Two kinds of collectors, sodium butyl xanthate and kerosene, and a depressor, sodium sulfide, were used in this research. The study applied flotation tests, pulp potential measurements, contact angle measurements, adsorption calculations, and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) analyses to demonstrate the correlation between reagents and minerals. For xanthate collectors, the best flotation responses of chalcopyrite and molybdenite were obtained at pH = 8, and, for kerosene, these were obtained at pH = 4. The flotation of molybdenite seemed to be less influenced by xanthate than by kerosene, while that of chalcopyrite showed the opposite. The optimum concentration of sodium sulfide for separation was 0.03 mol/L, which rejected 83% chalcopyrite and recovered 82% molybdenite in the single mineral flotation. Pulp potential measurements revealed that the dixanthogen and xanthate were decomposed and desorbed, respectively, from the mineral surface in a reducing environment. The contact angle measurement and adsorption calculation conformed to the flotation response, indicating that few functions of the xanthate and sodium sulfide on the molybdenite flotation were due to their low adsorption densities. The FTIR results further clarified that the xanthate ion was adsorbed on chalcopyrite by forming cuprous xanthate and dixanthogen; however, on molybdenite the adsorption product was only dixanthogen. After conditioning with sodium sulfide, the chalcopyrite surface became clean, but the molybdenite surface still retained slight peaks of dixanthogen. Meanwhile, the possible mechanism was expounded in this research.
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