Froth flotation of a Merensky Reef platinum bearing ore using mixtures of SIBX with a dithiophosphate and a dithiocarbamate

17 Aug 2016

The Bushveld Igneous Complex (BIC) in northern South Africa has the largest deposit of platinum group elements (PGEs) in the world. In trace amounts, these are closely associated with base metal sulphides (BMS). Froth flotation is used as a bulk sulphide recovery to beneficiate these PGE ores. To maximise the recovery of the PGEs it is required to improve the recovery of the BMS. The chemical additives used largely determines the performance of the froth flotation process. Consequently, mixtures of collectors were used in batch froth flotation tests in an attempt to improve concentrate grades and recoveries of BMS from a Merensky Reef platinum ore. The mixtures consisted of a xanthate (SIBX) with a dithiophosphate (DTP) or a dithiocarbamate (DTC). Each mixture was tested at mole ratios of 80:20 and 60:40, with the xanthate the major component. An increase in nickel recovery was observed with all mixtures relative to pure SIBX at the expense of concentrate grade. The mixtures of DTC with SIBX increased the cumulative nickel recovery by 11%, while the mixtures with DTP increased it by 10%. Copper recovery increased by 6% with the DTP mixtures. No significant improvements in the copper recoveries and grades were observed with the mixtures of SIBX with DTC compared to pure SIBX.