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Selective recovery of very fine particles-future prospects


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Author Warren LJ


The processes most likely to be
adopted for beneficiating ores or
concentrator streams containing a large
proportion of particles finer than 10 um
are froth flotation, selective
flocculation, wet magnetic separation and
selective leaching. Flotation will be
made more efficient for very fine
particles if ways can be found to
selectively flocculate the valuable
mineral beforehand (floc-flotation), to
produce smaller bubbles and to reduce
entrainment of ultrafine gangue. Schemes
for selective flocculation have proved
difficult to implement because of the
delicate balance between surface forces
(electrostatic, dispersion, hydrophobic)
and hydrodynamic forces, that determines
flocculation, and the changes which occur
to particle surfaces through hydrolysis,
oxidation-reduction and cross-
contamination between minerals in aqueous
suspensions. The search for a better
understanding of selective adsorption of
flotation collectors and flocculants
continues and will be particularly
important for the practical success of
selective flocculation and selective
magnetic coating.