Treatment methods for difficult-to-float copper porphyry ores (Discussion) - Technical Papers, MINING ENGINEERING, Vol. 38, No. 9 September 1986, pp. 905-910

Malghan, S. G. ; Moyer, W. H.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 1
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
In reference to the section "Excess pyrite," the author discusses difficulties in separating chalcopyrite from pyrite. A technique does exist, and has been used commercially, for the flotation, separation, and recovery, if desired, of both chalcopyrite and pyrite. The method was described in Mining Engineering, March 1966, "An Improved Flotation Method for Cornwall Sulfides." While it was not used on a porphyry copper ore, it was used on a chalcopyrite- pyrite-containing ore and might well have application. Both sulfides, chalcopyrite and pyrite, were floated simultaneously using xanthate as a collector and MIBC frother to produce a cleaned sulfide product. This concentrate was then thickened and conditioned at high solids with aeration and lime to a pH above 12.0 for a period of 1.5 to 2 hr. A supplemental suppressant, such as cyanide, could be used if necessary to sharpen the subsequent separation; however, it was not required at Cornwall. The conditioned sulfides were floated with two stages of cleaning to produce a high- grade chalcopyrite froth product and a pyrite sink product barren in copper. The separation at Cornwall gave a 28.6% Cu grade chalcopyrite product and a pyrite analyzing 0.06% Cu. A desliming step on the raw ore initially used at Cornwall for a period of time was later discontinued. Advantages to be found in using a strong sulfide collector, such as a xanthate, is the rapid flotation it induces and, generally, an ability to float at a coarser grind. A following regrind circuit could be used to give maximum liberation and produce a clean sulfide concentration. The "differential" separation is concerned primarily with grade and with assuring a barren pyrite for maximum recovery.
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