Improving pentlandite selectivity over pyrrhotite using reagents

Mbonambi, M., Becker, M., Franzidis, J-P., Bryson, M. and Bradshaw, Dee J. (2010). Improving pentlandite selectivity over pyrrhotite using reagents. In: XXV International Mineral Processing Congress - IMPC 2010 'Smarter processing for the future. International Mineral Processing Congress 2010, Brisbane, Qld, Australia, (2169-2176). 6-10 September, 2010.

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Author Mbonambi, M.
Becker, M.
Franzidis, J-P.
Bryson, M.
Bradshaw, Dee J.
Title of paper Improving pentlandite selectivity over pyrrhotite using reagents
Conference name International Mineral Processing Congress 2010
Conference location Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Conference dates 6-10 September, 2010
Convener Ralph J. Holmes
Proceedings title XXV International Mineral Processing Congress - IMPC 2010 'Smarter processing for the future
Journal name XXV International Mineral Processing Congress 2010, IMPC 2010
Place of Publication Carlton, VIC, Australia
Publisher Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Publication Year 2010
Year available 2010
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 9781921522284
Volume 3
Start page 2169
End page 2176
Total pages 8
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Abstract/Summary The Sheba’s Ridge ore, hosted by the Bushveld Igneous Complex (BIC) in South Africa is exploited for its platinum group elements (PGEs), which are typically associated with the base metal sulfi des pentlandite, pyrrhotite and chalcopyrite. Unusually, in the case of the Sheba’s Ridge ore, pyrrhotite shows little or no association with PGEs. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop a methodology for the selective fl otation of pentlandite from pyrrhotite using the polysaccharide depressants that are already in use in the fl otation of BIC ores to control the naturally fl oating gangue minerals such as talc. Microfl otation tests were conducted on a high grade Nkomati massive sulfi de ore sample as a probe ore, to investigate the fl otation response of pentlandite and pyrrhotite to four different chain length xanthate collectors (SEX, SNPX, SIBX and PAX) and to different types of polysaccharide depressants (guar, CMC and starch). The effect of oxygen addition and pH modifi cation were also studied. Laboratory batch fl otation tests were then carried out using the Sheba’s Ridge ore, to evaluate the optimum reagent suite and fl otation conditions determined in the microfl otation tests. The results showed that using the different chain length xanthates or polysaccharide depressants on their own did not produce any pentlandite selectivity, but, when these reagents were used in conjunction with one another, some pentlandite selectivity was obtained. The best combination was found to be an intermediate chain length xanthate (SNPX) with guar depressant, where a balance between collector hydrophobicity and selectivity was obtained. Adjustment of the pH to 10, using lime instead of NaOH, together with artifi cial pre-oxidation showed further improvement in the selective fl otation of pentlandite. This was attributed to the faster oxidation rate of pyrrhotite at these conditions, which led to selective depression of pyrrhotite while pentlandite fl oatability was maintained. These results show that there needs to be a synergistic interpretation of the interactions present in the reagent-mineral system. The study has also shown that the reagents used in fl otation cannot be evaluated independently but rather a holistic approach needs to be employed.
Keyword Pentlandite
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Mon, 13 Dec 2010, 08:55:41 EST by Karen Holtham on behalf of Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre