Fluorite, barite and calcite are important industry minerals. However, they often co-exist, presenting difficulty in selectively separating them due to their similar surface properties. In this study, valonea extract and sodium fluosilicate were used as depressants to selectively separate them by flotation, with sodium oleate as the collector. The single mineral flotation results showed that valonea extract displayed the strongest depression on calcite, while sodium fluosilicate displayed the strongest depression on barite. These two depressants allowed selective separation of the three minerals through sequential flotation. The flotation of mixed minerals showed that 94% of the calcite was successfully depressed by the valonea extract, and 95% recovery of the fluorite was achieved in the subsequent flotation with sodium fluosilicate depressing barite. The different depressant–mineral interactions were investigated via electro-kinetic studies and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations using the Materials Studio 6.0 program. The valonea extract exhibited the strongest adsorption on the calcite surface, and sodium fluosilicate exhibited the strongest adsorption on the barite surface, which prevented oleate species from reacting with Ca2+
surface sites. This study provides useful guidance for how to process fluorite, barite and calcite resources.
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