REE bearing mineral recovery: a microflotation and surface chemistry study using hydroxamate collectors and citric acid.

TitleREE bearing mineral recovery: a microflotation and surface chemistry study using hydroxamate collectors and citric acid.
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHart B., Dimov S., Xia L.
Conference NameIMPC 2104 Santiago Chile
Date Published2014
KeywordsFlotation, Rare Earth Elements, Surface chemistry

The recovery of rare earth elements (REE) is fast becoming of significant interest globally. Modern research and development programs (outside China) towards the optimization of REE mineral recovery by flotation have been lacking. Due to the mineralogical nature of many hosting deposits, the separation and recovery flotation flowsheets can be very complex. As part of a research project, a selected suite of hydroxamic acid collectors (Naphthoyl, Cyclohexyl, Benzoyl, Octyl, Terta-butyl benzoyl, Salicylic) were tested in order to examine their potential for recovery and selectivity. Micro flotation tests were conducted on a feed sample, recovery and grade of the products were used to evaluate their relative flotation efficiency and selectivity and these results (flotation with the hydroxamate collectors) were compared to a phosphoric acid/sulphonate collector mix(shorten as “mixed”). In the testing, the flotation response with the hydroxamate collectors was significantly better than the “mixed” collectors on freshly ground (no slimes removed) samples. Furthermore the tests revealed that for most of the hydroxamate reagents tested, their dosage requirements to achieve recoveries at the same levels was less than that for the “mixed” reagents.  Product assays show that recovery of both La and Ce is significantly better for using the salicylic hydroxamate and that Nb, Y and Zr recovery are favored by using octyl hydroxamate. These results indicate mineral flotation selectivity could be achieved by using selective hydroxamtes. Spectral fingerprinting by TOF-SIMS surface analysis has allowed for the identification of reagent species. TOF-SIMS surface analyses of grains analysis confirmed that REE bearing grains reporting to the concentrates are doing so in response to collector attachment whereas grains reporting to the tails are doing so in response to a lack of collector. The TOF-SIMS surface data bas been used to examine the factors promoting flotation stream partitioning.

Download PDF. (375.82 KB)