Through industrial testing at the Huize lead-zinc mine, it was found that the floatability of sphalerite varied greatly with the iron impurity content. Three kinds of Huize sphalerites with iron contents of 2.30 wt.%, 3.20 wt.% and 4.66 wt.%, were used to study the influence of small amounts of iron impurity in the sphalerite on xanthate adsorption and flotation behavior. The flotation experiments showed that the flotation recovery increased with the increase in iron impurity content. Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and Ultraviolet–visible (UV-VIS) spectra showed that the adsorbed products of xanthate on the surface of three kinds of sphalerite were metal xanthate. The adsorption capacity measurements showed that the saturation absorption of xanthate on sphalerite increased with the increase in iron impurity content. The cyclic voltammetry curve and Tafel curve showed that with the increase in iron impurity content, sphalerite was more easily oxidized and the adsorption rate of xanthate on the surface of sphalerite increased obviously. To summarize, a small amount of iron impurity was beneficial to the recovery of sphalerite.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited