Optimization of flotation conditions in the beneficiation of PGMs tailings
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Tshwane University of Technology
Publication date: 2023-12-16
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Daphney Hlotse   

Tshwane University of Technology
Physicochem. Probl. Miner. Process. 2023;59(6):176859
For several years, mining waste has shown a negative impact on both the environment and human health. The mining industry remains the backbone of the economic growth. Different technologies have been implemented to beneficiate and recover platinum group metals from tailings. The recycling of tailings has been a point of research interest due to their extensive applications. Flotation has been the primary process of upgrading and recovering PGMs. The focus of this study was to optimize flotation conditions in the beneficiation of PGMs for particular small-scale mine tailings. This was done to obtain the most favourable conditions for the small-scale mine tailings to improve operating conditions of specific particle sizes. PGMs tailings obtained from a small-scale mine were characterized using XRD, XRF, SEM/EDS, and ICP – OES to understand the properties of the tailings prior to mineral processing. Flotation batch tests were conducted. The results showed that the chosen particle size was 75 µm, and the favorable reagent dosages were 150 g/Mg and 100 g/Mg for SIBX (collector) and Starch(depressant), respectively. At favourable conditions, the recovery was 65.75% (Pt = 70.38%, Pd = 59.33%, Ru = 34.56%), and the grade was 31.46 g/Mg (Pt = 21.43 g/Mg, Pd = 9.62 g/Mg, Ru = 0.41 g/Mg). It can be concluded that all the flotation parameters are related; lower particle sizes yield high recoveries and better grades due to the exposure of the particle surface to the reagents responsible for the flotation of the PGMs. It was observed that the high collector dosages produce high recoveries with low grades of PGMs. High depressant dosages produce low recoveries with high grades of PGMs. The relationship between the collector and the depressant is of essential importance in the flotation process.
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