Effect of particle size on flotation performance of complex sulphide ores
Flotation processes occurring in the bulk and froth phases have a characteristic influence on the structural features and dynamics of the flotation froth. It is recognized that the structure and texture of a mineral froth is a good indicator of flotation separation performance. The surface froth feature and dynamics are presented by three features extracted from the digitized images of the froths, i.e. SNE, a rough indication of the average bubble size of the froth, froth stability and the average grey level of the froth, an indication of mineral loading. Particle size is an important parameter in flotation operation. Nowadays, particle size is often measured and controlled in flotation concentrators. In this study the dependence of the froth structures on the particle size variation was investigated on the batch flotation of a sulfide ore from the Merensky reef in South Africa, and the size by size recovery curves were studied as well. In general medium particles produced bubbles smaller than those observed in the presence of fine and coarse particles, and the recover rates were larger. Entrainment was a contributory mechanism to the recovery of fine particles. The fluctuation of flotation indices on the particle size change can be diagnosed and predicted by the froth structures change with a high degree of accuracy.