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Flocculation and dispersion studies of iron ore using laser scattering particle size analysis

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2015, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 191-195

Haselhuhn, H.; Kawatra, S.K.

In many mineral processing applications it is necessary to know the isoelectric points of the various minerals in the ore to properly perform flotation and other mineral separations. However, current zeta potential analysis technology used to determine the isoelectric point of a particle suspension cannot deliver the isoelectric point of each individual mineral, just an average of the mineral system. Traditionally, individual isoelectric points have been gathered by testing pure, synthetic minerals. These values can vary widely depending on the mineral synthesis procedure and the water quality used during the isoelectric point analysis. A more robust approach for determining the actual isoelectric point of a particular mineral in a mixture of minerals is needed.
  This paper details a method for determining the isoelectric point of an iron oxide mineral in a siliceous iron ore. The method uses a laser scattering particle size analyzer and a pH electrode to determine the pH at which the liberated mineral particles begin to flocculate as pH is decreased. The pH at which the average particle size rises dramatically is the isoelectric point of the mineral with the highest isoelectric point in the ore. This measurement technique was used on natural hematite, goethite and siderite ores as well as a synthetic mixture of pure silica and pure hematite. The results for synthetic hematite mixtures were comparable to literature values.