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Chementator: Selective flotation

By Chemical Engineering |

The presence of arsenic minerals, such as enargite and tennantite, in some copper-bearing ore bodies, can be a problem for those wishing to recover the copper. When delivering copper concentrates to smelters in Australia, for example, miners are subjected to substantial penalties if their shipments contain high levels of arsenic. Researchers at CSIRO Minerals (Melbourne, Australia; edlinks.chemengonline.com/5827-540) have developed a flotation process that separates arsenic minerals from copper ores, which could make some copper deposits economically viable. Without disclosing details, CSIRO says the process involves adding oxidizing and reducing agents to adjust the electrochemical potential of the “pulp” (ground up minerals in water), and sometimes using N2 instead of the usual air for the flotation process. This allows the arsenic to be selectively removed from the pulp. Early removal of arsenic avoids dispersing it through downstream processing of concentrate, says CSIRO.   Click here for a full pdf version of the Chementator Section
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