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Open AccessArticle

The Role of Gangue Mineralogy on Flowsheet Development in Fluorite Processing

1
Mineral Processing Division, Mintek, Private Bag X3015, Randburg 2125, South Africa
2
Jubilee Metals Group, 7 Einstein St, Highveld Techno Park, Centurion 0157, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2020, 10(3), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10030237
Received: 21 January 2020 / Revised: 20 February 2020 / Accepted: 20 February 2020 / Published: 6 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cleaner Production in Mineral Processing)
Fluorite, CaF2, is considered a strategically important mineral as it is a raw material for many strategic industries. Froth flotation is reported to be the most efficient and economically viable process for the production of an acid-grade product with a CaF2 content of at least 97%. Selective flotation of fluorite from gangue minerals, e.g., calcite and barite, is challenging because these minerals have similar physicochemical properties. This study employed batch flotation tests coupled with mineralogical analysis to design suitable customised flowsheets and efficiently optimised reagent regimes for optimum production of acid-grade fluorite concentrate from two different fluorite ores by the froth flotation process. The effect of pulp temperature on fluorite flotation was investigated in this study with the objective of lowering pulp temperatures in fluorite flotation. The results showed that an acid-grade CaF2 concentrate could be obtained from the flotation of both ores at ambient pulp temperatures. This eliminates the requirement for high-temperature pulp treatment, which would result in a significant reduction in thermal energy costs. This study showed that an understanding of gangue mineralogy is key to process optimisation for acid-grade CaF2 production. Although an acid-grade CaF2 concentrate could be produced from both ores, the flowsheets and reagent regimes were markedly different. For instance, the production of an acid-grade CaF2 product from a high quartz and calcite ore was achieved by employing a simple rougher–multiple cleaner flotation circuit using tannin and sodium silicate as calcite and quartz depressants, respectively. On the other hand, the production of an acid-grade CaF2 product from the flotation of the pyritic ore required a pre-sulphide flotation stage for upfront sulphur removal and the use of a sulphide depressant. Multiple stages of cleaning were required for improved selectivity in the flotation of both ores. View Full-Text
Keywords: froth flotation; fluorite; selectivity; depressant; gangue; mineralogy froth flotation; fluorite; selectivity; depressant; gangue; mineralogy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Taguta, J.; Teme, K.C.; Ngobeni, P. The Role of Gangue Mineralogy on Flowsheet Development in Fluorite Processing. Minerals 2020, 10, 237.

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