Improving Nickel Recovery in Froth Flotation by Purifying Concentrators Process Water Using Dissolved Air Flotation

Annukka Aaltonen*, Thi Minh Khanh Le, Eija Saari, Olli Dahl, Benjamin Musuku, Aleksandra Lang, Sakari Hiidenheimo, Richard Dixon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

The pressure for saving water by closing the water loops in mineral processing is increasing continuously. The drivers for higher recirculating rates include water scarcity in dry areas, environmental legislation that is becoming stricter in most countries, limitations set for wet tailings management and the increased demands for social licenses to operate. At the same time, to make mineral processing sustainable, the recovery of valuable minerals should be maximized. This leads for a need to close the process water circulation. To see the effect of closed water circulation on metallurgical performance, flotation tests were carried out with nickel concentrate thickener overflow water before and after the process of water purification by dissolved air flotation (DAF). Both total nickel recovery and concentrate grade in laboratory scale flotation tests to the Ni rougher-scavenger concentrate increased after DAF treatment. Chemical and mineralogical characterizations revealed that after DAF treatment, the process water contained fewer metal hydroxides and less fine-grained silicate mineral particles, which is most likely the reason for the improvement in the nickel flotation performance. Based on the feasibility study, improved nickel recovery by DAF treatment of process water can bring economic benefits at a concentrator plant.

Original languageEnglish
Article number319
Number of pages14
JournalMinerals
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • dissolved air flotation (DAF)
  • froth flotation
  • pentlandite
  • process water treatment
  • water quality

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