Open AccessArticle
Further Investigations on Simultaneous Ultrasonic Coal Flotation
Minerals 2017, 7(10), 177; doi:10.3390/min7100177 -
Abstract
This study investigates the flotation performance of a representative hard coal slime sample (d80 particle size of minus 0.2 mm) obtained from the Prosper-Haniel coal preparation plant located in Bottrop, Germany. Flotation was carried out with a newly designed flotation cell refurbished
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This study investigates the flotation performance of a representative hard coal slime sample (d80 particle size of minus 0.2 mm) obtained from the Prosper-Haniel coal preparation plant located in Bottrop, Germany. Flotation was carried out with a newly designed flotation cell refurbished from an old ultrasonic cleaning bath (2.5 L volume) equipped with a single frequency (35 kHz) and two different power levels (80–160 W) and a sub-aeration-type flotation machine operating at a stable impeller speed (1200 rpm) and air rate (2.5 L/min). The reagent combination for conventional and simultaneous ultrasonic coal flotation tests was Ekofol-440 at variable dosages (40–300 g/t) with controlling water temperature (20–25 °C) at natural pH (6.5–7.0). The batch coal flotation results were analyzed by comparing the combustible recovery (%) and separation efficiency (%) values, taking mass yield and ash concentrations of the froths and tailings into account. It was found that simultaneous ultrasonic coal flotation increased yield and recovery values of the floated products with lower ash values than the conventional flotation despite using similar reagent dosages. Furthermore, particle size distribution of the ultrasonically treated and untreated coals was measured. Finely distributed coal particles seemed to be agglomerated during the ultrasonic treatment, while ash-forming slimes were removed by hydrodynamic cavitation. Full article
Open AccessErratum
Erratum for Blamey, N.J.F., et al. The Hydrothermal Fluid Evolution of Vein Sets at the Pipeline Gold Mine, Nevada. Minerals 2017, 7, 100; doi:10.3390/min7060100
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 175; doi:10.3390/min7090175 -
Abstract
The authors wish to make the following corrections to the main text in the published paper [1]:[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Factors Affecting the Upgrading of a Nickeliferous Limonitic Laterite Ore by Reduction Roasting, Thermal Growth and Magnetic Separation
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 176; doi:10.3390/min7090176 -
Abstract
There is considerable interest in the development of new processes to extract the nickel from the oxidic nickeliferous laterite deposits, as the global nickel sulphide resources are rapidly becoming more difficult to access. In comparison to sulphide ores, where the nickel-containing mineral can
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There is considerable interest in the development of new processes to extract the nickel from the oxidic nickeliferous laterite deposits, as the global nickel sulphide resources are rapidly becoming more difficult to access. In comparison to sulphide ores, where the nickel-containing mineral can be readily concentrated by flotation, nickel laterites are not amenable to significant upgrading, due to their complex mineralogy. In this paper, firstly, a brief overview of the conventional techniques used to process the nickeliferous limonitic laterites is given, as well as a review of current research in the area. Secondly, a thermodynamic model is developed to simulate the roasting process and to aid in the selection of process parameters to maximize the nickel recovery and grade and also to minimize the magnetite content of the concentrate. Thirdly, a two-stage process involving reduction roasting and thermal growth in either a tube furnace or a rotary kiln furnace, followed by magnetic separation, was investigated. Thermogravimetric, differential thermal and mineral liberation analyses techniques were utilized to further understand the process. Finally, the nickel grades and recovery results were compared to those available in the literature. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Quartz-Amethyst Hosted Hydrocarbon-Bearing Fluid Inclusions from the Green Ridge Breccia in the Snoqualmie Granite, North Cascades, WA, USA
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 174; doi:10.3390/min7090174 -
Abstract
The Green Ridge Breccia cuts the composite Miocene Snoqualmie Batholith in King County, WA, USA. The granite was emplaced at ~5 km depth between ~17 and 20 Ma and the crosscutting NW trending breccia contains large angular blocks of the host granite (<1
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The Green Ridge Breccia cuts the composite Miocene Snoqualmie Batholith in King County, WA, USA. The granite was emplaced at ~5 km depth between ~17 and 20 Ma and the crosscutting NW trending breccia contains large angular blocks of the host granite (<1 m in longest dimension). The brecciated granite blocks are cemented by quartz-amethyst euhedra (<10 cm in longest dimension) bearing vugs. A notable feature is the presence of centimetric scale amber coloured oil inclusions within the quartz-amethyst crystals. Fluid inclusion studies using Transmitted Light Petrography, UV Microscopy, Microthermometry, Laser Raman Microspectroscopy and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry record the presence and the fluid composition of three fluid inclusion types hosted by the euhedra: primary Type 1 (liquid rich two-phase (L + V) aqueous inclusions) and secondary Type 2 bituminous two-phase (S + L) inclusions and Type 3 amber coloured oil bearing two-phase immiscible liquid inclusions. The Green Ridge Breccia was the locus for convective hydrothermal fluid flow that formed the quartz-amethyst vugs formed at T~390 °C assuming a trapping pressure of ~1.65 kb. Later, hydrocarbon fluids migrated downwards from the roof source rock (e.g., the Guye Sedimentary Member) and were trapped in the euhedra. This was followed by unroofing of the batholith and exposure of the Green Ridge Breccia. This study highlights the potential for other oil migrations into the Snoqualmie Batholith in areas where it forms the basement capped by the Guye Sedimentary Member. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
CO2 Absorption and Magnesium Carbonate Precipitation in MgCl2–NH3–NH4Cl Solutions: Implications for Carbon Capture and Storage
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 172; doi:10.3390/min7090172 -
Abstract
CO2 absorption and carbonate precipitation are the two core processes controlling the reaction rate and path of CO2 mineral sequestration. Whereas previous studies have focused on testing reactive crystallization and precipitation kinetics, much less attention has been paid to absorption, the
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CO2 absorption and carbonate precipitation are the two core processes controlling the reaction rate and path of CO2 mineral sequestration. Whereas previous studies have focused on testing reactive crystallization and precipitation kinetics, much less attention has been paid to absorption, the key process determining the removal efficiency of CO2. In this study, adopting a novel wetted wall column reactor, we systematically explore the rates and mechanisms of carbon transformation from CO2 gas to carbonates in MgCl2–NH3–NH4Cl solutions. We find that reactive diffusion in liquid film of the wetted wall column is the rate-limiting step of CO2 absorption when proceeding chiefly through interactions between CO2(aq) and NH3(aq). We further quantified the reaction kinetic constant of the CO2–NH3 reaction. Our results indicate that higher initial concentration of NH4Cl (2mol·L1) leads to the precipitation of roguinite [(NH4)2Mg(CO3)2·4H2O], while nesquehonite appears to be the dominant Mg-carbonate without NH4Cl addition. We also noticed dypingite formation via phase transformation in hot water. This study provides new insight into the reaction kinetics of CO2 mineral carbonation that indicates the potential of this technique for future application to industrial-scale CO2 sequestration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Indium Mineralization in the Xianghualing Sn-Polymetallic Orefield in Southern Hunan, Southern China
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 173; doi:10.3390/min7090173 -
Abstract
Although numerous W–Sn–Pb–Zn polymetallic deposits are located in southern Hunan, and In-bearing deposits are related to W–Sn–Pb–Zn polymetallic deposits, Indium mineralization in southern Hunan is poorly studied. In order to investigate the In mineralization of the Xianghualing orefield, which is a typical orefield
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Although numerous W–Sn–Pb–Zn polymetallic deposits are located in southern Hunan, and In-bearing deposits are related to W–Sn–Pb–Zn polymetallic deposits, Indium mineralization in southern Hunan is poorly studied. In order to investigate the In mineralization of the Xianghualing orefield, which is a typical orefield in southern Hunan, ore bulk chemistry, microscopic observation, and electron-probe microanalysis of vein-type (type-I) and porphyry-type (type-II) Sn–Pb–Zn orebodies were studied. The In contents of the type-I orebodies varies from 0.79 to 1680 ppm (avg. 217 ppm, n = 29), and that of the type-II orebodies varies from 10 to 150 ppm (avg. 64 ppm, n = 10). Although chalcopyrite and stannite contain trace amounts of In, sphalerite is the most important In-rich mineral in the orefield. Sphalerite in type-I orebodies contains from <0.02 to 21.96 wt % In, and in type-II orebodies contains from <0.02 to 0.39 wt % In. Indium-rich chemical-zoned sphalerite contains 7 to 8 wt % In in its core and up to 21.96 wt % In in its rim. This sphalerite may be the highest In-bearing variety in Southern China. The Cd contents of the In-rich sphalerite ranges from 0.35 to 0.45 wt %, which places it in the the “Indium window” of the Cu–In–S phases. The geological and structural features of the Xianghualing orefield indicate that the In mineralization of the two types of In-bearing Sn–Pb–Zn orebodies is related to the volatile-rich, In-rich, A-type granites, and is controlled by the normal faults of magmatic-diapiric activity extensional features. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Geochronology of Hydrothermal Processes Leading to the Formation of the Au–U Mineralization at the Rompas Prospect, Peräpohja Belt, Northern Finland: Application of Paired U–Pb Dating of Uraninite and Re–Os Dating of Molybdenite to the Identification of Multiple Hydrothermal Events in a Metamorphic Terrane
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 171; doi:10.3390/min7090171 -
Abstract
The Peräpohja belt comprises a greenschist to amphibolite facies; multiply-folded supracrustal sequence of quartzites; mafic volcanics; carbonate rocks; black shales; mica schists and greywackes deposited from ca. 2.44 Ga to 1.92 Ga; during protracted rifting of the Archaean basement. Metamorphism and multiple folding
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The Peräpohja belt comprises a greenschist to amphibolite facies; multiply-folded supracrustal sequence of quartzites; mafic volcanics; carbonate rocks; black shales; mica schists and greywackes deposited from ca. 2.44 Ga to 1.92 Ga; during protracted rifting of the Archaean basement. Metamorphism and multiple folding of the basin fill occurred during the Svecofennian orogeny (1.92–1.80 Ga). The Rompas Au–U mineralization is hosted within deformed and metamorphosed calcsilicate veins in mafic volcanics. Textural evidence suggests that deposition and periods of uraninite re-mobilization were followed by localized hydrocarbon-bearing fluid flow which produced pyrobitumen crusts around grains of uraninite. Gold precipitated during the latest hydrothermal event at around 1.75 Ga. In situ U–Pb dating of uraninite by laser ablation inductively coupled mass spectroscopy (LA-ICP-MS), and Re–Os dating of molybdenite, indicate that primary hydrothermal uranium mineralization forms two age clusters; about 2.03–2.01 and 1.95–1.94 Ga. Resetting of the U–Pb system and precipitation of new generations of uraninite are associated with major deformation and metamorphic stages of the Svecofennian orogeny at 1.91–1.89 Ga, 1.85 Ga, and 1.80 Ga. Gold deposition was synchronous with the emplacement of the 1.75–1.78 Ga late/post-orogenic granitoids. The gold-producing hydrothermal event is also recorded by Re–Os dating of molybdenite from the gold-bearing Mg-metasomatized metasedimentary and metavolcanic units at the Palokas prospect; a few kilometres from Rompas. Results of this study confirm that some domains in the structure of uraninite may preserve the original crystallization age, despite an overprinting amphibolite facies metamorphic and other hydrothermal events. The study supports the utility of in situ U–Pb dating of uraninite and the ability of Re–Os dating to assist in sorting out different hydrothermal events in areas with complex tectonic; magmatic and metamorphic histories. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Connecting the Morphological and Crystal Structural Changes during the Conversion of Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate to Lithium Carbonate Using Multi-Scale X-ray Scattering Measurements
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 169; doi:10.3390/min7090169 -
Abstract
While CO2 storage technologies via carbon mineralization have focused on the use of earth-abundant calcium- and magnesium-bearing minerals, there is an emerging interest in the scalable synthesis of alternative carbonates such as lithium carbonate. Lithium carbonate is the carbonated end-product of lithium
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While CO2 storage technologies via carbon mineralization have focused on the use of earth-abundant calcium- and magnesium-bearing minerals, there is an emerging interest in the scalable synthesis of alternative carbonates such as lithium carbonate. Lithium carbonate is the carbonated end-product of lithium hydroxide, a highly reactive sorbent for CO2 capture in spacecraft and submarines. Other emerging applications include tuning the morphology of lithium carbonates synthesized from the effluent of treated Li-bearing batteries, which can then be reused in ceramics, glasses, and batteries. In this study, in operando Ultra-Small-Angle, Small-Angle, and Wide-Angle X-ray Scattering (USAXS/SAXS/WAXS) measurements were used to link the morphological and crystal structural changes as lithium hydroxide monohydrate is converted to lithium carbonate. The experiments were performed in a flow-through reactor at PCO2 of 1 atm and at temperatures in the range of 25–500 °C. The dehydration of lithium hydroxide monohydrate to form lithium hydroxide occurs in the temperature range of 25–150 °C, while the onset of carbonate formation is evident at around 70 °C. A reduction in the nanoparticle size and an increase in the surface area were noted during the dehydration of lithium hydroxide monohydrate. Lithium carbonate formation increases the nanoparticle size and reduces the surface area. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mineralogical and Geochemical Compositions of the Lopingian Coals and Carbonaceous Rocks in the Shugentian Coalfield, Yunnan, China: with Emphasis on Fe-Bearing Minerals in a Continental-Marine Transitional Environment
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 170; doi:10.3390/min7090170 -
Abstract
This paper presents the mineralogical and geochemical compositions of coal benches and non-coal (carbonaceous rock benches, parting, roof and floor) samples from the No. 1 Coal in the Longtan Formation of the Permian-Lopingian epoch from the Shugentian Coalfield, eastern Yunnan Province, southwestern China.
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This paper presents the mineralogical and geochemical compositions of coal benches and non-coal (carbonaceous rock benches, parting, roof and floor) samples from the No. 1 Coal in the Longtan Formation of the Permian-Lopingian epoch from the Shugentian Coalfield, eastern Yunnan Province, southwestern China. The coal is rich in Nb, Ta, Zr, and Hf, which were derived from the Kangdian Upland with the dominant compositions of the Emeishan basalt. The minerals identified in the samples include mixed-layer illite-smectite, kaolinite, quartz, siderite, and minor calcite, pyrite, anatase and ankerite. Albite and chamosite occur in the roof and floor samples. The parting sample (SGT1-2p) is characterized by abundant siderite (64.9%) and calcite (20.1%), and one carbonaceous rock sample SGT1-11 contained a large amount of pyrite (26.1%). Four factors were responsible for the geochemical and mineralogical compositions in the samples; namely, the terrigenous detrital materials transported from the Kangdian Upland, direct volcanic ash inputs, multi-stage inputs of hydrothermal fluids, and marine influences. The co-existence of siderite and pyrite was attributed to a continental-marine transitional environment. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Review of the Carbon Footprint of Cu and Zn Production from Primary and Secondary Sources
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 168; doi:10.3390/min7090168 -
Abstract
Copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) with their unique properties are central for economic growth, quality of life, and the creation of new jobs. The base-metal producing sector is, however, under growing public pressure in respect to energy and water requirements and needs to
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Copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) with their unique properties are central for economic growth, quality of life, and the creation of new jobs. The base-metal producing sector is, however, under growing public pressure in respect to energy and water requirements and needs to meet several challenges, including increased demand and lower ore grades, which are generally associated with larger resource use. The development of technologies for metal production from secondary sources is often motivated by increased sustainability, and this paper aims to provide further insights about one specific aspect of sustainability—namely, climate change. The paper presents a review of carbon footprints (CF) for Cu and Zn produced from primary and secondary raw materials by analyzing data taken from scientific literature and the Ecoinvent database. Comparisons are carried out based on the source of data selected as a reference case. The data available in the literature indicate that secondary production of Cu and Zn has the potential to be more beneficial compared to primary production regarding the impact on climate change. However, the technologies used today for the production of both metals from secondary sources are still immature, and more research on this topic is needed. The general variation of data suggests that the standardization of a comparison is needed when assessing the environmental benefits of production in line with the principles of waste valorization, the zero waste approach, and circular economy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Coalbed Incidence Angle on Methane Enrichment Zone in Longwall Gob
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 166; doi:10.3390/min7090166 -
Abstract
To control methane emissions in gob into longwall working faces, it is necessary to understand the distributions of methane enrichment zones (MEZ) around mined coal seams with different incidence angles. In this paper, FLAC3D software is used to calculate the three-dimensional stress
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To control methane emissions in gob into longwall working faces, it is necessary to understand the distributions of methane enrichment zones (MEZ) around mined coal seams with different incidence angles. In this paper, FLAC3D software is used to calculate the three-dimensional stress distributions in MEZ in gobs with coalbed incidence angles ranging from 0° to 50°. The results show that MEZ consistently exhibit a “hexagon” shape, and rotate in a clockwise direction as the coalbed angle increases. The MEZ range above the mined seam is larger than that below the mined seam. As the coalbed angle increases, the MEZ range in the roof decreases, while the MEZ range in the floor increases. The MEZ height increases significantly as the coalbed angle increases. The MEZ widths in coal pillars of gobs increase slightly as the coalbed angle increases. The methane concentration increases exponentially as the height in the MEZ increases. The surface borehole bottoms located relatively higher in the MEZ can drain methane with a higher concentration and flow rate, as verified by a field test in the Pansan mine, China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Carbothermic Reduction of Ferruginous Manganese Ore for Mn/Fe Beneficiation: Morphology Evolution and Separation Characteristic
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 167; doi:10.3390/min7090167 -
Abstract
In the present paper, beneficiation of Fe and Mn elements from a ferruginous manganese ore via carbothermic reduction followed by magnetic separation process was investigated in detail. The effects of the experimental parameters were systematically discussed. Iron-rich products with an Fe grade of
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In the present paper, beneficiation of Fe and Mn elements from a ferruginous manganese ore via carbothermic reduction followed by magnetic separation process was investigated in detail. The effects of the experimental parameters were systematically discussed. Iron-rich products with an Fe grade of 62.3% and 88.2% of Fe recovery, and manganese-rich product with a Mn grade of 63.7% of and 70.4% of Mn recovery were obtained, respectively, at an optimal temperature of 1100 °C, with a roasting time of 100 min, anthracite addition of 25%, milling fineness of 90% passing 0.074 mm, and a magnetic intensity of 140 A/m. Furthermore, the morphology evolution and phase transformation laws along with reduction process were revealed by optical microscope, scanning electron microscope equipped with energy dispersive X-ray detector (SEM-EDX), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and chemical phase analysis. The results demonstrated that the ferruginous manganese ore reduction can be described as follows: plate-like Fe-Mn symbiotic phase decomposition → granular MnO phase formation → fine metallic iron formation → aggregation of metallic iron → boundary development between Fe and Mn phases. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Muscovite 40Ar/39Ar Age and H-O-S Isotopes of the Shimensi Tungsten Deposit (Northern Jiangxi Province, South China) and Their Metallogenic Implications
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 162; doi:10.3390/min7090162 -
Abstract
The Shimensi deposit (Northern Jiangxi, South China) is a recently discovered super-large tungsten deposit. Muscovite 40Ar/39Ar dating yielded a plateau age of 145.7 ± 0.9 Ma, with normal and inverse isochronal ages being 145.4 ± 1.4 Ma and 145.3 ±
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The Shimensi deposit (Northern Jiangxi, South China) is a recently discovered super-large tungsten deposit. Muscovite 40Ar/39Ar dating yielded a plateau age of 145.7 ± 0.9 Ma, with normal and inverse isochronal ages being 145.4 ± 1.4 Ma and 145.3 ± 1.4 Ma, respectively. The muscovite 40Ar/39Ar age, which can represent the mineralization age, coincides well with the published zircon U–Pb ages (143–148 Ma) of the ore-hosting granites, which indicates that the tungsten mineralization was syn-magmatic. The new age reported here confirms that the Shimensi tungsten deposit is part of a large Early Cretaceous (147–136 Ma) tungsten-polymetallic belt in South China. Measured and calculated sulfur isotopic compositions (δ34Sminerals = −3.0‰ to 1.1‰, average −1.3‰; δ34SH2S = −4.5‰ to +1.2‰, average −1.8‰) of the Shimensi ore-forming fluids indicate that the sulfur was mainly magmatic-derived. The calculated and measured oxygen and hydrogen isotopic compositions (δ18OH2O = 4.1‰ to 6.7‰, δD = −62.7‰ to −68‰) of the ore-forming fluids indicate a dominantly magmatic source with a meteoric water input. Oxygen isotopic modelling of the boiling/mixing processes indicates that the Shimensi tungsten mineralization was caused mainly by fluid mixing of magmatic hydrothermal fluid with meteoric water. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Rheology of Fly Ash Mixed Tailings Slurries and Applicability of Prediction Models
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 165; doi:10.3390/min7090165 -
Abstract
Coal fly ash has potential applications in the management of reactive mine tailings. The shear stress versus shear rate curves obtained during viscometer tests are presented to describe the rheological behaviors of tailings slurries mixed with fly ash. The investigation was conducted on
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Coal fly ash has potential applications in the management of reactive mine tailings. The shear stress versus shear rate curves obtained during viscometer tests are presented to describe the rheological behaviors of tailings slurries mixed with fly ash. The investigation was conducted on specimens prepared with different fly ash additions as well as prepared at variable conditions of temperature, mixing time, and CaCl2 solution. It was observed that the rheological properties of ash-tailings slurry mixtures are influenced by the hydration of fly ash as well as the particle packing and arrangement. Rheological properties of specimen mixtures were determined from the resulting flow curves using the existing rheological models. The performance of prediction models in calculating the rheological properties of the mixed specimens, as quantified by the root mean square error (RMSE), varied with the mixture constituents, temperature, and time. In general, the Papanastasion, Herschel-Bulkley, Sisko, and Robertson-Stiff models were found to be favorable for use with mixtures of fly ash and tailings slurries, compared to the Bingham, Modified Bingham, Casson, and De Kee models. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mineral Quantification with Simultaneous Refinement of Ca-Mg Carbonates Non-Stoichiometry by X-ray Diffraction, Rietveld Method
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 164; doi:10.3390/min7090164 -
Abstract
Quantitative phase analyses of carbonate rocks containing Mg-rich calcite and non-stoichiometric dolomite by the Rietveld method yielded improved results when the substitutions are refined for either minerals. The refinement is constrained by the c-axis of the lattice for both minerals using the
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Quantitative phase analyses of carbonate rocks containing Mg-rich calcite and non-stoichiometric dolomite by the Rietveld method yielded improved results when the substitutions are refined for either minerals. The refinement is constrained by the c-axis of the lattice for both minerals using the formula c = −1.8603nMg+17.061 for calcite, where nMg is the molar fraction of Mg replacing Ca, and c = 16.0032+0.8632ΔnCa for dolomite, with ΔnCa being the excess Ca in its B site. The one-step procedure was implemented into the Topas software and tested on twenty-two carbonate rock samples from diverse geological settings, considered analogues to petroleum system lithotypes of the pre-evaporite deposits of Southeastern Brazil. The case study spans over a wide range of calcite and dolomite compositions: up to 0.287 apfu Mg in magnesian calcite, and Ca in excess of up to 0.25 apfu in non-stoichiometric dolomite, which are maximum substitutions the formulas support. The method overcomes the limitations for the quantification of minerals by stoichiometry based on whole-rock chemical analysis for complex mineralogy and can be employed for multiple generations of either carbonate. It returns the mineral quantification with unprecedented detailing of the carbonates’ composition, which compares very well to spot analysis (both SEM-EDS and EMPA) if those cover the full range of compositions. The conciliation of the quantification results based on the XRD is also excellent against chemical analysis, thermogravimetry, and carbon elemental analysis. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Formation and Aggregation of Gold (Electrum) Nanoparticles in Epithermal Ores
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 163; doi:10.3390/min7090163 -
Abstract
Here, we review the concept that nanoparticles and colloids may have played a significant role in forming some types of hydrothermal ores deposits, particularly epithermal. This concept was first proposed almost a century ago but the development of new analytical technologies, lab experiments,
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Here, we review the concept that nanoparticles and colloids may have played a significant role in forming some types of hydrothermal ores deposits, particularly epithermal. This concept was first proposed almost a century ago but the development of new analytical technologies, lab experiments, and the discovery of new epithermal deposits where nanoparticles are evident have added credence to the “gold colloid theory”. Nanoparticles are defined to have at least one dimension <10−7 m, and may have different chemical and physical properties than the bulk solids. Colloids are typically <10−6 m in diameter and have the added characteristic that they are dispersed in another medium. In epithermal ore-forming solutions, gold or electrum nanoparticles nucleate from supersaturated hydrothermal solutions, and thus this is a “far-from-equilibrium” process. In some cases, gold nanoparticles may simply play a transitory role of aggregating to form much coarser-grained crystals, where all of the evidence of nanoparticles precursor phases is not preserved. However, in some epithermal ores, silica nanoparticles also formed, and their co-deposition with gold (electrum) nanoparticles preserved the gold aggregation features as self-organized “fractal” dendrites. Here, we review existing the data on gold and electrum nanoparticles in epithermal ores, present images of electrum nanoparticles and their aggregates, and discuss the significance of gold nanoparticles formation and aggregation in helping to produce some of the highest-grade gold ores in the world. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mineralogy and Processing of Hydrothermal Vein Quartz from Hengche, Hubei Province (China)
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 161; doi:10.3390/min7090161 -
Abstract
Quartz occurs in many geological materials, and is used in numerous industrial fields as a raw material. Mineralogy and the processing of hydrothermal quartz were studied by optical microscope, electron probe microanalysis, scanning electron microscope, inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry, and inductively coupled
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Quartz occurs in many geological materials, and is used in numerous industrial fields as a raw material. Mineralogy and the processing of hydrothermal quartz were studied by optical microscope, electron probe microanalysis, scanning electron microscope, inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry, and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer. A combination of the geological occurrence of the quartz deposit, mineralogical studies, and the processing technologies of the hydrothermal quartz was accomplished. The results show that impurities within the quartz mainly include muscovite, hematite, apatite, and secondary fluid inclusions. The main chemical impurities are Al (353 μg·g−1), K (118 μg·g−1), Fe (61.2 μg·g−1), P (15.5 μg·g−1), Na (13.4 μg·g−1), Mg (11.8 μg·g−1), Ti (8.31 μg·g−1), and B (10.8 μg·g−1). Based on these results, a combined process consisting of calcination and fluoride-free pressure acid leaching was established to effectively decompose and dissolve the quartz, and remove gangue minerals and fluid inclusions. The calcination process not only removed volatile components; it also destroyed the crystal structure of gangue minerals and enhanced their release probabilities. The calcination process has a positive influence on the removal of impurity elements by the fluoride-free pressure acid leaching process. A total of 85.2 wt % and 84.0 wt % of impurity elements was removed using the leaching systems of HCl-NH4Cl and H2SO4-NH4Cl, respectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Flotation Behavior of Different Colored Fluorites Using Sodium Oleate as a Collector
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 159; doi:10.3390/min7090159 -
Abstract
Using sodium oleate (NaOL) as a collector, the flotation characteristics of natural colorless fluorite (CF), green fluorite (GF), and purple fluorite (PF) were investigated through micro-flotation tests, collector adsorption measurements, and surface tension measurement. The micro-flotation results indicated that CF had a much
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Using sodium oleate (NaOL) as a collector, the flotation characteristics of natural colorless fluorite (CF), green fluorite (GF), and purple fluorite (PF) were investigated through micro-flotation tests, collector adsorption measurements, and surface tension measurement. The micro-flotation results indicated that CF had a much better flotation response than both GF and PF, and had higher floatation recovery. The results demonstrated a considerable discrepancy in the interfacial properties between colorless and colored fluorite, even though all the samples were obtained from the same deposit, holding a similar high purity of CaF2. The adsorption capacity of CF, GF, and PF for NaOL was 2.27, 4.18, and 8.21 × 10−6 mol/g under neutral conditions, respectively. Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) measurements revealed that the carboxyl groups of NaOL reacted with Ca sites on the surface of fluorites by chemical adsorption. From the zeta potential analyses, PF exhibited a lower positive potential than CF and GF, mainly due to its surface carbonation. In the presence of NaOL, the surface potential of fluorites changed from positive to negative because the NaOL collector had been adsorbed onto the mineral surface and changed their surface potential, which was consistent with the flotation results at different pH values. We found that the floatability of the fluorite samples was influenced by their surface roughness, measured by an atomic force microscope (AFM) and scanning electron microscope (SEM). PF can be floated with adding more reagent dosage than CF and GF to compensate for its higher surface roughness. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Density Functional Theory Study on the Effect of Lattice Impurities on the Electronic Structures and Reactivity of Fluorite
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 160; doi:10.3390/min7090160 -
Abstract
Fluorite (CaF2), a halogen elemental mineral, always co-exists with other minerals. The Ca element in fluorite is often replaced by rare earth elements (REEs), such as cerium (Ce) and yttrium (Y). In this work, the electronic structures of fluorite crystals containing REE (Ce,
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Fluorite (CaF2), a halogen elemental mineral, always co-exists with other minerals. The Ca element in fluorite is often replaced by rare earth elements (REEs), such as cerium (Ce) and yttrium (Y). In this work, the electronic structures of fluorite crystals containing REE (Ce, Th, U, and Y) impurities were studied by density functional theory (DFT). The calculated results showed that the presence of impurities increased the lattice parameter of fluorite. The impurities caused the Fermi level to shift towards the high energy direction, making the fluorite accept electrons more easily. The impurities except Y led to the occurrence of an impurities state in the valence band. The Mullinken population values of F–REE bonds were larger than that of F–Ca and F–F bonds, and F–Y bonds had the largest population value. Analysis of the frontier molecular orbital showed that the impurities contributed greatly to the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO). The interaction between oleic acid and impurities-bearing fluorite were discussed. The results suggested that the incorporation of impurities would enhanced the reactivity of fluorite with oleic acid. Full article
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Open AccessReview
In Situ Atomic Force Microscopy Studies on Nucleation and Self-Assembly of Biogenic and Bio-Inspired Materials
Minerals 2017, 7(9), 158; doi:10.3390/min7090158 -
Abstract
Through billions of years of evolution, nature has been able to create highly sophisticated and ordered structures in living systems, including cells, cellular components and viruses. The formation of these structures involves nucleation and self-assembly, which are fundamental physical processes associated with the
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Through billions of years of evolution, nature has been able to create highly sophisticated and ordered structures in living systems, including cells, cellular components and viruses. The formation of these structures involves nucleation and self-assembly, which are fundamental physical processes associated with the formation of any ordered structure. It is important to understand how biogenic materials self-assemble into functional and highly ordered structures in order to determine the mechanisms of biological systems, as well as design and produce new classes of materials which are inspired by nature but equipped with better physiochemical properties for our purposes. An ideal tool for the study of nucleation and self-assembly is in situ atomic force microscopy (AFM), which has been widely used in this field and further developed for different applications in recent years. The main aim of this work is to review the latest contributions that have been reported on studies of nucleation and self-assembly of biogenic and bio-inspired materials using in situ AFM. We will address this topic by introducing the background of AFM, and discussing recent in situ AFM studies on nucleation and self-assembly of soft biogenic, soft bioinspired and hard materials. Full article
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