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Open AccessArticle

Depression of Pyrite in Seawater Flotation by Guar Gum

1
Departamento de Ingeniería Química y Procesos de Minerales, Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad de Antofagasta, Av. Angamos 601, Antofagasta 1240000, Chile
2
Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Universidad Arturo Prat, PO Box 121, Iquique 1100000, Chile
3
Departamento de Ingeniería Metalúrgica y Minas, Universidad Católica del Norte, Antofagasta 1270709, Chile
4
Department of Mining, Geological and Cartographic Department, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, 30202 Murcia, Spain
5
Escuela de Ingeniería Química, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaíso 2340000, Chile
6
Instituto de Metalurgia, Laboratorio de Química de Superficies, Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, Av. Sierra Leona 550, San Luis Potosi 78210, México
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metals 2020, 10(2), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/met10020239
Received: 21 January 2020 / Revised: 6 February 2020 / Accepted: 7 February 2020 / Published: 11 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mineral Processing and Hydrometallurgy)
The application of guar gum for pyrite depression in seawater flotation was assessed through microflotation tests, Focused Beam Reflectance Measurements (FBRM), and Particle Vision Measurements (PVM). Potassium amyl xanthate (PAX) and methyl isobutyl carbinol (MIBC) were used as collector and frother, respectively. Chemical species on the pyrite surface were characterized by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) spectroscopy. The microflotation tests were performed at pH 8, which is the pH at the copper sulfide processing plants that operate with seawater. Pyrite flotation recovery was correlated with FBRM and PVM characterization to delineate the pyrite depression mechanisms by the guar gum. The high flotation recovery of pyrite with PAX was significantly lowered by guar gum, indicating that this polysaccharide could be used as an effective depressant in flotation with sea water. FTIR analysis showed that PAX and guar gum co-adsorbed on the pyrite surface, but the highly hydrophilic nature of the guar gum embedded the hydrophobicity due to the PAX. FBRM and PVM revealed that the guar gum promoted the formation of flocs whose size depended on the addition of guar gum and PAX. It is proposed that the highest pyrite depression occurred not only because of the hydrophilicity induced by the guar gum, but also due to the formation of large flocs, which could not be transported by the bubbles to the froth phase. Furthermore, it is shown that an overdose of guar gum hindered the depression effect due to redispersion of the flocs.
Keywords: seawater flotation; pyrite depression; guar gum; FBRM. seawater flotation; pyrite depression; guar gum; FBRM.
MDPI and ACS Style

Castellón, C.I.; Piceros, E.C.; Toro, N.; Robles, P.; López-Valdivieso, A.; Jeldres, R.I. Depression of Pyrite in Seawater Flotation by Guar Gum. Metals 2020, 10, 239.

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