Evaluation of collectors for molybdenite flotation

Malhotra, D. ; Bhasin, A. k. ; Rowe, R. M.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 3
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
Introduction Most primary molybdenite producers use a selective flotation process in which molybdenite is floated from the ore while other sulfide and nonsulfide gangue minerals are depressed in the same step. The process was developed at the Climax mill. Reagents used in the rougher flotation stage include vapor oil (collector), syntex (surfactant), pine oil (frother), and occasionally sodium cyanide and Nokes reagent (depressant). Rougher concentrate is upgraded by cleaner flotation to produce market-grade molybdenite concentrates. Reagents used in the cleaner flotation stage are Dowfroth 250, vapor oil, sodium cyanide, and Nokes reagent. The development of the flotation reagent scheme at Climax and the role of the reagents have been well described by Born et al. (1976) and Malhotra et al. (1976, 1977a, 1977b, 1977c, 1980). The hydrocarbon collector, vapor oil, accounts for approximately 50% of the total molybdenite flotation reagent cost. Because vapor oil sources are limited, and the cost of vapor oil has increased significantly over the last decade, several studies have been done to evaluate alternate oil-based collectors and/or blends of collectors that would produce similar metallurgical results at a reduced cost, or increase the overall molybdenite recovery at the same cost (Smit and Bhasin, 1983; Hahn, 1969; Smith and Bhappu, 1971). The approach taken in the present study was to evaluate alternate nonoil-based collectors and collector systems that are less expensive than vapor oil. A series of potential nonoil-based collector classes were identified and evaluated in the laboratory against the current collector system. The metallurgical performance of these collector classes was related to their chemical structures. The results of this study are discussed. Collector classes A survey of sulfide mineral collectors was performed with the objective of identifying and selecting potential collectors for molybdenite flotation. The available reagents were categorized into 10 general classes. Table 1 summarizes these collector classes, their chemical formulas, the manufacturers, and selected commercial collectors in each class that were evaluated in the present study. Experimental procedure A Climax ore sample, assaying 0.3% MoS2, 2.2% FeS2, 0.007% Cu, 0.003% Pb, and 0.03 oz per ton Ag, was used for this study. Standard laboratory rougher flotation test procedure involved grinding a 2-kg ore charge in a rod mill at 60% solids. Reagents were added to the rod mill including a collector, syntex (0.005 kg/t), pine oil (0.03 kg/t), lime (to adjust pH to 8), and sodium silicate (0.15 kg/t). The ground pulp was transferred to a 1000-g cell, and flotation was performed at 35% solids and 1800 rpm using a Denver D-1 flotation machine. Concentrate was collected for a flotation time of six minutes. The general approach used in the present study was to substitute the nonoil-based collectors at two to three different dosage levels (0.01 to 0.15 kg/t) for vapor oil in the bench-scale, open-circuit rougher flotation tests
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