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Generally, the common copper sulfide minerals mainly include chalcocite, covellite, bornite, copper pyrites and tennantite, and their inherent floatability decrease in turn. Copper sulfide ore has better floatability than sphalerite, pyrite and another sulphide, so it is more likely to float from the pulp by adsorpting collector. Therefore, froth flotation process is the main mineral process method used for the extraction of copper from copper sulphide.
The common collector added in the flotation machine used for the extraction of copper from copper sulphide is xanthate collector, followed by aerofloat and its esters. Actually, the collecting effect is much better if aerofloat esters mix with other flotation reagents. The xanthate collectors in the flotation process used for the extraction of copper from copper sulphide are sodium ethylxanthate, SIPX and Sodium n-butylxanthate, etc. The common aerofloat includes cresol aerofloat, ammonium dibutyl dithiophosphate, aerofloat 208, aerofloat 238, aerofloat 242, etc.
Many researches show that the mixed-use multi-collectors have a better flotation effect in the flotation process used for the extraction of copper from copper sulphide, this is because several flotation reagents and minerals interact with each other, then produce “synergistic effect”. The foaming agent of copper sulfide ore mainly includes terpenic oil and methyl isobutyl methyl alcohol. The pH regulator is mainly lime. When the content of pyrite is small, the PH of the slurry is controlled by 7~9. When the content of pyrite is large, the PH of the slurry is controlled above 11-12. When silt content is large in the ore, a proper amount of water glass or CMC is needed to improve flotation effect.
The copper concentrate grade that obtained by flotation process used for the extraction of copper from copper sulphide in China is over 20%, the recovery rate is about 88%; the foreign copper concentrate grade is about 25-40%, the recovery rate is 80-90%. Generally, the flotation process used for the extraction of copper from copper sulphide is relatively simple. Coarse-grained copper sulfide ore can use a stage grinding – a stage flotation process, and the fine-grained copper sulfide ore can adopt two stage grinding- two stage flotation process. What’s more, middling regrinding technology can reduce grinding energy consumption, which is widely used in ore dressing production.