The Selection of Flotation Reagents for Mineral Flotation

Klimpel, Richard R. ; Fee, Basil S. ; Hansen, Robert D.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 17
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
Despite the importance of froth flotation to the mineral industries as a means of separating various minerals, the commercial flotation reagents used have varied little in the last twenty years. Numerous articles and books are available describing existing flotation chemistry and its application, e.g., Fuerstenau (1962), Fuerstenau (1976), Aplan (1980), Somasundaran (1980), King (1982), Leja (1982), Ackerman, et. al. (1984), Crozier (1984), Hansen and Klimpel (1985). There are many reasons for this lack of significant new reagent development including the general utility and relative cheapness of collectors, such as xanthates, and frothers, such as methyl isobutyl carbinol and the glycol ethers. Another important reason is the inherent complexity of the flotation process itself coupled with highly variable and difficult to standardize feed materials which make reliable reagent comparisons difficult and seriously limit the use of theoretically based studies to "predict" new or optimal reagents. In addition, the higher cost of "specialty flotation reagents demands that their performance attributes be significantly greater than existing general all- purpose commercial reagents – something often difficult to prove in practice. Faced with this situation, a detailed applications research pro- gram [Klimpel (1980 ab, 1982, 1984 ab), Klimpel, et. al. (1982)] was organized from 1979-1985 on mineral flotation with the following goals: 1) the development of appropriate batch laboratory flotation testing techniques sensitive enough and statistically reliable enough to identify small differences in performance between different flotation tests (i.e., between various reagents, even those with relatively minor chemical structural changes); 2) the identification of mathematical models with appropriate numbers and types of parameters that have maximum statistical power to statistically distinguish between various time-recovery profiles; 3) the generation of laboratory and corresponding plant scale data in sufficient quantity and consistency so that the highly interactive nature of the "flotation system9' of chemistry/ equipment/operating conditions could be quantified; and 4) the invention and development of really new and unique reagents for giving improved flotation performance. The goal #1 was achieved [Klimpel (1980b. 1984b), Meyer and Klimpel (1984)l by basically using a simple automated paddle device for consistent
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