of the floatability-potential relationship is similar to that predicted from thermody- namic data close correspondence between predicted and experimental results is not always observed.