Characterisation of coarse composite sphalerite particles with respect to flotation

Shadrack Fosu, Allan Pring, William Skinner, Massimiliano Zanin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    The flotation response of a typical zinc-lead (Zn/Pb) ore, with respect to coarse composite (sulphide/non-sulphide) particles is reported. The flotation tests were carried out on a selected feed particle size range (-600 + 75 μm, at P80 of 390 μm) and the recovery of Zn composite particles analysed on a size by size basis. The best results were achieved with the use of 75 g/t sodium isopropyl xanthate (SIPX), obtaining a Zn recovery of 77%, with a significant improvement at the coarse end of the particle size distribution. Computerised scanning electron microscope (QEMSCAN) was used to characterise value mineral grain size and degree of liberation, as well as gangue and sphalerite association in particles reporting to both concentrate and tailings. A new characterisation function (Locking ratio, LR) was developed based on the data from the automated mineralogical analysis to characterise particles into two-phase composites with different degree of locking texture (simple and complex). The function, which is based on the mode of occurrence of sphalerite, grain size, proportion and composition of the constituent minerals in each particle, was used to study the flotation response of the particles with different degrees of locking. The results highlight the difference in recoverability of the sphalerite bearing particles with different degrees of locking, with simple locking texture giving higher recovery than complex locking texture, for the same overall liberation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)105-112
    Number of pages8
    JournalMinerals Engineering
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


    • Complex locking texture
    • Composite particles
    • Flotation
    • Simple locking texture
    • Sphalerite


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