The flotation and adsorption of a new polysaccharide konjac gum (KG) on pyrite and talc in the presence of pre-adsorbed potassium butyl xanthate (PBX) is investigated. The micro-flotation results show that KG is a quality depressant for talc and that conditioning the minerals initially with PBX before KG will increase the recovery difference between pyrite and talc. The results of artificially mixing the minerals show that compared with adding KG before PBX, when minerals are pre-adsorbed with PBX, the grade and the recovery of sulfur (S) increases by 1.96% and 5.44%, respectively. The contact angle results show that the addition of PBX before KG will increase the contact angles of pyrite, but the addition order of KG/PBX has little influence on the contact angles of talc. The adsorption tests show that KG can adsorb on pyrite and talc surfaces, while PBX can only adsorb on the pyrite surface. The addition order of KG/PBX affects the adsorption of KG and PBX on the pyrite surface but not on the talc surface. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra analysis further demonstrates the chemical adsorption of KG on pyrite and talc surfaces, while PBX chemisorbs on the pyrite surface. Based on these analyses, a schematic illustration of the reagent adsorption forms on pyrite and talc surfaces is drawn to explain the competitive adsorption of KG and PBX on mineral surfaces.
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