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Recent technological breakthroughs in phosphate processing

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2012, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 36-46

Zhang, P.; El-Shall, H.


This paper gives a review of promising technologies for phosphate processing, and covers flotation, analysis and process control, as well as tailings treatment and utilization. Air bubbles of less than a µm in size, combined with relatively large bubbles, have been demonstrated, both in the lab and on a pilot scale, to improve flotation dramatically, by reducing reagent use while improving product grade. Innovative use of polymers has allowed rapid dewatering of fine tailings with a final product that does not segregate. The first online laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) analyzer was created, allowing rapid analysis of wet samples using the laser technology. Many large commercial projects are successfully pursuing the utilization of phosphogypsum.