Electrochemical Conditioning of a Mineral Particle Bed Electrode for Flotation
Description:External control of the electrochemical potential of a bed of mineral particles has been investigated by the Bureau of Mines as a method for controlling particle inter-action with organic collectors and thus, flotation response. A cylindrically shaped, 200-to 300-g bed of sulfide mineral particles was used as the working electrode to examine the potential distribution in the bed. The dissolved oxygen concentration of the electrolyte had a significant effect on the potential profile across the mineral bed. Low oxygen levels were necessary to achieve uniform electrochemical potential distributions. Flotation separation of a chalcocite-pyrite mineral mixture by controlled potential was achieved using ethylxanthate, but the flotation behavior of chalcocite and pyrite from the mixture does not follow the flotation behavior of the individual minerals. That is, the presence of another sulfide mineral alters the flotation behavior with ethylxan-thate. Galvanic interaction due to mineral-to-mineral contact between chalcocite and pyrite contributes to differences in the recovery. Chalcocite dissolution products had a deleterious effect on pyrite flotation by activating flotation below -0.1 V (saturated calomel electrode) and depressing flotation above -0.1 V. Pyrite dissolution products had no effect on chalcocite flotation.
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