Perspectives from literature on the influence of inorganic electrolytes present in plant water on flotation performance
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Centre for Minerals Research, University of Cape Town
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Malibongwe Shadrach Manono   

Centre for Minerals Research, University of Cape Town, South Lane, Upper Campus, New Chemical Engineering Building, UCT, 7700 RONDEBOSCH, South Africa
Physicochem. Probl. Miner. Process. 2018;54(4):1191-1214
The interaction of inorganic electrolytes with reagents in the flotation of sulphidic PGM bearing ores is not well explored. It has been shown that specific inorganic electrolytes such as Ca2+ and SO42- can affect the wettability of gangue minerals. These could also hinder the adsorption of collectors onto valuable minerals and concurrently enhance or retard froth stability. This presents a challenge as regards understanding what the overarching or controlling mechanisms of interaction between electrolytes, reagents and minerals are as well as predicting how flotation performance will be affected. This review shows that studies in literature have simplified the question of electrolyte-reagent-mineral interactions and that current approaches have not provided fundamental solutions to the challenge of water quality. It is proposed that the complexity of the flotation system requires an in-depth knowledge of the individual electrolyte-reagent-mineral interactions so as to establish whether there are any dominant or synergistic interactions. Such in-depth knowledge should enable the development of pulp chemistry control measures against water quality variations in flotation.
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