Recycling of electrical cable waste requires a separation between the metal and the insulating material. The objective of this work was to separate the copper from the plastic in electrical cable waste previously ground below 2 mm, using jigging, shaking table and froth flotation techniques. The effect of particle size was also analysed. Jigging and shaking table proved to be effective in the separation of copper from plastics. The result was a copper concentrate with a copper grade of about 97% by both methods and a copper recovery of about 97%. Jigging separation had similar separation efficiencies in the seven-sized fractions, but in shaking table, the separation efficiency improved with an increase in particles size. The separation achieved by froth flotation had lower efficiencies (85%), because plastics are naturally hydrophobic and copper presents some hydrophobic behaviour. In this technique, the addition of depressant agents was mandatory for the depression of copper, even at low concentrations. The best results were obtained with concentrations of 10−1
mg/L of sodium sulfide (407410 Sigma-Aldrich, Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, St. Louis, MO, USA) and meso-2,3-Dimercaptosuccinic acid (D7881 Sigma-Aldrich).
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