Ultra-fine Particle Flotation
Oil-based flotation (click to enlarge)
Froth flotation is often times the only method for efficiently separating fine particle systems. However, as soon as the amount of ultra-fine particles (smaller than 10 μm) increases, the complexity of particle-particle interactions intensifies to an extent that pushes conventional flotation techniques to their limits. Desliming has so far been the most common pre-treatment strategy for handling these fractions, but comes along with a considerable loss of valuable minerals.
By using oil-based sorting methods, the Processing Division aims at increasing the efficiency of particle separation. Depending on the method, the oil phase can be used for selective particle enlargement (agglomeration-flotation) or as a carrier medium (liquid-liquid flotation).
The Division has already found out that for valuable ultra-fine minerals the process is not determined by the behavior of hydrophobic particles but by that of the hydrophilic ultra-fine gangue.
- Leistner, T.; Peuker, U. A.; Rudolph M.
"How gangue particle size can affect the recovery of ultrafine and fine particles during froth flotation", Minerals Engineering 109(2017), 1-9