Flotation separation of copper sulphides from arsenic minerals at Rosebery copper concentrator

Long, Graham, Yongjun Peng and Bradshaw, Dee (2014) Flotation separation of copper sulphides from arsenic minerals at Rosebery copper concentrator. Minerals Engineering, 66 207-214. doi:10.1016/j.mineng.2014.04.003

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Author Long, Graham
Yongjun Peng
Bradshaw, Dee
Title Flotation separation of copper sulphides from arsenic minerals at Rosebery copper concentrator
Journal name Minerals Engineering   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0892-6875
Publication date 2014-04-30
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.mineng.2014.04.003
Open Access Status
Volume 66
Start page 207
End page 214
Total pages 8
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
• Arsenopyrite and tennantite are separately depressed in the rougher and cleaner circuits respectively.
• Regrinding Rosebery copper rougher concentrates maximises copper–arsenic selectivity.
• Economic assessments are needed to compare the drop in income with reduced penalties.

The removal of arsenic bearing minerals from concentrates is becoming more important as environmental laws become ever stricter with regard to smelter emissions. The onus is shifting to concentrate producers to remove these minerals from their product, with penalties applying to materials containing greater than background amounts.

The arsenic content of Rosebery copper flotation feed is mainly present as arsenopyrite (FeAsS), containing approximately 46.0% arsenic with the remainder of the arsenic in copper sulphosalts (tennantite (Cu12As4S13)), in a solid solution series with tetrahedrite (Cu12Sb4S13). Tennantite contains approximately 20.3% arsenic. Characterisation of the rougher and cleaner concentrates obtained during a plant survey showed that the arsenopyrite was appropriately rejected in the copper flotation circuit. However, tennantite showed similar flotation behaviour to the copper sulphide minerals so that the high arsenic content of the final copper concentrate was mainly in the copper sulphosalts. In this study, regrinding the copper rougher concentrate was investigated to reject tennantite in cleaner flotation. It was found that although finer grinding increased the mass fraction in the ultrafine fraction, the tennantite liberation only increased slightly. The copper selectivity against arsenic was improved significantly although the recovery of copper, silver and arsenic was lower. The difference in floatability of copper sulphide minerals and tennantite appears to increase at finer sizes. In this study, pH and Eh were also manipulated to further improve the selectivity of copper flotation against tennantite at fine particle sizes with some promise. In order to find an application in the Rosebery circuit, any changes must have a net economic benefit and the trade-offs and implications are discussed in this paper.
Keyword Froth flotation
Arsenic depression
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online 30 April 2014

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre Publications
School of Chemical Engineering Publications
Official 2015 Collection
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Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 4 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 13 May 2014, 13:45:43 EST by Karen Holtham on behalf of Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre