There have been strong industrial observations that clay minerals have a deleterious effect on mineral flotation grade and recovery. However, rigorous explanation on the role of clay minerals in flotation and effective ways to reduce their negative effects are not available. In this study, the flotation behaviour of low quality and high quality coal samples were examined at the Xstrata Oaky Creek Coal plant, and laboratory in fresh and recycled water with high ionic strength. Anionic and non-ionic dispersants including lignosulfonates and triblock copolymers were also tested with an objective of improving coal flotation in recycled water. It was found that overly stable froth was produced in the flotation of both low quality and high quality coal samples in saline water. Speciation modelling indicated precipitation of hydrophilic components which may adversely affect the flotation. Despite the overly stable froth, saline water produced much higher combustible recovery than fresh water without significantly losing the product quality. Lignosulfonate dispersants displayed a potential to improve the flotation in fresh water, but not in saline water. Significant flotation improvement was achieved with the triblock copolymer examined in both fresh and saline water.
Wang, B, Peng, Y and Vink, S, 2012. Determining the effect of clay minerals on
coal flotation using saline water, in Proceedings 11th AusIMM Mill
Operators’ Conference, pp 151-158 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).