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Influence of feed particle size on upgrading selectivity of scavenger stage of industrial copper ore flotation

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2015, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 215-221

Duchnowska, M.; Bakalarz, A.


The copper sulfide ore from the Legnica-Glogow Copper Basin in Poland, which is processed by KGHM Polska Miedz S.A., consists of three lithological fractions: dolomitic, sandstone and shale. The copper ore, depending on the mining area, contains all fractions in different ratios. The lithological fractions differ in the particle-size distributions of their useful minerals. In the dolomitic part of the ore, most of the metal sulfide particles are 50-200 microns in size, while those in the sandstone and carbonaceous shale are 30-200 and 5-40 microns in size, respectively. This complex composition results in different mineralization, physicochemical properties and, in particular, upgrading selectivity. Due to the specific nature of the examined copper ore, two of the crucial parameters determining the beneficiation efficiency are size and liberation of sulfide particles. We analyzed the influence of grain size of feed on scavenging selectivity in one of the KGHM flotation plants and performed evaluation and analysis of the upgrading results of industrial beneficiation of the ore, containing mostly dolomite and shale. The upgrading efficiency was estimated using a selectivity indicator obtained by means of the Fuerstenau upgrading curve, which was then correlated with the particle-size distribution of the flotation feed.