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Polyether-tethered imidazole-2-thiones, imidazole-2-selenones and imidazolium salts as collectors for the flotation of lithium aluminate and spodumene

Acker, S.; Namyslo, J. C.; Rudolph, M.; Strube, F.; Fittschen, U. E. A.; Qiu, H.; Goldmann, D.; Schmidt, A.


Imidazolium salts were prepared which possess 2-ethoxyethyl pivalate or 2-(2-ethoxyethoxy)ethyl pivalate groups as amphiphilic side chains with oxygen donors as well as n-butyl substituents as hydrophobic groups. The N-heterocyclic carbenes of the salts, characterized by 7Li and 13C NMR spectroscopy as well as by Rh and Ir complex formation, were used as starting materials for the preparation of the corresponding imidazole-2-thiones and imidazole-2-selenones. Flotation experiments in Hallimond tubes under variation of the air flow, pH, concentration and flotation time were performed. The title compounds proved to be suitable collectors for the flotation of lithium aluminate and spodumene for lithium recovery. Recovery rates up to 88.9% were obtained when the imidazole-2-thione was used as collector.


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