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Froth Flotation​ and ​Surface Chemistry (1 reply)

Marshal Meru
10 months ago
Marshal Meru 10 months ago

Surface Analysis versus Mineral Chemistry Fundamentals. Systematic flotation fundamentals anyone? We have learned, 'on-the-job', some basic flotation lingo as process mineralogists, but is there some basic stuff we're missing? We know of relative flotation of species and that Fe substituting for Ni in pentlandite and for Zn in sphalerite results in slower kinetics, but surface analysis would suggest this results in a coating effect. Is this really true or is there something else at play here? Are there any studies that have taken a look at this and would it be worthwhile? We know too, that violarite floats poorly: Is this really a coating effect (as supergene replacement would infer) or is it related to Sulphur coordination as a thio-spinel? I'm sure there's some interesting stuff to learn here or am I wrong? A sub-question might be: Absent non-liberation, is surface analysis the answer to all low recovery performance?

Ace Levy
10 months ago
Ace Levy 10 months ago

Is the "Fe on the surface" of pentlandite and sphalerite comes from Ni/S or Zn/S depletion of this surface, from the Fe content of the mineral, or from precipitation of Fe ions arising from the galvanic corrosion of the grinding media/shell?

The poor flotation response of violarite is likely a combination of factors - coatings by slimes of silicate minerals, its crystal structure (and surface projection of the metal/sulphur atoms). Which one could be the primary one for a given ore deposit would still be difficult to determine.

Surface chemistry is one of the most difficult tool to apply conclusively to the solution of flotation challenges - too often a "likely cause" is picked without proper confirmation of the hypothesis (ses). Would it be appropriate to make an analogy between the mineral surface as the "event horizon" of a black hole?

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