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Minerals & Metallurgical Processing Journal  

Recycling process water in sulfide flotation, Part A: Effect of calcium and sulfate on sphalerite recovery

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing, 2012, Vol. 29, No. 4, pp. 183-191

Ikumapayi, F.; Makitalo, M.; Johansson, B.; Hanumantha Rao, K.


In order to predict and minimize detrimental production problems due to the recycling of process water in sulfide ore processing, the influence of major species, calcium and sulfate in process water on sphalerite flotation was investigated through Hallimond tube flotation, zeta potential, diffuse reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) measurements using sphalerite mineral sample. Assessment of process water species in flotation was done using deionized water, process water and simulated water containing calcium and sulfate ions in experiments. Hallimond flotation shows increased sphalerite floatability in process water compared to deionized water, but no significant effect on the presence of calcium and sulfate ions in deionized water using isobutyl xanthate as a collector. The presence of calcium ions reduced the sphalerite’s negative zeta potential, while at higher concentrations, a charge reversal occurred, at about pH 11. FTIR and XPS studies revealed the presence of surface-oxidized sulfoxy and carbonate species on sphalerite at pH 11.5 in deionized water, process water and water containing calcium and sulfate ions. These surface species do not influence xanthate adsorption. 

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