In both laboratory flotation experiments and from analysing the composition of the lead concentrate at the Boliden Tara lead-zinc mine in Ireland, it has been found that F-250 may replace cyanide as a pyrite depressant. Replacement or reduction of the cyanide consumption is highly desirable from a safety perspective given the toxicity of cyanide. Scrutiny of results from the plant trial indicate that F-250 is less efficient as a cyanide depressant when the flotation feed contains high levels of pyrite. Statistical analysis of the results does not capture this trend, illustrating a need to collect more data at higher pyrite ore levels.
A recent model proposed for biopolymer-induced pyrite depression is reviewed and discussed next to the suggested mechanism for pyrite depression via cyanide. Review of the interactions causing pyrite depression point to different manners in achieving depression. In light of the less efficient F-250 pyrite depression at high pyrite levels, it is speculated if the two depressants may act synergistically at high levels of pyrite in the feed.
Lauten, R A, Burns, C, Mu, Y and Peng, Y, 2018. Pyrite depression at Boliden Tara using F-250 – a biopolymer, in Proceedings 14th AusIMM Mill Operators' Conference 2018, pp 385–392 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).