Selective flotation of sphalerite from Pb-Zn ore without copper activation

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 80, No. 902, 1987

M. LEROUX, S.R. RAO and J.A. FINCH, Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec

Poor Pb-Zn selectivity during Pb flotation in laboratory tests on a Mississippi Valley-type Pb-Zn ore was traced to apH effect. In the pH range, 9.5 to 11.0 sphalerite floated readily without copper activation. Compared to sphalerite flotation with copper activation this procedure gave equivalent selectivity but reduced flotation rate. Possible mechanisms of this sphalerite flotation without copper activation are discussed. Activation by Fe(OH)2 is suggested, the Fe++ ions being derived from superficial oxidation of py rite in the ore.
Mots Clés: Mineral processing, Flotation, Sphalerite, Lead-zinc ore, Galena, Copper activation.