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Flotation of Chalcopyrite and Molybdenite in the Presence of Organics in Water

Oulu Mining School, University of Oulu, Oulu 90014, Finland
Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes Campus, Adelaide, SA 5095, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kostas A. Matis
Minerals 2016, 6(4), 105;
Received: 8 September 2016 / Revised: 5 October 2016 / Accepted: 10 October 2016 / Published: 14 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flotation in Mineral Processing)
PDF [1294 KB, uploaded 17 October 2016]


One of the water constituents that has not been investigated in great detail for potential detrimental effect on mineral flotation is organic matter. This study investigates the effect of natural organic materials contained in water, such as humic, fulvic and tannic acids, on the flotation of copper and molybdenum sulphides in alkaline conditions and in concentrations similar to those found in natural waters. Results show that copper and molybdenum grades decreased with the addition of humic, tannic and fulvic acid in that order, with a larger depression of molybdenite grade and recovery. Adsorption studies using ultraviolet (UV)-visible spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectrometer (XPS) surface analysis confirmed that these organic materials were adsorbed on the minerals surface. Complimentary analyses of froth characteristics, particle size distribution and fine particles entrainment were also conducted to explain the cause of the negative effect of these organic materials on flotation. The flotation results were explained in terms of the decrease in the hydrophobicity of the mineral surfaces due to the adsorption of hydrophilic groups in these organic materials which then prevent bubble-particle adhesion. The larger detrimental effect of humic acid is due to its higher adsorption on the minerals, high molecular weight and carbon content compared with the other organic acids used. View Full-Text
Keywords: organic matter; sulphide minerals; adsorption; flotation organic matter; sulphide minerals; adsorption; flotation

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Sinche-Gonzalez, M.; Fornasiero, D.; Zanin, M. Flotation of Chalcopyrite and Molybdenite in the Presence of Organics in Water. Minerals 2016, 6, 105.

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