Image Analysis Evaluation of the Effect of Grinding Media on Selective Flotation of Two Zinc-Lead-Copper Ores

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 70, No. 782, 1977

William Petruk and Michael R. Hughson, CANMET, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, Ottawa

Image analysis studies were performed on mill products from pilot-plant and laboratory tests that had been conducted to determine the effect of grinding media on the selective flotation of two zinc-lead-copper ores. It was found that, when the ores had been ground to the same degree of fineness with flint pebbles, ceramic pebbles or ore fragments (autogenous grinding) as with steel balls, there generally was increased sphalerite, chalcopyrite and galena liberation in the flotation feeds, depending on the textures of the minerals. The increased sphalerite liberation fully accounted for the improved zinc recoveries that were obtained when steel balls were replaced by either pebbles or ore fragments. The increased chalcopyrite and galena liberation accounted for part of the changed technical efficiency of concentration, but other factors, probably changes in oxidation and reduction of iron and in consumption of oxygen, also contributed.
Keywords: Mineralogy, Image analysis, Grinding media, Flotation, Zinc-copper ores, Ore dressing, Extraction metallurgy, Pyrite, Sphalerite, Magnetite, Chalcopyrite, Brunswick No. 12 Mine, Mattagami Lake Mines Ltd.