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Advantages and Disadvantage of Froth Flotation Method

2019-11-09(15:39:06) 4211 0

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Froth flotation method is a kind of mineral processing technology that the solid minerals emerge from water suspension (slurry) according to the physical and chemical properties of the mineral surface.

According to statistics, more than 60% ~ 70% ore in the world is separated by froth flotation method, involving more than one hundred kinds of minerals. It is necessary for mineral processing plant to have a clear understanding of the froth flotation method, fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of the froth flotation method before choosing it.

Let's dive in now! See what pros and cons froth flotation method has.

Flotation Cell

Advantages of froth flotation method

1. Wide application

Froth flotation method is one of the most widely used processes, which occupies a dominant position in various mineral processing technologies. It can be used to treat various non-ferrous metals, rare metals and non-metallic minerals.

At present, the common mineral processing technologies includes gravity separation method, froth flotation method and magnetic separation method

It is well known that the gravity method is to separate the minerals based on the mineral relative density (commonly known as specific gravity); magnetic separation method is that the different minerals in the magnetic separation equipment with different forces are separated based on the different magnetic properties of minerals. The froth flotation method is that the mineral selectively attaches to the air bubble by flotation reagent based on the physical and chemical properties of mineral surface. 

It is not difficult to see that the first two methods mainly rely on the nature of the ore itself, while the froth flotation method mainly relies on the added flotation reagents for separation based on the nature of the ore itself. Therefore, the froth flotation method can be applied in most of minerals with less restriction on the ore natures.

2. High separation efficiency

Because of the fine grain sized material, small grain size and density, the material cannot be separated by gravity separation method. However, for some minerals with little difference in magnetism, the fine particle size may make the particle overcome fluid resistance because of the insufficient magnetism and is difficult to separate. 

According to the different surface properties of minerals, the froth flotation method can be used to separate the useful minerals from gangue minerals efficiently by adding flotation reagents, whose separation efficiency is obviously higher than that of other mineral processing technologies, especially, it is particularly effective in treating fine minerals and solves the problem of difficult recovery of useful components in many fine mineral particles.

3. Good comprehensive recovery

With the development and utilization of mineral resources, there are fewer and fewer easily treatable and single mineral resources, while more and more complex minerals with complex physical properties, such as a large number of polymetallic minerals,symbiosis, fine grain size and low grade, which put forward higher requirements for mineral processing technology. And the advantages of froth flotation method is that it can further process the rough concentrate, middlings and tailings obtained by other mineral processing methods then select them as high grade concentrate, and can expand the scope of mineral resources, make the low grade deposit that cannot be developed become the valuable deposit.

Flotation Cell

Disadvantages of froth flotation method

1. Reagent consumption

In the froth flotation method,the use of flotation reagents plays an important role in the final beneficiation index. High reagent consumption will inevitably lead to higher flotation cost, thus affecting the economic benefits of the plant. It is suggested that the concentrator should adopt the strict medicament system according to the result of ore dressing test, strictly control the material particle size and slurry concentration, maintain the flotation machine in time,so as to reduce the overall consumption of flotation reagent and improve the quantity and quality index of flotation products. In addition, the flotation agents are all chemical agents, which will cause different degrees of harm to the ecological environment.

2. Strict grinding size

The grinding size is one of the important factors to obtain the better froth flotation index, the purpose is to make the floating material and gangue minerals achieve monomer separation.But if the grinding size is too coarse, the mineral cannot achieve monomer separation. If the grinding size is too fine, the dissociated mineral is easy to be worn, which will also increase the power consumption of grinding machine, and produce fine mud easily, thus affecting the effect of froth flotation.

Therefore, in order to obtain the better technical index and economic indicators, we must refer to the results of ore dressing test.

3. Many limited factors

Compared with gravity separation method and magnetic separation method, froth flotation method must use a certain amount of flotation agents, so its ore processing cost is higher.In addition, the working principle of froth flotation method also determines that it is more complex and stricter than gravity separation method and magnetic separation method. In the whole froth flotation method, there are many factors that need to be considered, such as grinding fineness, pulp concentration, pulp pH value, flotation reagent system, aeration and agitation,flotation time, water quality and pulp temperature. If one of these factors is not up to the standard, it is likely to affect the final concentration index.


After reading this article, I believe you have a good understanding of froth flotation method. It is suggested that the mine owner should consider the actual situation of investment cost,mineral processing index and plant conditions comprehensively, then choose the scientific and rational froth flotation method, avoiding blindly copying similar technology.

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