Study of butyl-amine nanocrystal cellulose in the flotation of complex sulphide ores

Raquel Lopéz, Helga Jordão, Robert Hartmann*, Ari Ämmälä, M. Teresa Carvalho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Froth flotation is a widely used process for the beneficiation of complex sulphide ores. Thiol collectors (mostly xanthates) are usually effective collectors for sulphide minerals but may have a low selectivity between different sulphide minerals when associated in complex sulphide ores. Additionally, a concern is their suggested harmfulness on human health and impact on the environment. In this study, a green sustainable reagent, butyl-amine cellulose (BAC), was synthesized from hardwood kraft pulp, a renewable abundant resource, for the selective separation of chalcopyrite and sphalerite. The performance evaluation was made using samples of two ores containing chalcopyrite and sphalerite, one was from Panasqueira mine (Portugal) and the other with a different mineral association (from the massive sulphide deposits of the Iberian Pyrite Belt). The study demonstrated that when chalcopyrite is associated with sphalerite, BAC is selective for chalcopyrite, i.e., it is a collector for this mineral and not for sphalerite. The recovery of chalcopyrite in the floated product was a function of interaction between BAC concentration and pulp pH. The study showed that the novel cellulose-based collector had a better performance than the reagents used in the industrial flotation of Panasqueira ore.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123655
JournalColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Cellulose-based reagent
  • Copper beneficiation
  • Selective froth flotation
  • Sulphide ores


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