Open AccessArticle
Fault Reactivation Can Generate Hydraulic Short Circuits in Underground Coal Gasification—New Insights from Regional-Scale Thermo-Mechanical 3D Modeling
Minerals 2016, 6(4), 101; doi:10.3390/min6040101 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Underground coal gasification (UCG) has the potential to increase worldwide coal reserves by utilization of coal deposits not mineable by conventional methods. This involves combusting coal in situ to produce a synthesis gas, applicable for electricity generation and chemical feedstock production. Three-dimensional [...] Read more.
Underground coal gasification (UCG) has the potential to increase worldwide coal reserves by utilization of coal deposits not mineable by conventional methods. This involves combusting coal in situ to produce a synthesis gas, applicable for electricity generation and chemical feedstock production. Three-dimensional (3D) thermo-mechanical models already significantly contribute to UCG design by process optimization and mitigation of the environmental footprint. We developed the first 3D UCG model based on real structural geological data to investigate the impacts of using isothermal and non-isothermal simulations, two different pillar widths and four varying regional stress regimes on the spatial changes in temperature and permeability, ground surface subsidence and fault reactivation. Our simulation results demonstrate that non-isothermal processes have to be considered in these assessments due to thermally-induced stresses. Furthermore, we demonstrate that permeability increase is limited to the close reactor vicinity, although the presence of previously undetected faults can introduce formation of hydraulic short circuits between single UCG channels over large distances. This requires particular consideration of potentially present sub-seismic faults in the exploration and site selection stages, since the required pillar widths may be easily underestimated in presence of faults with different orientations with respect to the regional stress regime. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Extracellular Polymeric Substances on Surface Properties and Attachment Behavior of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans
Minerals 2016, 6(4), 100; doi:10.3390/min6040100 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Bacterial contact leaching of ores is more effective than non-contact leaching. Adhesion is the first step for leaching bacteria to form a biofilm on a mineral surface. Extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) are pivotal for mediating bacterial adhesion to a substratum. In order [...] Read more.
Bacterial contact leaching of ores is more effective than non-contact leaching. Adhesion is the first step for leaching bacteria to form a biofilm on a mineral surface. Extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) are pivotal for mediating bacterial adhesion to a substratum. In order to clarify the role of EPS, we measured the adhesion forces between chalcopyrite-, sulfur- or FeSO4·7H2O-grown cells of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans and chalcopyrite by an atomic force microscope (AFM) before and after EPS removal. Surface properties of these cells were assessed by measurements of the contact angle, zeta potential, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and acid-base titration. Bacterial attachment to chalcopyrite was monitored for 140 min. The results indicate that the EPS control the surface properties of the cells. In addition, the surface properties are decisive for adhesion. The adhesion forces and the amounts of attached cells decreased dramatically after removing EPS, which was not dependent on the preculture. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Microwave-Absorbing Characteristics and XRD Characterization of Magnetic Separation Products of Reductive Products of Ilmenite Concentrate
Minerals 2016, 6(4), 99; doi:10.3390/min6040099 -
Abstract
The microwave absorbing characteristics of magnetic separation products (magnetic and non-magnetic) of reductive products of ilmenite concentrate were measured by the method of microwave cavity perturbation and the magnetic separation products were characterized by X-Ray Diffraction (XRD). It was demonstrated that metallic [...] Read more.
The microwave absorbing characteristics of magnetic separation products (magnetic and non-magnetic) of reductive products of ilmenite concentrate were measured by the method of microwave cavity perturbation and the magnetic separation products were characterized by X-Ray Diffraction (XRD). It was demonstrated that metallic iron was a strong microwave absorbing material, while TiO2 was a weak microwave absorbing material. The decrease of a strong microwave absorbing material and an increase of weak microwave absorbing material resulted in the great decrease of microwave absorbing characteristics of magnetic products by using a current intensity from 2.5 to 3.0 A. FeTi2O5 was a strong microwave absorbing material, the increasing content would lead to the significant increase of the microwave absorbing characteristics of non-magnetic products by using a current intensity from 2.0 to 4.0 A. The conclusions could help us to optimize the ilmenite concentrate processing by microwaves and microwave cavity design. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Study of the Extraction Kinetics of Lithium by Leaching β-Spodumene with Hydrofluoric Acid
Minerals 2016, 6(4), 98; doi:10.3390/min6040098 -
Abstract
Parameters affecting the kinetics of the dissolution of β-spodumene with hydrofluoric acid have been investigated. The experimental tests were carried out in a closed vessel. The influence of several parameters, such as stirring speed, temperature, and reaction time were studied in order [...] Read more.
Parameters affecting the kinetics of the dissolution of β-spodumene with hydrofluoric acid have been investigated. The experimental tests were carried out in a closed vessel. The influence of several parameters, such as stirring speed, temperature, and reaction time were studied in order to deduce the kinetics of the dissolution reaction. The other parameters, particle size −45 μm; HF concentration 4% v/v, and the solid–liquid ratio 0.95% w/v were kept constant. The results indicate that the stirring speed does not have an important effect on the dissolution of the mineral above 330 rpm. The extent of the leaching of β-spodumene increases with temperature and reaction time augmentations. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) analyses of some residues in which the conversion was lower than 30% indicated a selective attack on certain zones of the particle. The treatment of the experimental data was carried out using the Modelado software. The model that best represents the dissolution of the mineral is the following: ln(1 − X) = −b1 [ln(1 + b2t) − b2t/(1 + b2t)]. This model is based on “nucleation and growth of nuclei” theory, and describes the style of attack physically observed by SEM on the residues. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
China’s Rare Earths Supply Forecast in 2025: A Dynamic Computable General Equilibrium Analysis
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 95; doi:10.3390/min6030095 -
Abstract
The supply of rare earths in China has been the focus of significant attention in recent years. Due to changes in regulatory policies and the development of strategic emerging industries, it is critical to investigate the scenario of rare earth supplies in [...] Read more.
The supply of rare earths in China has been the focus of significant attention in recent years. Due to changes in regulatory policies and the development of strategic emerging industries, it is critical to investigate the scenario of rare earth supplies in 2025. To address this question, this paper constructed a dynamic computable equilibrium (DCGE) model to forecast the production, domestic supply, and export of China’s rare earths in 2025. Based on our analysis, production will increase by 10.8%–12.6% and achieve 116,335–118,260 tons of rare-earth oxide (REO) in 2025, based on recent extraction control during 2011–2016. Moreover, domestic supply and export will be 75,081–76,800 tons REO and 38,797–39,400 tons REO, respectively. The technological improvements on substitution and recycling will significantly decrease the supply and mining activities of rare earths. From a policy perspective, we found that the elimination of export regulations, including export quotas and export taxes, does have a negative impact on China’s future domestic supply of rare earths. The policy conflicts between the increase in investment in strategic emerging industries, and the increase in resource and environmental taxes on rare earths will also affect China’s rare earths supply in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis of Novel Ether Thionocarbamates and Study on Their Flotation Performance for Chalcopyrite
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 97; doi:10.3390/min6030097 -
Abstract
Novel ether thionocarbamates, O-butoxy isopropyl-N-ethoxycarbonyl thionocarbamate (BIPECTC) and O-(2-butoxy-1-methylethoxy) isopropyl-N-ethoxycarbonyl thionocarbamate (BMIPECTC), were synthesized in this study. Their collecting efficiencies in the flotation of chalcopyrite were investigated using flotation tests, adsorption measurements, ultraviolet spectra (UV) and Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and density [...] Read more.
Novel ether thionocarbamates, O-butoxy isopropyl-N-ethoxycarbonyl thionocarbamate (BIPECTC) and O-(2-butoxy-1-methylethoxy) isopropyl-N-ethoxycarbonyl thionocarbamate (BMIPECTC), were synthesized in this study. Their collecting efficiencies in the flotation of chalcopyrite were investigated using flotation tests, adsorption measurements, ultraviolet spectra (UV) and Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The synthesized ether thionocarbamates showed better frothing properties than methyl-isobutyl-carbinol (MIBC) and stronger affinity to chalcopyrite compared with O-isopropyl-N-ethyl thionocarbamate (IPETC) and O-isobutyl-N-ethoxycarbonyl thionocarbamate (IBECTC). UV spectra analysis showed that the ether thionocarbamates react with Cu2+, with the exception of Fe2+, Ni2+, Zn2+ and Pb2+. Additionally, it was further confirmed by FTIR spectra that a chemical reaction occurs between copper ion and BIPECTC and BMIPECTC. The adsorption capacity measurements revealed that chalcopyrite exhibits good adsorption ability for ether thionocarbamates at an approximate pH of 8–10, which agrees with the flotation tests. The quantum chemistry calculation results indicated that the ether thionocarbamates exhibit stronger collecting ability for copper mineral in terms of frontier molecular orbital analysis, binding model simulation with copper ions and the molecular hydrophobicity compared with IPETC and IBECTC. The computational results are in very good agreement with the experimental results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pb-Isotopic Study of Galena by LA-Q-ICP-MS: Testing a New Methodology with Applications to Base-Metal Sulphide Deposits
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 96; doi:10.3390/min6030096 -
Abstract
In situ laser ablation quadrupole inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry was used to measure Pb isotopes in galena. Data acquisition was optimized by adjusting spot size, energy density, and ablation time to obtain near steady-state low relative standard deviation (%RSD) signals. Standard-sample [...] Read more.
In situ laser ablation quadrupole inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry was used to measure Pb isotopes in galena. Data acquisition was optimized by adjusting spot size, energy density, and ablation time to obtain near steady-state low relative standard deviation (%RSD) signals. Standard-sample bracketing using in-house Broken Hill galena as external reference standard was used and offline data reduction was carried out using VizualAge for Iolite3. Using this methodology, galena grain in polished thin sections from selected massive sulphide deposits of the Bathurst Mining Camp, Canada, were tested and compared to previously published data. Absolute values and errors on the weighted mean of ~20 individual analyses from each sample compared favourably with whole-rock Pb-Pb isotope data. This approach provides a mean to obtain rapid, accurate, and moderately (0.1% 2σ) precise Pb isotope measurements in galena and is particularly well suited for exploratory or reconnaissance studies. Further refinement of this approach may be useful in exploration for volcanogenic massive sulphides deposits and might be a useful vectoring tool when complemented with other conventional exploration techniques. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of Platinum-Group Minerals (PGM) from Othrys Chromitites (Greece) Using Superpanning Concentrates
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 94; doi:10.3390/min6030094 -
Abstract
Platinum-group minerals were concentrated using superpanning from two composite chromitite samples, which were collected from two old mines within the Othrys ophiolite. This method allows for the recovery of a broad spectrum of these rare and fine-grained minerals, and helps to better [...] Read more.
Platinum-group minerals were concentrated using superpanning from two composite chromitite samples, which were collected from two old mines within the Othrys ophiolite. This method allows for the recovery of a broad spectrum of these rare and fine-grained minerals, and helps to better identify them and interpret their origin. Major differences between the east and west Othrys ophiolites were determined, probably as a result of their different origin and evolution. Primary Os-, Ir-, and Ru-bearing platinum-group minerals (IPGM)-alloys and the Rh-, Pt- and Pd-bearing platinum-group minerals (PPGM) occur only in the east Othrys chromitite, indicating an evolution from initially low fS2 conditions at shallower mantle levels with the subsequent implication of a S-saturated ascending fluid. In contrast, the absence of primary IPGM-alloys in west Othrys chromitite indicates that S saturation had been attained. The presence of erlichmanite suggests that sulphur fugacity eventually increased significantly in both suites. Substantial fluctuations of a fluid phase, likely related to serpentinising fluids, modified the platinum-group minerals (PGM) assemblage of west Othrys, and resulted in a large diversity of secondary PGM minerals. The limited number of secondary species developed in the east Othrys indicate that secondary processes were also different in the two suites. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Ca2+ and Mg2+ on the Dispersion and Flocculation Behaviors of Muscovite Particles
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 93; doi:10.3390/min6030093 -
Abstract
The dispersion and flocculation behavior of muscovite suspensions in the presence of Ca2+ and Mg2+ are relevant for industrial processing of pre-concentrated muscovite from stone coal, a primary source of vanadium. In this study, the dispersion and flocculation behavior were [...] Read more.
The dispersion and flocculation behavior of muscovite suspensions in the presence of Ca2+ and Mg2+ are relevant for industrial processing of pre-concentrated muscovite from stone coal, a primary source of vanadium. In this study, the dispersion and flocculation behavior were investigated by means of sedimentation, zeta potential, and ion absorption experiments, as well as the force between particles and ion speciation calculations. The results indicated that the dispersion and flocculation behavior of muscovite particles without excess ions were in qualitative agreement with the classical DLVO theory. The muscovite particles aggregated mainly due to basal surface-edge interactions in acidic suspensions but were dispersed in alkaline suspension by electrostatic repulsion of the total particle surface. In acidic suspensions, the ability of muscovite to form dispersions of muscovite was increased with the decrease in the electrostatic attraction between the basal surface and the edge caused by the compression of the electric double layers withCa2+ and Mg2+. In alkaline suspension, the main adsorption form of Ca2+ and Mg2+ on muscovite surface was the ion-hydroxy complexes. The flocculation behavior of muscovite was affected by the static bridge effect of the ion-hydroxy complexes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Chloride Ions on the Activity of Cerussite Surfaces
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 92; doi:10.3390/min6030092 -
Abstract
Chloride ions were found to potentially increase activity of cerussite surfaces. Dissolution experiments, zeta potential measurements, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) studies, and density functional theory (DFT) computation were conducted in this study. Dissolution experiments showed that the lead ion concentrations in the [...] Read more.
Chloride ions were found to potentially increase activity of cerussite surfaces. Dissolution experiments, zeta potential measurements, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) studies, and density functional theory (DFT) computation were conducted in this study. Dissolution experiments showed that the lead ion concentrations in the NaCl solution system were lower than those in the deionized water system and that the lead ion concentrations in NaCl + Na2S aqueous systems decreased by approximately one order of magnitude compared with that in the Na2S system alone. Results of zeta potential measurements revealed that the pretreatment with chloride ions of cerussite caused a more positive zeta potential than that without chloride ions. XPS analysis results indicated that the number of lead ions on the mineral surface increased after cerussite was treated with chloride ions. Results of DFT computation implied that the number of lead atoms on the mineral surface increased and that the activity improved after PbCl+ was adsorbed onto the cerussite surface. The contribution of chloride ions to the activity on the mineral surface is attributed to the increase in the number of active sites and enhancement in the activity of these sites, resulting in improved sulfidization and flotation performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Cedrolina Chromitite, Goiás State, Brazil: A Metamorphic Puzzle
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 91; doi:10.3390/min6030091 -
Abstract
The Cedrolina chromitite body (Goiás-Brazil) is concordantly emplaced within talc-chlorite schists that correspond to the poly-metamorphic product of ultramafic rocks inserted in the Pilar de Goiás Greenstone Belt (Central Brazil). The chromite ore displays a nodular structure consisting of rounded and ellipsoidal [...] Read more.
The Cedrolina chromitite body (Goiás-Brazil) is concordantly emplaced within talc-chlorite schists that correspond to the poly-metamorphic product of ultramafic rocks inserted in the Pilar de Goiás Greenstone Belt (Central Brazil). The chromite ore displays a nodular structure consisting of rounded and ellipsoidal orbs (up to 1.5 cm in size), often strongly deformed and fractured, immersed in a matrix of silicates (mainly chlorite and talc). Chromite is characterized by high Cr# (0.80–0.86), high Fe2+# (0.70–0.94), and low TiO2 (av. = 0.18 wt %) consistent with variation trends of spinels from metamorphic rocks. The chromitite contains a large suite of accessory phases, but only irarsite and laurite are believed to be relicts of the original igneous assemblage, whereas most accessory minerals are thought to be related to hydrothermal fluids that emanated from a nearby felsic intrusion, metamorphism and weathering. Rutile is one of the most abundant accessory minerals described, showing an unusually high Cr2O3 content (up to 39,200 ppm of Cr) and commonly forming large anhedral grains (>100 µm) that fill fractures (within chromite nodules and in the matrix) or contain micro-inclusions of chromite. Using a trace element geothermometer, the rutile crystallization temperature is estimated at 550–600 °C (at 0.4–0.6 GPa), which is in agreement with P and T conditions proposed for the regional greenschist to low amphibolite facies metamorphic peak of the area. Textural, morphological, and compositional evidence confirm that rutile did not crystallize at high temperatures simultaneously with the host chromitite, but as a secondary metamorphic mineral. Rutile may have been formed as a metamorphic overgrowth product following deformation and regional metamorphic events, filling fractures and incorporating chromite fragments. High Cr contents in rutile very likely are due to Cr remobilization from Cr-spinel during metamorphism and suggest that Ti was remobilized to form rutile. This would imply that the magmatic composition of chromite had originally higher Ti content, pointing to a stratiform origin. Another possible interpretation is that the Ti-enrichment was caused by external metasomatic fluids which lead to crystallization of rutile. If this was the case, the Cedrolina chromitites could be classified as podiform, possibly representing a sliver of tectonically dismembered Paleoproterozoic upper mantle. However, the strong metamorphic overprint that affected the studied chromitites makes it extremely difficult to establish which of the above processes were active, if not both (and to what extent), and, therefore, the chromitite’s original geodynamic setting. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Flotation of Kyanite and Sillimanite with Sodium Oleate as the Collector
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 90; doi:10.3390/min6030090 -
Abstract
Kyanite and sillimanite are two polymorphic minerals with the same formula of Al2SiO5, but different crystal structures. Despite their high economic values, selectively recovering them by flotation is a challenge. In this study, the flotation behaviors of the [...] Read more.
Kyanite and sillimanite are two polymorphic minerals with the same formula of Al2SiO5, but different crystal structures. Despite their high economic values, selectively recovering them by flotation is a challenge. In this study, the flotation behaviors of the two minerals with sodium oleate as the collector were examined at different pH conditions. Zeta potential measurement, infrared spectroscopic measurement, chemical speciation and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurement were conducted to identify the underpinning mechanisms. It is found that the flotation behavior of both minerals is different under the same flotation condition. The flotation recovery of sillimanite is much higher than that of kyanite in the presence of the collector sodium oleate. Sodium oleate adsorbs onto the surfaces of kyanite and sillimanite mainly through the chemical interaction of the ionic–molecular dimers with aluminum atoms at pH 8.0. The higher sillimanite flotation recovery between the two minerals is related to the higher electrostatic charge densities of the aluminum atoms in six-fold coordination, which leads to the higher collector adsorption. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Impurity Monovalent Cations Adsorption on Reconstructed Chalcopyrite (001)-S Surface in Leaching Process
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 89; doi:10.3390/min6030089 -
Abstract
Hydrometallurgical processing of chalcopyrite is hindered predominantly due to the passivation layers formed on the chalcopyrite surface. However, the effects of impurity cations released from the gangue are not yet well understood. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations were carried out to investigate [...] Read more.
Hydrometallurgical processing of chalcopyrite is hindered predominantly due to the passivation layers formed on the chalcopyrite surface. However, the effects of impurity cations released from the gangue are not yet well understood. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations were carried out to investigate monovalent cations of Na+ and K+ on chalcopyrite (001)-S surface using Materials Studio. The results show that the 3d orbital of Fe and 3p orbital of S predominantly contribute to their activities during chalcopyrite oxidation and dissolution processes. In addition, SO42− is more likely to be adsorbed on one Fe site in the presence of Na+, while it is preferentially adsorbed on two Fe sites in the presence of K+. However, the adsorption of both Na2SO4 and K2SO4 on the chalcopyrite (001)-S surface contributes to the breakage of S–S bonds, indicating that the impurity cations of Na+ and K+ are beneficial to chalcopyrite leaching in a sulfuric environment. The adsorption energy and partial density of states (PDOS) analyses further indicate that the adsorption of Na2SO4 on chalcopyrite (001)-S surface is favored in both -BB (bidentate binuclear ) and -BM (bidentate mononuclear) modes, compared to the adsorption of K2SO4. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Marine Phosphorites as Potential Resources for Heavy Rare Earth Elements and Yttrium
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 88; doi:10.3390/min6030088 -
Abstract
Marine phosphorites are known to concentrate rare earth elements and yttrium (REY) during early diagenetic formation. Much of the REY data available are decades old and incomplete, and there has not been a systematic study of REY distributions in marine phosphorite deposits [...] Read more.
Marine phosphorites are known to concentrate rare earth elements and yttrium (REY) during early diagenetic formation. Much of the REY data available are decades old and incomplete, and there has not been a systematic study of REY distributions in marine phosphorite deposits that formed over a range of oceanic environments. Consequently, we initiated this study to determine if marine phosphorite deposits found in the global ocean host REY concentrations of high enough grade to be of economic interest. This paper addresses continental-margin (CM) and open-ocean seamount phosphorites. All 75 samples analyzed are composed predominantly of carbonate fluorapatite and minor detrital and authigenic minerals. CM phosphorites have low total REY contents (mean 161 ppm) and high heavy REY (HREY) complements (mean 49%), while seamount phosphorites have 4–6 times higher individual REY contents (except for Ce, which is subequal; mean ΣREY 727 ppm), and very high HREY complements (mean 60%). The predominant causes of higher concentrations and larger HREY complements in seamount phosphorites compared to CM phosphorites are age, changes in seawater REY concentrations over time, water depth of formation, changes in pH and complexing ligands, and differences in organic carbon content in the depositional environments. Potential ore deposits with high HREY complements, like the marine phosphorites analyzed here, could help supply the HREY needed for high-tech and green-tech applications without creating an oversupply of the LREY. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Selective Flocculation Enhanced Magnetic Separation of Ultrafine Disseminated Magnetite Ores
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 86; doi:10.3390/min6030086 -
Abstract
Simple magnetic separation for a certain magnetite mine with ultrafine disseminated lean ores has resulted in low performance, as the fine sizes and aggregation of ground mineral particles have caused inefficient recovery of the ultrafine minerals. In this study, we attempt to [...] Read more.
Simple magnetic separation for a certain magnetite mine with ultrafine disseminated lean ores has resulted in low performance, as the fine sizes and aggregation of ground mineral particles have caused inefficient recovery of the ultrafine minerals. In this study, we attempt to increase the apparent sizes of target mineral particles, and improve the separation indices, by using a multi-stage grinding-dispersion-selective flocculation-weak magnetic separation process. The results showed that under the conditions of 500 g/t sodium hexametaphospate (SHMP) as dispersant, 750 g/t carboxymethyl starch (CMS) as flocculant, agitating at 400 rpm for 10 min, with slurry pH 11, and final grinding fineness of 93.5% less than 0.03 mm, the obtained concentrate contained 62.82% iron, with recovery of 79.12% after multi-stage magnetic separation. Compared to simple magnetic separation, the concentrate’s iron grade increased by 1.26%, and a recovery rate by 5.08%. Fundamental analysis indicated that, in a dispersed state of dispersion, magnetite particles had weaker negative surface charges than quartz, allowing the adsorption of negative CMS ions via hydrogen bonding. Consequently, the aggregate size of the initial concentrate increased from 24.30 to 38.37 μm, accomplishing the goal of selective flocculation, and increasing the indices of separation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Restraining Na-Montmorillonite Delamination in Water by Adsorption of Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate or Octadecyl Trimethyl Ammonium Chloride on the Edges
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 87; doi:10.3390/min6030087 -
Abstract
The delamination of montmorillonite in water leads to sliming in ore slurry, which is detrimental to mineral flotation and solid/water separation. In this work, the delamination of Na-montmorillonite (Na-MMT) has been restrained by sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) or octadecyl trimethyl ammonium chloride [...] Read more.
The delamination of montmorillonite in water leads to sliming in ore slurry, which is detrimental to mineral flotation and solid/water separation. In this work, the delamination of Na-montmorillonite (Na-MMT) has been restrained by sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) or octadecyl trimethyl ammonium chloride (1831) through the adsorption on the edge of the mineral. The experimental results have shown that the pretreatment by adding SDS and 1831 could greatly reduce the Stokes size percentage of −1.1 µm particles in the aqueous Na-MMT suspension. From the X-ray diffractometer (XRD) results, the interlayer spacing of the MMT pre-treated by SDS and 1831 is smaller than that of original MMT particles. Adsorption position of SDS and 1831 on MMT surfaces was analyzed by the measurements of adsorption capacity of SDS and 1831, inductively-coupled plasma spectra, and zeta potential before and after the plane surface of MMT was covered with tetraethylenepentaminecopper ([Cu(tetren)]2+). The results indicated that SDS and 1831 are adsorbed on the edge and the whole surface of Na-MMT, respectively. Delamination of MMT could be well restrained by the adsorption of SDS and 1831 on the edges of MMT. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Matrix-Matched Iron-Oxide Laser Ablation ICP-MS U–Pb Geochronology Using Mixed Solution Standards
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 85; doi:10.3390/min6030085 -
Abstract
U–Pb dating of the common iron-oxide hematite (α-Fe2O3), using laser-ablation inductively-coupled-plasma mass-spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), provides unparalleled insight into the timing and processes of mineral deposit formation. Until now, the full potential of this method has been negatively impacted by [...] Read more.
U–Pb dating of the common iron-oxide hematite (α-Fe2O3), using laser-ablation inductively-coupled-plasma mass-spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), provides unparalleled insight into the timing and processes of mineral deposit formation. Until now, the full potential of this method has been negatively impacted by the lack of suitable matrix-matched standards. To achieve matrix-matching, we report an approach in which a U–Pb solution and ablated material from 99.99% synthetic hematite are simultaneously mixed in a nebulizer chamber and introduced to the ICP-MS. The standard solution contains fixed U- and Pb-isotope ratios, calibrated independently, and aspiration of the isotopically homogeneous solution negates the need for a matrix-matched, isotopically homogenous natural iron-oxide standard. An additional advantage of using the solution is that the individual U–Pb concentrations and isotope ratios can be adjusted to approximate that in the unknown, making the method efficient for dating hematite containing low (~10 ppm) to high (>1 wt %) U concentrations. The above-mentioned advantage to this solution method results in reliable datasets, with arguably-better accuracy in measuring U–Pb ratios than using GJ-1 Zircon as the primary standard, which cannot be employed for such low U concentrations. Statistical overlaps between 207Pb/206Pb weighted average ages (using GJ-1 Zircon) and U–Pb upper intercept ages (using the U–Pb mixed solution method) of two samples from iron-oxide copper-gold (IOCG) deposits in South Australia demonstrate that, although fractionation associated with a non-matrix matched standard does occur when using GJ-1 Zircon as the primary standard, it does not impact the 207Pb/206Pb or upper intercept age. Thus, GJ-1 Zircon can be considered reliable for dating hematite using LA-ICP-MS. Downhole fractionation of 206Pb/238U is observed to occur in spot analyses of hematite. The use of rasters in future studies will hopefully minimize this problem, allowing for matrix-matched data. Using the mixed-solution method in this study, we have validated a published hematite Pb–Pb age for Olympic Dam, and provide a new age (1604 ± 11 Ma) for a second deposit in the same province. These ages are further evidence that the IOCG mineralizing event is tied to large igneous province (LIP) magmatism in the region at ~1.6 Ga. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Phytomining for Artisanal Gold Mine Tailings Management
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 84; doi:10.3390/min6030084 -
Abstract
Mine tailings are generally disposed of by artisanal and small scale gold miners in poorly constructed containment areas and this leads to environmental risk. Gold phytomining could be a possible option for tailings management at artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) locations [...] Read more.
Mine tailings are generally disposed of by artisanal and small scale gold miners in poorly constructed containment areas and this leads to environmental risk. Gold phytomining could be a possible option for tailings management at artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) locations where plants accumulate residual gold in their above ground biomass. The value of metal recovered from plants could offset some of the costs of environmental management. Getting gold into plants has been repeatedly demonstrated by many research groups; however, a simple working technology to get gold out of plants is less well described. A field experiment to assess the relevance of the technology to artisanal miners was conducted in Central Lombok, Indonesia between April and June 2015. Tobacco was planted in cyanidation tailings (1 mg/kg gold) and grown for 2.5 months before the entire plot area was irrigated with NaCN to induce metal uptake. Biomass was then harvested (100 kg), air dried, and ashed by miners in equipment currently used to ash activated carbon at the end of a cyanide leach circuit. Borax and silver as a collector metal were added to the tobacco ash and smelted at high temperature to extract metals from the ash. The mass of the final bullion (39 g) was greater than the mass of silver used as a collector (31 g), indicating recovery of metals from the biomass through the smelt process. The gold yield of this trial was low (1.2 mg/kg dry weight biomass concentration), indicating that considerable work must still be done to optimise valuable metal recovery by plants at the field scale. However, the described method to process the biomass was technically feasible, and represents a valid technique that artisanal and small-scale gold miners are willing to adopt if the economic case is good. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Kinetics and Mechanisms of Chalcopyrite Dissolution at Controlled Redox Potential of 750 mV in Sulfuric Acid Solution
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 83; doi:10.3390/min6030083 -
Abstract
To better understand chalcopyrite leach mechanisms and kinetics, for improved Cu extraction during hydrometallurgical processing, chalcopyrite leaching has been conducted at solution redox potential 750 mV, 35–75 °C, and pH 1.0 with and without aqueous iron addition, and pH 1.5 and 2.0 [...] Read more.
To better understand chalcopyrite leach mechanisms and kinetics, for improved Cu extraction during hydrometallurgical processing, chalcopyrite leaching has been conducted at solution redox potential 750 mV, 35–75 °C, and pH 1.0 with and without aqueous iron addition, and pH 1.5 and 2.0 without aqueous iron addition. The activation energy (Ea) values derived indicate chalcopyrite dissolution is initially surface chemical reaction controlled, which is associated with the activities of Fe3+ and H+ with reaction orders of 0.12 and −0.28, respectively. A surface diffusion controlled mechanism is proposed for the later leaching stage with correspondingly low Ea values. Surface analyses indicate surface products (predominantly Sn2− and S0) did not inhibit chalcopyrite dissolution, consistent with the increased surface area normalised leach rate during the later stage. The addition of aqueous iron plays an important role in accelerating Cu leaching rates, especially at lower temperature, primarily by reducing the length of time of the initial surface chemical reaction controlled stage. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pre-Concentration of Vanadium from Stone Coal by Gravity Using Fine Mineral Spiral
Minerals 2016, 6(3), 82; doi:10.3390/min6030082 -
Abstract
Due to the low grade of V2O5 in stone coal, the existing vanadium extraction technologies face challenges in terms of large handling capacity, high acid consumption and production cost. The pre-concentration of vanadium from stone coal before the extraction [...] Read more.
Due to the low grade of V2O5 in stone coal, the existing vanadium extraction technologies face challenges in terms of large handling capacity, high acid consumption and production cost. The pre-concentration of vanadium from stone coal before the extraction process is an effective method to reduce cost. In this study, detailed mineral characterization of stone coal was investigated. It has been confirmed that the vanadium mainly occurs in muscovite and illite. A significant demand for an effective pre-concentration process with simple manipulation for discarding quartz and other gangue minerals is expected. Based on the mineralogical study, a new vanadium pre-concentration process using a fine mineral spiral was investigated. The experimental results showed that the separation process, which was comprised of a rougher and scavenger, could efficiently discard quartz, pyrite and apatite. A final concentrate with V2O5 grade of 1.02% and recovery of 89.6% could be obtained, with 26.9% of the raw ore being discarded as final tailings. Full article
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