MSE Research Project Database

Improving flotation recovery by application of oils to enhance collection of coarse particles with low surface liberation

Project Leader: George Franks
Collaborators: David Beattie (University of South Australia)
Sponsors: ARC Centre of Excellence for Enabling Eco-Efficient Beneficiation of Minerals
Primary Contact: George Franks (
Keywords: mineral processing
Disciplines: Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

This project will investigate the use of oil media designed to spread from small patches of valuable mineral on the surface of a particle to make the particle recoverable by froth flotation.  The strategy of using oil droplets to collect coarse composites presents challenges and opportunities. The microscale phenomena of oil adhesion and spreading and the attachment of oil coated particles to bubbles will be investigated by our collaborators. The focus of the current project is to investigate the recovery of these oil coated particles via froth flotation.  The recovery of such particles may require more quiescent flow within the flotation cell than conventional flotation to avoid detachment of particles from bubbles. These conditions will be investigated.  The conditions need to be optimised to achieve maximum recovery.  Loss of valuable material to the tailings should be avoided. Stability of the froth will also be investigated. Collection of coarse composite particles is challenging but an attractive means to prevent excessive energy use in grinding. The recovery of all valuable mineral at coarse size can be thought of as early gangue rejection.  As such a smaller fraction of particles needs to be finely ground thus reducing the energy normally consumed in grinding coarse particles that contain no valuable mineral.  This project focuses on the recovery of these coarse composite particles by forth flotation.  Prof. George Franks is the primary supervisor. The project will involve some travel to the University of South Australia to work with Prof. David Beattie.

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