Magnetic conditioning of sulfide minerals to improve recovery of fines in flotation – a plant practice
Minerals & Metallurgical Processing
, 2018, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 46-54
In flotation practices, as particles become finer, such as smaller than 20 μm, process efficiency declines markedly. Selective agglomeration of fine particles is a technique to enhance the recovery of fine valuable minerals in flotation circuits. Different agglomerating methods have been introduced and tested. One method that has recently received much attention is to make use of magnetic force to aggregate fine particles. A selective aggregation of fine paramagnetic particles, such as sulfide minerals, can be achieved in the high-intensity magnetic field prior to or during flotation. The method is simple, selective and effective for fine particles and has low operational cost, though a minimum magnetic susceptibility for fine grains is required to promote the process.
In this paper, the implementation of the ProFlote magnetic conditioning device in Boliden’s Garpenberg old concentrator in Sweden, where a complex massive sulfide ore is treated, is presented and discussed based on Boliden’s Garpenberg plant. The results showed an increase in the flotation recovery of fine valuable minerals. Zinc (Zn) production was increased by between 1,100 and 1,500 t/a, while salable yearly silver (Ag) production was increased by 1,500 kg. The copper (Cu) grade in the final concentrate was increased by 1 percent, while reductions in its Zn and lead (Pb) grades were obtained. Moreover, considerable reduction in Zn deportment to the final tail was observed.