Some Basic Mineralogical and Electrophysical Characteristics Affecting Auriferous Pyrite and Arsenpyrite Flotation

V.A. Chanturiya, A.A. Fedorov and T.N. Matveyeva*

Institute of Comprehensive Exploitation of Mineral Resources (IPKON), Russian Academy of Sciences, Kryukovskiy tupic, 4, 111020 Moscow, Russia

Received 21 February 2002; accepted 10 April 2003


Pyrite and arsenopyrite are the main mineral concentrators of gold. The presence of interstitial gold in the pyrite and arsenopyrite crystal lattice results in the formation of structural defects that cause significant changes and variations in the electrophysical characteristics of the minerals. Beside gold content and the nature of its dissemination, pyrites and arsenopyrites from gold ore deposits are characterized by a rich spectrum of impurity species, with generally above average relative abundance of Au, Ag, Cu, Pb, Zn and As. The presence of these isomorphous impurities in pyrite and the non-stoichiometry of the major pyrite components (Fe and S) are responsible for the variability of semiconducting, electrophysical and flotation properties of this mineral.
The mineralogical peculiarities and electrophysical characteristics of auriferous pyrites and arsenopyrites from several gold deposits were examined and correlation between element composition, mineral electrode potential, electrical resistivity, termal electromotive force coefficients and their flotation properties has been revealed. The role of isomorphous impurities in the formation of hydrophobic sulfhydric collector layers on mineral surfaces in complex ore processing has been elucidated. The parameters characterizing the variability of the Fe:S ratio in pyrite of different origin have been determined based on non-stoichiometry characteristics of natural gold-bearing sulfide crystals. It has been found that pyrites non-stoichiometric composition correlates with the collector chemisorption on their surface.

Keywords: Flotation; Pyrite; Arsenopyrite

* Corresponding author
   E-mail : tmatveyeva@mail.ru