Alteration of chalcopyrite’s surface chemistry during stockpiling and its impact on flotation

CIM Journal, Vol. 3, No. 3, 2012
S. Kelebek Queen’s University, Kingston, ON B. Nanthakumar Process Research ORTECH Inc., Mississauga, ON
Abstract
The sensitivity of sulphide minerals towards oxidation depends on the
mineralogical makeup and nature of sulphide ores. This paper focuses on
chalcopyrite behaviour in a nickel-copper sulphide- ore matrix that was aged in
the mine-site stockpiles. Results of collectorless, collector-induced flotation
and recovery by size are presented following a discussion of XPS analysis that
was used to gain insight into oxidative alteration of chalcopyrite’s surface
chemistry. Chalcopyrite maintains its high flotation activity despite exposure
to weeks of oxidative conditions. It is concluded that chalcopyrite is quite
tolerant to stockpile oxidation due to various factors related to alteration of
its surface chemistry.
Keywords: Chalcopyrite, Stockpile oxidation, Surface chemistry, XPS analysis, Flotation, Recovery by size
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