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Advances in selective flocculation processes for the beneficiation of kaolin

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2012, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 27-35

Pruett, R. J.


Selective flocculation enables the production of high-brightness kaolin products from kaolin ore once considered too poor in quality for beneficiation into paper-coating pigments. Anatase, Ti(1-X)FeXO2, with X = 0 to 0.05, is a common iron-bearing impurity in sedimentary kaolin that can be unresponsive to kaolin beneficiation processes, such as magnetic separation, due to its extremely fine particle size (<0.3 µm), or chemical bleaching, because of its chemical stability. Described here are selective flocculation technologies that separate anatase by flocculating anatase or flocculating kaolinite from dispersed slurries. Applying the advances in the chemical and mechanical dispersion of ultrafine particles and the selective aggregation of kaolinite or anatase particles have resulted in the selective flocculation processes practiced today that have increased process recoveries from those technologies practiced beginning in the 1960s.