Understanding the surface chemical factors affecting flotation and recovery of rare earth element containing minerals.
The Research Project was a colaborative was partially funded by NSERC as part of the Engage Program and looked at understanding factors involved in 2 aspects of the flotation process: 1) the surface chemistry factors related to the flotation (or not) of rare metal/REE minerals and 2) surface chemical factors promoting the inclusion of gangue phases, in the flotation concentrate.
Surface chemical analyses of selected mineral phases from specific ore types in order to characterize and benchmark their particular signature
The project investigated the applicability of mineral surface chemical analyses by time‑of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) as a tool for predicting the chemical reactivity of the ore. The results were used to create a database relating mineralogy to chemical reactivity as a potential aide in designing and optimizing flotation schemes.
Development of semi-quantitative ToF-SIMS technology for the needs of the mineral processing industry
The overall goal of the project is to aid in the development and improvement of mineral separation in the flotation processes. The research aspects of the project aim at developing the ToF-SIMS technique for reliable surface chemical analyses of sulphide grains. The research expands upon a ToF-SIMS analytical technique pioneered at UWO and focuses on understanding the factors affecting the secondary ion yield for specific minerals. This information will allow for cross mineral comparisons and calibration of the instrument, providing the capability to produce semi-quantitative element loading data on mineral surfaces.
Canada is one of the largest mining countries in the world, but to remain globally competitive, the mining industry in Canada must find ways to increase its productivity and profitability. Efficiency of metal recovery requires optimized strategies reflecting the complex mineral chemistry that is encountered in many mineral processing operations. Methods of recovery (eg. flotation and cyanidation) have operated for more than a century. However, a quantitative relationship between mineral chemistry, mineral surface chemistry and reaction to reagents is only modestly developed and strategic models for improved efficiency are lacking. Most problems are solved on a case-by-case basis with the application of high technology analytical tools often overlooked in favor of more traditional approaches.