Ultrafine particle processing: a method for alunite beneficiation
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1987
Al unite has been used as raw material for producing alumina and potassium sulfate fertilizer in Russia for many years. In the United States, this mineral has not been commercially processed though reserves of 5 to 10 billion tons of alunite ore have been estimated. Major constituents of these ores are quartz and alunite. The minerals are finely intergrown and liberation occurs below 10 µm. Adequate separation techniques for such ultrafine particles have not been developed. A new method for the beneficiation of al unite ore is proposed in this study. This method utilizes a small amount of fine magnetite upon which the liberated quartz is selectively flocculated. The co-flocculated magnetite and quartz are then separated from the alunite in a high gradient magnetic separator. Clean products, e.g., an al unite concentrate of 90% grade with 80% recovery, has been obtained from Utah ore. Techniques for selective co-flocculation of magnetite and quartz, separation of the carried quartz, and recovery of magnetite after separation are discussed.