Selectivity and power of frothers in copper ore flotation
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Wroclaw University of Science and Technology
Publication date: 2017-06-08
Corresponding author
Przemyslaw B. Kowalczuk   

Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Geoengineering, Mining and Geology, Wybrzeze Wyspianskiego 27, 50-370 Wroclaw, Poland
Physicochem. Probl. Miner. Process. 2017;53(1):515-523
Froth flotation is widely used for upgrading of ores and other materials. Efficiency of flotation depends on many parameters, including type, chemical structure and dose of flotation reagents. Selection of a proper frother in flotation depends on the material used, necessary dose of frother and its selectivity. The selectivity of flotation can be characterized by proper separation factors and indices. In this paper separation selectivity and power of frothers were evaluated basing on separation data for a given material and frother, plotted as the recovery of the useful component in the concentrate versus the recovery of the remaining components in the tailing. Such a plot is called the Fuerstenau upgrading curve. The selectivity was defined as the location of the whole upgrading curve in relation to no and ideal separation lines, expressed on the scale from 50 (no separation) to 100% (ideal separation). In turn, the flotation power was defined as the dose of frother to reach a certain upgrading level at which recoveries of the useful component in the concentrate and unwanted components in the tailing are equal. The power and selectivity of frothers were determined for the Kupferschiefer stratiform copper ore floated in the presence of a fixed amount of xanthate and varying doses of frothers using a laboratory flotation machine. Basing on the separation results for different poly(propylene glycol) and poly(ethylene glycol) alkyl ethers, it was found that the concentrate yield and recovery of copper as the useful component in the concentrate were greatly influenced by the type and dose of frother. However, the same results plotted in the form of the Fuerstenau upgrading curve clearly indicated that the selectivity of frothers was similar, while their power was not always the same. It proves that both selectivity and power of frothers are useful parameters for characterizing flotation systems.
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