The effect of hydrodynamic conditions on the selective flotation of fully liberated low grade copper-nickel ore

Haresh Kumar*, Kirsi Luolavirta, Saad Ullah Akram, Hassan Mehmood, Saija Luukkanen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Low grade sulfide ores are difficult to process due to their composite mineralogy and their fine grained dissemination with gangue minerals. Therefore, fine grinding of such ores becomes essential to liberate valuable minerals. In this research, selective flotation was carried out using two pitched blade turbine impellers with diameters of 6 cm and 7 cm to float copper and nickel. The main focus of this research was to generate optimum hydrodynamic conditions that can effectively separate nickel and copper from gangue minerals. In addition, we investigated the effects of superficial gas velocity, impeller speed, bubble size distribution, and bubble surface area flux on the flotation recovery and rate constant. The results demonstrated that a 7 cm impeller comparatively produced optimum hydrodynamic conditions that improved Cu-Ni recovery and the rate constant. The maximum copper and nickel recoveries in the 7 cm impeller tests were observed at 93.1% and 72.5%, respectively. However, a significant decrease in the flotation rate of nickel was observed, due to entrainment of nickel in copper concentrate and the slime coating of gangue minerals on the nickel particle surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number328
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalMinerals
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Data processing
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Mineralogy
  • Selective flotation
  • Sensors and measurements

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