Recycling Process Water in Complex Sulphide Ore Flotation

Abstract

An approach to environmental sustainability and improved process economy, in sulphide minerals production is recycling of process water in flotation of complex sulphide ores, although the chemistry of process water may be a critical issue to flotation efficiency. The influence of major components of calcium and sulphate ions in process water on xanthate collector adsorption and flotation response using pure chalcopyrite, galena and sphalerite minerals were investigated by Hallimond flotation, zetapotential measurement, FTIR and XPS spectroscopy studies, while bench scale flotation tests were also carried out using complex sulphide ores. The impact of the species in flotation was comprehended using deionised water, tap water, process water and simulated water containing equivalent amount of calcium and sulphate species in process water. Hallimond flotation results showed a decrease of chalcopyrite and galena recovery in process water and also in the presence of calcium and sulphate ions in both deionised and process waters, whereas sphalerite does not respond to flotation. The adsorption of calcium and metal ions but not sulphate ions on the minerals is evidenced by zeta-potential data. FTIR and XPS studies revealed the presence of surface oxidized sulfoxy species and surface calcium carbonates on chalcopyrite in the presence of process water and water containing calcium ions, surface oxidized sulfoxy and carbonate species on galena in the presence of deionised water, process water and water containing calcium and sulphate ions, all at flotation pH 10.5, and these surface species influenced xanthate adsorption. The presence of surface oxidized sulfoxy and carbonate species at the sphalerite flotation pH 11.5 were seen in the presence of deionised water, process water and water containing calcium and sulphate ions, but the surface species does not influence xanthate adsorption. Bench scale flotation using two different complex sulphide ores showed that chalcopyrite, galena and sphalerite recoveries are better in process water than tap water. The studies showed that the process water can be recycled in flotation with no detrimental effect on grade and recovery of sulphide minerals.

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Ikumapayi2012RecyclingPW, title={Recycling Process Water in Complex Sulphide Ore Flotation}, author={F K Ikumapayi and Markku Makitalo and B{\"{o}rje Johansson and K HanumanthaRao}, year={2012} }