Physicochemical Problems of Mineral Processing
Froth flotation of copper-zinc-lead ores is a complex process based on similar metallurgy processing and strong interactions between chalcopyrite and sphalerite. These types of ores represent 15% of the world production and 7.5% of copper deposits all over the world. In the present study, an attempt is made to assess the feasibility of froth flotation of a complex sulphide ore, where the effect of liberation grade as well as depressant, collector and frother dosage was studied. Copper flotation is dependent on the mineral liberation grade, which is significantly related with the size distribution. It was shown that longer grinding time increased the Cu grade but decreased the copper recovery due to the presence of very fine particles. Lime and sodium metabisulphite, used as depressants, allowed to achieve a good flotation performance. It was shown that for this type of ore lower dosage of the collector should be applied. Finally, a higher frother dosage led to a greater selectivity and reduced entrainment of very fine particles, but also caused low kinetic ratio and low recovery of valuable minerals. A well-defined flotation objective was imperative for a good liberation grade and reagents dosage selection, mainly for complex sulphide ores. A useful contribute was given to a better technical understanding of flotation of a complex sulphide ore from the Moinho deposit.
Year of publication: 2017