Research on Recovery of Phosphate Minerals from the Mount Weld Deposit by Froth Flotation

Warren L J,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1991
The recovery of phosphate minerals from the Mt Weld deposit by froth flotation has been studied by many researchers. Most of the flotation experiments were carried out with a tall oil fatty acid as collector and sodium silicate as dispersant and gangue depressant at pH about 10. Several rougher stages and cleaner stages and, sometimes, a desliming stage were included. The major difficulty was to reduce the Fe2O3 impurities in the concentrate to the required level. We used QEM*SEM (Quantitative Evaluation of Materials by Scanning Electron Microscopy) to provide a comprehensive and accurate mineralogical analysis of the flotation products. The analysis indicated that the Fe2O3 impurities were mainly recovered in the second concentrate, owing partly to the incomplete depression of the liberated iron oxides by the sodium silicate and partly to composite particles containing iron oxides. The selective depressing action of sodium silicate was improved by adjusting the variables such as the modulus (SiO2/Na2O), pH and time of standing of the stock sodium silicate solutions or by adding some polyvalent metal salts into sodium silicate solution. The flotation process was optimised to produce a phosphate concentrate with the required grade and recovery (38.6 per cent P2O5, 2.67 per cent Fe2O3, 13.7 for P2O5/(Fe2O3 + A1203), at P2O5 recovery of 81.5 per cent). The possibility of recovering the rare-earth phosphate, monazite, from the Mt Weld deposit by flotation was also studied.
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