Selective flotation separation of chalcopyrite and sphalerite by thermal pretreatment under air atmosphere
Hepeng Zhou 1, 2  
,   Liang Geng 1,   Yongbing Zhang 1,   Zhizhao Yang 1,   Kunzhong He 1,   Fanxin Xie 1
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Jiangxi University of Science and Technology
School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, China University of Mining and Technology
Hepeng Zhou   

Jiangxi University of Science and Technology
Publication date: 2020-12-15
Physicochem. Probl. Miner. Process. 2021;57(1):305–314
Thermal pretreatment was performed to enhance the flotation separation of chalcopyrite and sphalerite under the air atmosphere for the first time. Microflotation experiment showed that the floatability of chalcopyrite vanished after thermal pretreatment at above 170℃. By contrast, the floatability of sphalerite was well maintained with a flotation recovery of 90%. In artificial mixed mineral flotation experiments, the separation of sphalerite and chalcopyrite was successfully realized by thermal pretreatment. Results of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analyses indicated that the chalcopyrite surface was oxidized dramatically at 170℃, and hydrophilic species such as sulfate (SO42-), oxides (CuO and Fe2O3), and hydroxyl species (Fe(OH)3) were formed on the surface. Hence, the adsorption of potassium butyl xanthate on chalcopyrite decreased significantly after thermal pretreatment. The reason for the higher oxidation speed of chalcopyrite than that of sphalerite was also analyzed.