Orfom® D8: A Viable Replacement for NaHS as a Depressant in the Chalcopyrite-Molybdenite Flotation System

Additonal authors: LaDouceur, R.. Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:

Proceedings, Vol. Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019, 2019

Timbillah, S.

A low carbon-chain trithiocarbonate ((NaOOC)CH2SCSSNa), known as Orfom® D8, was tested as an organic depressant in the differential flotation separation of chalcopyrite and molybdenite in the presence of sodium isopropyl xanthate (SIPX) or potassium ethyl xanthate (KEX). Flotation studies show that Orfom® D8 depressed chalcopyrite while molybdenite remained floatable. A study of the mechanism of adsorption indicated that Orfom® D8 adsorbs on chalcopyrite through its trithiol (CS -) functional group via both chemisorption and Orfom® D8-metal complexation. The Orfom® D8 depressant is selective and does not form any Orfom® D8-molybdenite bonds. Thus, the combination of the depressant in the presence of either collectors depressed the chalcopyrite and floated the molybdenite. Fundamental parameters of the Orfom® D8 including pKa determination as well as possible decomposition products of the depressant are reported. This study includes an economic case illustrating why using Orfom® D8 can be beneficial. INTRODUCTION Depressants are incorporated in mineral flotation units in the minerals processing industry to make or keep certain minerals selectively hydrophilic. Most reagents used are inorganic and include, for instance, sodium hydrosulphide (NaHS) which is the major reagent used for depressing sulphide minerals, particularly those containing copper, iron and lead. However, the issues with its use include high toxicity, tendency to explode, strong odour, and high consumption due to required high dosages as well as its tendency to oxidise in air. The latter can be overcome by conducting flotation in inert atmosphere such as nitrogen and recycling of the flotation process water. The use of more novel depressants that are essentially organic including homopolar reagents with hydrophilic functional groups on both ends of its structure adsorb onto a target mineral surface with one polar end, the other polar end orients into the bulk solution making the surface hydrophilic and thus, ensuring that the desired mineral does not float. The stringent environmental and safety regulations being implemented in recent times mean that the search for more environmentally friendly chemical reagents is a must have. The use of organic depressants for flotation systems such as Cu-Mo sulfide bulk concentrates has become increasingly important because of the health, safety and environmental issues surrounding the use of inorganic depressants. Nagaraj et al. (1983) investigated the Cu-Mo sulphide flotation system using a structure-activity study of depressants. They found that a major advantage of organic depressants is the ability to tailor-make organic molecules to suit many requirements and thus, eliminate the guess work approach that was predominant in the industry.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019