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Minerals Engineering 24 (2011) 754759

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Minerals Engineering
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Effects of aluminosilicate minerals on coppermolybdenum otation


from Sarcheshmeh porphyry ores
E. Jorjani a,, H.R. Barkhordari a, M. Tayebi Khorami a, A. Fazeli b
a
Mining Engineering Department, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
b
Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex, Rafsanjan, Iran

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The presence of aluminosilicate minerals adversely affects the oatability of copper during processing of
Received 8 June 2010 Sarcheshmeh porphyry ores. In this work, ores containing different types and quantities of aluminosili-
Accepted 27 January 2011 cate minerals, as well as copper suldes (i.e., chalcopyrite and chalcocite), were examined in the labora-
Available online 22 February 2011
tory to determine how aluminosilicate minerals affect the oatability of copper and to nd ways to
decrease their unwanted effects. It was shown that ore types that contain muscovite and vermiculite
Keywords: have the greatest effect on the oatability of copper suldes. To overcome this problem, two reagent
Aluminosilicate minerals
strategies were used: (a) dextrin at 100, 200, and 600 g/ton and (b) a mixture of dextrin, sodium silicate,
Copper
Flotation
and sodium hexametaphosphate (20%, 40%, and 40% by weight, respectively) at 200 and 300 g/ton. The
reagent mixture (case b) at a dosage of 200 g/ton improved the copper recovery and decreased the grade
and the recovery of Al2O3 and SiO2 in the otation concentrate. As an alternative solution, otation at
reduced pulp density (24%) improved the grade and the recovery of copper and molybdenum and
decreased the grade and recovery of Al2O3 and SiO2 in comparison to the currently used pulp density
(29%) in the Sarcheshmeh otation plant.
2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction crease in the quantities of ne particles in the crushing and grind-


ing circuits; and (e) the occulation phenomenon in the froth zone
Porphyry copper deposits are the worlds main source of copper, (Bulatovic et al., 1999; Bulatovic, 2007).
molybdenum, and rhenium. They are also a signicant source of Guidice (1934) proposed that clay slimes have the opposite
gold, silver, tin, and a range of by-product metals (British geologi- charge to that of the mineral surface and, therefore, that slime
cal survey, 2007). In many porphyry copper ores, various alumino- coating is the result of electrostatic forces. Other research (Sun,
silicate minerals are present, such as kaolinite, chlorite, illite, and 1943; Fuerstenau, 1958) has conrmed that the clay coating on
montmorillonite. mineral surfaces results from electrostatic attraction. It was also
Despite extensive studies of the inuence of aluminosilicate noted that soluble ions and pH can inuence clay coating and that
minerals on coal otation (Jowett, 1956; Arnold and Aplan, 1986; it is less likely to occur in a dispersed system (Sun, 1943; Fuerste-
Oats et al., 2010), little work has been done to determine the inu- nau, 1958). Dovenfeld (1953) and Bankoff (1943) showed that
ence of aluminosilicate minerals on the otation of non-metallic slime coatings are the result of chemical interaction.
minerals (Plaksin and Ocolovich, 1965) and porphyry copper ores Wen and Sun (1977) showed that clay minerals induce an ar-
(Bulatovic et al., 1999). mor-coating on air-bubbles, thus preventing the attachment of
The presence of aluminosilicate minerals in copper otation larger mineral particles. Cazerlend and Uork (1958) showed that
causes different problems, such as (a) loss in recovery, possibly clay minerals adsorb much of the reagent needed to oat coarser
due to the presence of slime coating on air-bubbles or on the min- particles, and, hence, a reduction in the recovery of minerals is
eral surfaces; (b) increases of reagent consumption by ne parti- expected.
cles; (c) the transfer of large quantities of slimes/clay minerals Sarcheshmeh is a major porphyry copper deposit located in Ker-
into the concentrate during the roughing and scavenging otation man Province in the southeastern part of Iran. Geologically, it is di-
stages, which subsequently requires higher temperatures in the vided into three zones: oxide, supergene, and hypogene (National
smelting process and difculties in discharging the slag; (d) in- Iranian copper industries company, 1977). The oval-shaped ore
body has dimensions of 2000 m  900 m, and it is centered on
Corresponding author. Tel.: +98 912 1776737. the Sarcheshmeh porphyry stock. Within the mentioned area,
E-mail address: esjorjani@yahoo.com (E. Jorjani). and according to the drilling depth of about 150 m, the ore body

0892-6875/$ - see front matter 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.mineng.2011.01.005
E. Jorjani et al. / Minerals Engineering 24 (2011) 754759 755

contains 450 million tones, averaging 1.13% Cu and 0.03% Mo at a produce a nal product with about 70 wt.% solids of less than
cut-off grade of 0.4% Cu (Waterman and Hamilton, 1975). The 75 lm. The ground samples were used in the otation studies.
hypogene zone, which is currently being exploited, consists of a
potassic alteration zone with potassium feldspar and secondary
2.3. Flotation experiments
biotite, sericite, chlorite, and epidote minerals. In this zone the
hornblende, biotite, and plagioclase have been altered to amphi-
The rst stage of the otation tests were conducted in a 2.5 L
bole, magnetite, and sericite, respectively (Shahabpoor, 1982).
Denver laboratory otation cell with a rotation rate of 1100 rpm
The clay minerals that resulted from alteration, along with cop-
and according to the rougher otation reagent regime of Sar-
per sulde minerals, are the major mineral phases that are fed to
cheshmeh copper otation plant and was named as standard
the copper concentrator plant (Shahabpoor, 1982).
tests. Fifteen grams per ton of the collector Nascol 1451 and
In the concentrator plant, after three stages of crushing, the ore
20 g/ton of the collector Z11, 15 g/ton of the frother Dow 250,
is fed to ball mills in closed circuit with cyclones to produce 70% of
and 15 g/ton of the frother MIBC were used in the otation tests.
the product ner than 75 lm. The concentrate of the rougher ota-
The pulp density was adjusted at 29 wt.% solids. The pH was ad-
tion is reground, and the tailings are discarded to the nal tails. The
justed to 11.8 using lime before reagent addition. The total froth
cleaning and re-cleaning stages produce copper concentrate. The
collecting time (600 s) was divided into periods of 60, 120, 180,
reagents used in the otation circuit are the collectors of Nascol
and 240 s, and the collected concentrates and the nal tail were
1451 (dithiophosphate + mercaptobenzothiazol) and Z11 (sodium
analysed for Cu, Mo, SiO2, and Al2O3.
isopropyl xanthate), frothers of Dow 250 (polypropylene glycol
In the second stage of the otation tests, in addition to the re-
methyl ether), and MIBC (methyl isobutyl carbonyl).
agents used in the standard test, two different reagent strategies,
To separate and recover the molybdenite mineral from the cop-
i.e., (a) dextrin with the dosages of 100, 200, and 600 g/ton and
per concentrate, copper sulde and iron sulde minerals are de-
(b) a mixture of dextrin, sodium silicate, and sodium hexameta-
pressed and the molybdenite oats. The molybdenite concentrate
phosphate (at weight percentages of 20%, 40%, and 40%, respec-
with the grade between 53% and 55% Mo and the copper sulde
tively) at 200 and 300 g/ton was used. The aim was to examine
concentrate with the grade of 31% Cu (chalcopyrite chalcocite,
the depressant effect of dextrin and the dispersant effects of so-
and covellite) are recovered as nal concentrates with an efciency
dium silicate and sodium hexametaphosphate on Al2O3, SiO2, and
of 83-87%, depending on the ore type and the operating conditions
Cu (%) assay and the recovery of the otation concentrate.
(Banisi and Finch, 2001; Poorkani and Banisi, 2005).
Finally, in the third stage of the otation tests, different pulp
It is known that aluminosilicate minerals adversely affect the
densities were examined to evaluate their effect on Al2O3, SiO2,
otation of copper suldes in the Sarcheshmeh otation plant;
Mo, and Cu (%) assay and the recovery of the otation concentrate.
the maximum grade levels of Al2O3 and SiO2 and the minimum
grade level of copper in the concentrate of the rougher otation
should be 8%, 20%, and 7%, respectively (Barkhordari et al. 2009).
3. Results and discussions
The determination of the effects of different aluminosilicate miner-
als on the oatability of copper and of how to decrease their un-
3.1. Grinding tests
wanted effects are the subjects of the current work.
Wet sieving was used on grinding products and log-linear plot
2. Experimental results of cumulative% passing versus size was prepared. The results are
shown in Fig. 1. According to this gure, at a grinding time of eight
2.1. Sampling, chemical and mineralogical analysis minutes for the sample nos. 13, products with 70% less than 76,
69, and 71 lm were achieved. In comparison to the sample nos.
The copper ore samples used in this study were prepared from 13, an extensive variety of aluminosilicates minerals is present
working benches of the Sarcheshmeh copper mine. They repre- in the sample no. 4; subsequently a ner product with 70% less
sented a range of different alteration and aluminosilicate minerals than 48 lm was achieved for this sample.
as well as different feeds to the plant. The samples were divided
into four groups based on the amount of Al2O3, SiO2 and Cu (%)
3.2. Standard tests: Effect of type and level of aluminosilicate minerals
and on mineralogy considerations. The chemical compositions
and the mineral constituents of the samples were determined by
Fig. 2 shows the Cu grade and recovery as well as Al2O3 and SiO2
X-ray uorescence (XRF) and X-ray diffraction (XRD), respectively.
recovery curves for sample no. 1. According to this gure, at a o-
The results are shown in Tables 1 and 2.
tation time of six minutes, a copper recovery of 91.7% was
achieved. After six minutes, no signicant change in copper recov-
2.2. Size reduction ery was observed. However, the concentrate grade dropped from
14.3% to 11.95%, a reduction of 2.35%, when the otation time in-
Crushing with a laboratory Jaw crusher was performed to creased from 6 to 10 min. The recoveries of SiO2 and Al2O3 were
achieve a product with 100% minus 10 mesh (2000 lm). The size low, 0.9% and 1.6%, respectively. Finally, at the end of the otation
reduction was continued by grinding the product from the crusher time, concentrate with a grade of 11.9% copper, 4.5% Al2O3, and
in a ball mill for eight minutes at a pulp density of 60 wt.% solids to 14.7% SiO2 was obtained.
Fig. 3 shows the Cu grade and recovery as well as Al2O3 and SiO2
recovery curves for sample no. 2. According to Fig. 3, the otation
Table 1
kinetics of this ore is high enough to reach the recovery to 86.7%
Chemical composition of the samples.
within 1 min and 96.7% within 3 min. After 3 min, no signicant
Sample no. SiO2 (%) Al2O3 (%) S (%) Cu (%) Fe (%) Mo (%) change in the copper recovery was observed; however the copper
1 64.32 15.28 1.52 0.7 2.76 0.013 grade dropped 3.7% when the otation time was increased from 3
2 73.82 10.33 0.64 3.03 0.46 0.060 to 6 min. The recoveries of SiO2 and Al2O3 were very low, 0.8% and
3 70.98 11.07 0.96 1.66 1.53 0.011
1.7%, respectively. Finally, at the end of otation time, concentrate
4 47.37 18.96 2.47 1.55 7.22 0.14
with a grade of 47.6% copper, 4.2% Al2O3, and 15.4% SiO2 was ob-
756 E. Jorjani et al. / Minerals Engineering 24 (2011) 754759

Table 2
Mineralogical composition of the samples.

Sample no. Mineralogical composition (%)


Quartz Illite Sanidine Pyrite Albeit Chalcopyrite Chalcocite Vermiculite Orthoclase Muscovite Chlorite Kaolinite
1 27.9 12.5 16.7 2.5 16.1 5.4 5.5 7.7
2 51.4 13.5 9.6 2.5 7.5 5.2 6.8 3.5
3 44.3 9.2 9.3 2.2 2.4 6.3 16.4 9.4
4 11.1 14.4 4.9 5 12.7 8.7 13.3 4.8 17.7 3.7 3.5

Fig. 1. Particle size distribution for samples no. 14.

Fig. 3. Cu grade and recovery (a), Al2O3 and SiO2 recovery (b) curves for sample no.
2.

when the otation time increased from 6 to 10 min. The recoveries


of SiO2 and Al2O3 are relatively low, i.e., 1.2% and 2.8%, respectively,
for a otation time of 6 min. however, the recovery of Al2O3 was
approximately double the recovery of SiO2. Finally, at the end of
the otation time, concentrate with a grade of 22.2% copper, 5.8%
Al2O3, and 18.2% SiO2 was obtained. Again, the presence of chalco-
cite in this sample had a positive effect on the otation kinetics.
Fig. 5 shows the Cu grade and recovery as well as Al2O3 and SiO2
recovery curves for sample no. 4. It is clear from the gure that this
type of ore did not produce a good Cu recovery. The maximum
recovery of 81.9% was achieved after 10 min of otation time.
The recoveries of SiO2 and Al2O3 were signicant, i.e., 3.9% and
3.7%, respectively. Finally, concentrate with a grade of 14.7% cop-
per, 8.9% Al2O3 and 24.4% SiO2 was obtained. For this sample, the
grades of Al2O3 and SiO2 are higher than the permitted level in
the rougher otation concentrate from the Sarcheshmeh plant
(SiO2 < 20% and Al2O3 < 8%).
Fig. 2. Cu grade and recovery (a), Al2O3 and SiO2 recovery (b) curves for sample no. According to the above-mentioned results, sample no. 4, which
1. produced high levels of Al2O3 (8.9%) and SiO2 (24.4%) and a low le-
vel of copper recovery (81.9%) in the otation concentrate, can
cause problems in the otation circuit. In the pulp preparation
tained. The presence of chalcocite in this sample had a positive ef- stage for laboratory otation tests for sample no. 4, the resulting
fect on the otation kinetics. pulp had high adhesion and viscosity properties. Also, XRD studies
Fig. 4 shows the Cu grade and recovery as well as Al2O3 and SiO2 showed that vermiculite, muscovite, and illite were the main alu-
recovery curves for sample no. 3. The recovery reaches 96.9% with- minosilicate minerals in sample no. 4. By comparing the mineral-
in six minutes. After six minutes, no signicant change in the cop- ogical compositions of sample nos. 14 in Table 2, it can be
per recovery was seen; however, the copper grade dropped 1.2% concluded that vermiculite and muscovite can be the problematic
E. Jorjani et al. / Minerals Engineering 24 (2011) 754759 757

decreasing the grades of Al2O3 and SiO2 and/or their recoveries


are presented. This study also focused on nding ways to increase
the rate of copper recovery and its grade for sample no. 4.

3.3. Effect of dextrin and reagent mixtures

3.3.1. Effect of dextrin


Dextrins are water-soluble polysaccharides. They are interme-
diate products that result from the hydrolytic breakdown of the
starch. The adsorption mechanism of starch-type polysaccharides
on mineral surfaces is not well understood. It has been proposed
that chemical interactions and some type of hydrophobic bonding
is responsible for the adsorption of dextrin on mineral surfaces (Liu
and Laskowski, 1989).
In the second stage of the otation tests, the otation conditions
were adjusted according to the standard otation tests. Different
dosages of dextrin, i.e., 100, 200, and 600 g/ton, were used as well.
Fig. 6 illustrates the Cu grade and recovery of sample no. 4 as a
function of different amounts of dextrin. It can be seen that the
copper otation recovery ascended when the dextrin dosage in-
creased to 200 g/ton, but dosages greater than 200 g/ton resulted
in recovery decreases. By adding about 600 g/ton of dextrin, the
recovery value reached 80.1%, which is lower than the standard
condition (without adding dextrin). So the maximum recovery
(88.2%) was achieved by adding 200 g/ton of dextrin. The copper
grade decreased steadily to 14% with increasing amounts of dex-
trin. Fig. 7 shows the grade and recovery curves for Al2O3 and
SiO2. It is obvious that grade and recovery of Al2O3 and SiO2 were
Fig. 4. Cu grade and recovery (a), Al2O3 and SiO2 recovery (b) curves for sample no. enhanced when the dextrin dosage increased to 200 g/ton, but they
3.
decreased as dextrin dosage was increased to 600 g/ton.
Fig. 8 presents the effects of dextrin on recovery and grade of
molybdenum. It can be seen that adding dextrin has a negative ef-
fect on the grade and recovery of molybdenum; the curves always
have a negative slope, and the values are lower than the standard
condition.
Entrainment is a non-selective process resulting from the recov-
ery of water into the froth concentrate. Fine particles (<30 lm) that
are not collected through bubble/particle attachment will report to
the froth concentrate in direct proportion to the amount of product
water. Water recovery in different dextrin dosages was shown in
Table 3. It can be seen that water recovery ascended when the dex-
trin dosage increased to 200 g/ton, but dosages greater than 200 g/
ton resulted in water recovery decreases. By adding about 600 g/
ton of dextrin, the water recovery value reached 17.6%.
According to the above-mentioned results, adding dextrin at a
dosage of 200 g/ton can increase copper recovery, but it also in-
creased Al2O3 and SiO2 grade and recovery; the copper grade de-
creased as well. Adding 600 g/ton dextrin decreased both the
grade and recovery of copper, Al2O3, and SiO2. The action of this
reagent is to depress minerals.

Fig. 5. Cu grade and recovery (a), Al2O3 and SiO2 recovery (b) curves for sample no.
4.

aluminosilicate minerals in the copper otation circuit; so, in fol-


lowing section, the results of our study of potential solutions for Fig. 6. Effect of dextrin on copper grade and recovery for sample no. 4.
758 E. Jorjani et al. / Minerals Engineering 24 (2011) 754759

Fig. 9. Copper grade and recovery as a function of mixed reagents dosage for
sample no. 4.

Fig. 7. Effect of dextrin on Al2O3 and SiO2 grade and recovery for sample no. 4.

Fig. 8. Effect of dextrin on molybdenum grade and recovery for sample no. 4.

Fig. 10. Al2O3 and SiO2 grade and recovery as a function of mixed reagents dosage
for sample no. 4.
Table 3
Water recovery in different dextrin dosages.

Dextrin (g/ton) 0 100 200 600


Water recovery (%) 18.5 19.6 21.8 17.6

3.3.2. Effects of reagent mixtures


Sodium silicate is used extensively in mineral otation as a
depressant, a dispersant, and as a controlling agent for some solu-
ble ions, such as calcium (Radley, 1968). In acting as a dispersant,
disassociated polysilicic acid, which is partly ionized in aqueous
solution, can be absorbed on the surfaces of solids, leading to an in-
crease in the negative charge of the solid and, consequently, stabi-
lizes mineral systems against aggregation (Bulatovic, 2007). Also, it Fig. 11. Effect of mixture of reagents on molybdenum grade and recovery for
has been reported that polymeric sodium silicate adsorbs by multi- sample no. 4.
ple weak bonds to form hydrated layers at the mineral surface. As a
result, dispersion is due to both increased negative zeta potential Fig. 9 shows the grade and recovery of copper as a function of
values and hydrated layers (Leja, 1982). different dosages of the mixed reagents. It can be seen that, in com-
Song et al. (2009) used sodium hexametaphosphate as the dis- parison to the standard condition with copper recovery of 81.2%,
persant in the otation of nely disseminated ores. They found it to adding 200 g/ton of the mixed reagents improved copper recovery
be an effective dispersant in the otation and sought to identify the to 84.4%; the copper grade was approximately constant when the
mechanism by which this occurred. They found that, upon the dosage of mixed reagents increased to 200 g/ton. Increasing the
adsorption of polymetaphosphate anions on the mineral surfaces, mixed reagents to 300 g/ton decreased both copper grade and
the electric double layer repulsion and steric repulsion between recovery.
both valuable and gangue mineral particles in aqueous suspen- Fig. 10 shows that, when going from the standard condition of
sions were increased simultaneously. 0 g/ton of mixed reagents toward 200 g/ton, the grade and recov-
In this stage of the otation tests, a mixture of dextrin, so- ery of Al2O3 and SiO2 decreased. Further increasing of the mixed re-
dium silicate, and sodium hexametaphosphate reagents (20%, agents dosage to 300 g/ton can increase Al2O3 and SiO2 grade and
40%, and 40% by weight, respectively) at 200 and 300 g/ton recovery.
was used to examine the positive effect of dextrin on increasing Fig. 11 shows the grade and recovery of molybdenum for differ-
copper recovery, as well as any possibility of decreasing Al2O3 ent dosages of mixed reagents. It can be concluded from the gure
and SiO2 grade and recovery, using sodium silicate and sodium that both molybdenum grade and recovery decreased with increas-
hexametaphosphate. ing dosages of mixed reagents.
E. Jorjani et al. / Minerals Engineering 24 (2011) 754759 759

Table 4
Effects of pulp density on copper, molybdenum, Al2O3, and SiO2 grade and recovery.

Pulp density (%) SiO2 grade (%) SiO2 recovery (%) Al2O3 grade (%) Al2O3 recovery (%) Cu grade (%) Cu recovery (%) Mo grade (%) Mo recovery (%)
24 17.8 2.76 5.8 2.38 16.32 84.46 1.04 61.82
29 21.61 3 8.15 3.16 15.48 81.23 0.7 50.15

Finally, the optimum dosage of mixed reagents for improving Acknowledgments


copper recovery and decreasing Al2O3, SiO2 grade and recovery is
200 g/ton. The authors gratefully acknowledge the nancial supports pro-
vided by R&D division of Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex and Sci-
ence and Research Branch of Islamic Azad University.
3.4. Effect of pulp density
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