The mineralogy of pyrrhotite from Sudbury CCN and Phoenix nickel ores and its effect on flotation performance
Canadian Metallurgical Quarterly
Centre for Minerals Research, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; Julius Krutschnitt Mineral Research Centre, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia; Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
The non-stoichiometric sulphide pyrrhotite (Fe1-xS), common to many nickel ores, occurs in a variety of crystallographic forms and compositions. In order to manipulate its performance in nickel processing operations either to target the recovery or rejection or pyrrhotite, one needs an understanding of pyrrhotite mineralogy, reactivity and the effect this may have on its flotation performance. In this study, a non-magnetic Fe 9S10 pyrrhotite from Sudbury CCN in Canada and a magnetic Fe7S8 pyrrhotite from Phoenix in Botswana were selected to explore the relationship between mineralogy, reactivity and microflotation. Non-magnetic Sudbury pyrrhotite was less reactive in terms of its oxygen uptake and showed the best collectorless flotation recovery. Magnetic Phoenix pyrrhotite was more reactive and showed poor collectorless flotation, which was significantly improved with the addition of xanthate and copper activation. These differences in reactivity and flotation performance are interpreted to be a result of the pyrrhotite mineralogy, the implications of which may aid in the manipulation of flotation performance. © 2011 Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum.
Botswana; Copper activation; Flotation performance; Flotation recovery; Microflotation; Nickel ores; Nonmagnetics; Oxygen uptake; Processing operations; Pyrrhotite; Reactivity; Sulphide flotation; Crystallography; Flotation; Mineralogy; Minerals; Nickel; Ore treatment; Oxidation; Oxygen; Iron ores