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ArticleName Activation of antimony minerals by copper and lead cations during flotation
DOI 10.17580/or.2023.04.07
ArticleAuthor Solozhenkin P. M.

Institute of Comprehensive Exploitation of Mineral Resources RAS (Moscow, Russia):

Solozhenkin P. M., Chief Researcher, Doctor of Engineering Sciences, Professor,


Metal cations are widely used to activate minerals during flotation. Studies by the nuclear quadrupole resonance (NQR) method have shown that lead ions activate the Sb2S3 surface, creating favorable conditions for interaction with xanthate and surface hydrophobization, which is extensively applied in flotation. The solubility product for Hg2+, Cu2+ complexes with xanthate is much lower than that of Pb2+. Lead salts, however, are the best antimonite activators during its flotation with xanthate. Copper cation migration deep into the mineral lattice may be suggested as one of the causes for their weak activation ability towards antimonite as compared to lead ions. Improved flotation performance may be achieved by reducing the degree of migration through sequential treatment of antimonite with salts of heavy metals, in particular, using a cation mix of Zn2+ + Cu2+. The mechanism of activation of antimonite and aurostibite by lead and copper ions was analyzed using molecular modeling methods. Advanced physicochemical studies have shown the preferential formation of copper compounds in the Cu(I) oxidation state. It has been established that lead ions activate the antimonite surface through sorption on it, which facilitates interaction with xanthate and hydrophobizes the surface. Copper cations, unlike lead cations, penetrate into the crystal lattice of the mineral, which hinders interaction with the collector. Models of aurostibite, a mineral that is an alloy of gold with Sb, have been created. A number of complexes of antimony with composites of promising reagents have been designed.

keywords Antimonite, aurostibite, activation, lead, copper, flotation, reagents

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