Recent trends in the Gecamines copper-cobalt flotation plants

Shungu, T. ; Ferron, C. J. ; Vermaut, N.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
The various copper-cobalt ores mined by Gecamines, together with typical plant applications and results, are briefly described. Intensive laboratory investigations have been undertaken in recent years to improve the metallurgical performances of the various concentrators. As a result of these tests, it was shown that the flotation of the siliceous oxide ores could be improved by increasing the efficiency of the palm oil collector (energetic conditioning, chemical emulsifier, petroleum sulfonate addition) and by varying the froth depth in the cells. A new flowsheet incorporating these modifications and a regrinding stage has been approved for the rehabilitation of the Kolwezi concentrator. For what affects dolomitic oxide ores, hydroxamates were tested as secondary collectors and, based on successful laboratory results, plant trials were run but failed due to excessive frothing. In other plant tests, xanthates were replaced by a xanthate- fatty acid mixture; plant trials over more than one year proved successful for copper, but not for cobalt. Mercaptans were tested as secondary collectors for the sulfides flotation from sulfide or mixed oxide-sulfide ores; laboratory results proved successful but, to date, no plant test has been run.
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