Optimisation of spodumene flotation

M. Menéndez*, A. Vidal, J. Toraño, M. Gent

Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Minas, Universidad de Oviedo C/ Independencia,
13, 33004 Oviedo, Spain

Received 10 December 2002; accepted 15 March 2004


Results of investigations into the optimum conditions for concentration of spodumene by anionic froth flotation are presented. Parameters investigated include: collector dosage; cell rotor velocity; feed pH, conditioning period, temperature, solids content, and reprocessing steps required to yield an optimum product. Results are based upon sequential testing of various values for each parameter while maintaining all others constant. These show that optimum conditions are attained with: the pulp at a pH of 7.5 to 9.8, 18% solids, 15oC and a 10min conditioning period; a cell rotor velocity of 1040rpm; and that an oleic acid concentration of 1.4kg/t as a collector is adequate. It was also found that under these operating conditions, no significant increase in grade could be achieved with more than two passes through cleaner cells. Analysis of these tests indicates that a product with an optimum lithia content and a calculated recovery of 96.24% may be achieved by the cleaning the rougher concentrate twice in conventional sub-aeration flotation cells.

Keywords: Froth flotation; Operating parameters; Spodumene

* Corresponding author
   E-mail : mariom@etsimo.uniovi.es