The influence of quartz on the flotation of fine wolframite using octyl hydroxamic acid (OHA) as the collector was investigated by micro-flotation tests, inductively coupled plasma (ICP) measurements, adsorption experiments, zeta potential, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) analysis. Micro-flotation tests showed that a large difference in floatability existed between fine wolframite and quartz in the pH range of 7.0 to 10.0. However, in a synthetic mixture, the flotation separation of fine wolframite from quartz became more difficult as the particle size of the latter decreased. When a dissolved solution of wolframite was used as the flotation medium, quartz floatability improved significantly. Zeta potentials of quartz particles shifted positively in the dissolved solution of wolframite compared to distilled water, especially at a pH level of 7.0–10.0, which was attributed to the metal ions dissolved from the wolframite being adsorbed onto the quartz surface. The surface activation of quartz led to an increase in the OHA adsorption and made the surface hydrophobic. FT-IR analysis further demonstrated that OHA could adsorb onto the activated quartz surface through a dominantly chemical process.
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