University of Oulu

Maria Sinche-Gonzalez, Daniel Fornasiero, Understanding the effect of sulphate in mining-process water on sulphide flotation, Minerals Engineering, Volume 165, 2021, 106865, ISSN 0892-6875,

Understanding the effect of sulphate in mining-process water on sulphide flotation

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Author: Sinche-Gonzalez, Maria1; Fornasiero, Daniel2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Mining School, P.O. Box 3000, Oulu, Finland
2Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes, SA 5095, Australia
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-05-14


Water quality affects the flotation recovery of minerals and their separation. Mining-process waters become saturated with soluble salts after contact with minerals (oxidation and dissolution) during crushing, classification and flotation. Inorganic species, such as metal ions but also carbonate and sulphate ions, may have a positive or negative effect on mineral flotation. As sulphate ions are always found in high concentrations in process waters, their effects on the flotation of copper, molybdenum and zinc sulphides were investigated in single minerals and ores experiments with complementary mineral surface analysis and particle-bubble detachment studies. It was found that molybdenite flotation was more depressed than chalcopyrite flotation by the presence of sulphate ions in water as a result of increased surface oxidation which decreased particle-bubble attachment. Similar results were obtained in the flotation of two copper ores; however, the grade of chalcopyrite and molybdenite was much lower as a result of increased recovery of unwanted or gangue minerals (e.g., sphalerite, pyrite and quartz).

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Series: Minerals engineering
ISSN: 0892-6875
ISSN-E: 1872-9444
ISSN-L: 0892-6875
Volume: 165
Article number: 106865
DOI: 10.1016/j.mineng.2021.106865
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 222 Other engineering and technologies
1171 Geosciences
215 Chemical engineering
Funding: The authors thank the funds provided by the K. H. Renlund Foundation.
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (