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Minerals & Metallurgical Processing Journal  

Pellet feed production via the concentration of flotation tailings

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing, 2010, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 124-128

Vieira, M.G.; Peres, A.E.C.


This investigation addressed the possibility of producing pellet feed at a silica content of ≤ 1.0% using a representative sample of Samarco´s mechanical flotation tailings. This sample contained 11.0% Fe and presented an F80 = 116 µm and a d50 = 63 µm. The higher silica content was verified in the coarser fractions and the higher iron content in the fraction -37 µm. Specular hematite is the most abundant mineralogical phase in the fraction -37 µm. The technological tests used one of four methods: magnetic concentration using a wet high-intensity magnetic separator, magnetic concentration using a SLon high-gradient magnetic separator, reverse flotation or direct flotation. The methods using the magnetic concentrator SLon, reverse flotation and direct flotation did not present results meeting the target of the study: iron content in the concentrate (rougher stage) greater than 34% or iron recovery greater than 80%. Cleaner stages were not achievable with the resulting concentrates. In contrast, the most successful method consisted of using wet high-intensity magnetic separators (WHIMS) as a rougher stage and reverse flotation as a cleaner stage. Using this route, it was possible to produce a pellet feed with a silica grade of 1.0% and high specular hematite content. 

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