The dominant challenge of current copper beneficiation plants is the low recoverability of oxide copper-bearing minerals associated with sulfide type ones. Furthermore, applying commonly used conventional methodologies does not allow the interactional effects of critical parameters in the flotation processes to be investigated, which is mostly overlooked in the literature. To tackle this issue, the present paper aimed at characterizing the behavior of five key effective factors and their interactions in a sulfidized copper ore. In this context, dosage of collector (sodium di-ethydithiophosphate, 60–100 g/t), depressant (sodium silicate, 80–120 g/t) and frother (methyl isobutyl carbinol (MIBC), 6–10 g/t), pulp pH (7–11) and agitation rate (900–1300 rpm) were examined and statistically analyzed using response surface methodology. Flotation experiments were conducted in a Denver type agitated flotation cell at the rougher stage. The experimental results showed that increasing the pH (from 8 to 10) at low agitation rate (1000 rpm) enhanced the recovery from 80.36% to 85.22%, while at high agitation rate (1200 rpm), a slight declination occurred in the recovery. Meanwhile, increasing the collector dosage at a lower frother value (7 g/t), caused a reduction of about 4.44% in copper recovery owing to the interactions between factors, whereas at a higher frother level (9 g/t), the recovery was almost unchanged. The optimization process was also performed using the goal function approach, and maximum copper recovery of 92.75% was obtained using ~70 g/t collector, 110 g/t depressant, 7 g/t frother, pulp pH of 10 and 1000 rpm agitation rate.
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