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Evaluation of novel Georgia Pacific clay binders in iron ore flotation

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2010, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 42-46

Tao, D.; Zhou, X.; Dopico, P.G.; Hines, J.; Kennedy, D.


 Reverse cationic flotation is the most widely utilized flotation method for concentrating iron ore. In this process, quartz is often floated with ether amines (R–(OCH2)3–NH2) partially neutralized with acetic acid. However, it is well known that the cationic flotation of quartz does not work well if a certain amount of slime is present in the ore slurry. To improve flotation performance, starch is often added to the flotation feed to selectively flocculate and depress the iron minerals and sodium silicate is used to disperse the silica gangue. The present study was conducted to improve the efficiency of iron ore flotation by the use of a new type of depressant for clay and iron minerals, Georgia Pacific (GP) clay binder. The GP clay binder minimizes slime adsorption on quartz and hematite particles by agglomerating clay particles to reduce their surface area. It also helps depress hematite flotation due to its unique chelating action on iron ions. The results from this study show that the GP clay binder is an effective depressant in iron ore flotation. When it was used as a substitute for corn starch, it increased concentrate grade from 60.78% to 67.67% and increased iron recovery from 71.96% to 72.90%. The combined use of GP clay binder with corn starch produced even better flotation performance, increasing iron recovery to 78.15%, while the concentrate grade remained stable at 67.08%.