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Surface chemistry considerations in the flotation of rare-earth and other semisoluble salt minerals

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2013, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 24-37

Zhang, X.; Du, H.; Wang, X.; Miller, J.D.


Semisoluble salt minerals are characterized by their ionic bonding and are distinguished from soluble salt minerals by their limited solubility in water. One group of semisoluble salt minerals being considered is the alkaline earth salt minerals, including fluorite (CaF2), calcite (CaCO3) and apatite (Ca5F (PO4)3), as well as celestite (SrSO4) and barite (BaSO4). Another group of semisoluble salt minerals being considered is the rare-earth salts, which include bastnaesite ((Ce, La) CO3F), monazite (CePO4) and xenotime (YPO4). Surface chemistry features of these selected semisoluble salt minerals are discussed with respect to flotation separations. First, the surface chemistry features of alkaline earth semisoluble salt minerals are reviewed, and then the surface chemistry features of rare-earth semisoluble salt minerals are examined. The discussion includes electrokinetic behavior, wetting characteristics and collector adsorption.