Removal of Heavy Metals from Missouri Lead Mill Tailings by Froth Flotation

Benn, F. W. ; Cornell, W. L.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1992
The U.S. Bureau of Mines investigated froth flotation techniques to remove heavy metals (Pb, Cu, and Zn) from southeast Missouri lead mill tailings. It has been estimated that southeast Missouri contains between 200 and 300 million st of Pb tailings stored above ground. The tailings were classified as two distinct types: (1) pre- 1968 tailings from the Old Lead Belt (some more than 100 years old) and (2) post-1968 tailings from the New Lead Belt. The objectives of the investigation were to reduce the Pb remaining in the tailings to (500 ppm (<0.05% Pb) and to attempt to recover a marketable concentrate to offset a portion of the remediation costs. The remaining dolomite-limestone would then be used as mining backfill or agricultural limestone. Bench- scale froth flotation removed, in percent, 95 Pb, 84 Cu, and 54 Zn, leaving 94% of the original weight containing, in parts per million, 400 Pb, 40 Cu, and 300 Zn from the Old Lead Belt tailings. Separate flotation tests also removed, in percent, 85 Pb, 84 Cu, and 80 Zn, leaving 75% of the original weight containing, in parts per million, 400 Pb, 200 Cu, and 500 Zn from the New Lead Belt tailings . Concentrates recovered from the Old Lead Belt were retreated to produce a final Pb concentrate containing 72% Pb with a cleaner flotation recovery of 79%. Froth flotation proved to be a viable method to remove the heavy metals.
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