Effect of oxidation treatment using hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) on the floatability of copper sulfide minerals (i.e., chalcopyrite and bornite) and arsenic-bearing copper minerals (i.e., tennantite and enargite) is reported in this study. Pure mineral flotation shows that the floatability of each mineral significantly decreases after the oxidation treatment. Interestingly, flotation of mixed mineral of copper sulfide and arsenic-bearing copper minerals shows that enargite and tennantite exhibit a higher floatability compared to chalcopyrite and bornite after the oxidation treatment followed by the addition of potassium amyl xanthate (PAX). These flotation results indicate a possibility for selective flotation of copper sulfide and arsenic-bearing copper minerals. Indeed, bench-scale flotation tests show that the oxidation treatment using H2O2 and the addition of PAX can deliver a satisfying separation of copper sulfide and arsenic-bearing copper minerals. Difference oxidation products (i.e., CuO, Cu(OH)2, CuSO4, FeOOH, and Fe2(SO4)3) on each mineral surface are likely the cause of this different flotation behavior. Furthermore, these oxidation products may affect the adsorption amount of PAX on each mineral. Indeed, the adsorption tests show that PAX is adsorbed more on tennantite, bornite, and enargite compared to chalcopyrite owing to the formation of CuSO4 and Cu(OH)2 on the mineral surfaces under oxidizing conditions. A possible mechanism is proposed in this study to explain the selective flotation behavior of mixed minerals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
- Mechanical Engineering