Influence of attrition variables on iron ore flotation

<div><p>Abstract The presence of slimes is harmful to the flotation process: the performance and consumption of reagents are negatively affected. Traditionally, the desliming stage has been responsible for removing slimes. However, depending on the porosity of the mineral particles, desliming may not be sufficient to maximize the concentration results. An attrition process before the desliming operation can improve the removal of slime, especially when slimes cover the surface and/or are confined to the cavities/pores of the mineral particles. Attrition is present in the flowcharts of the beneficiation process of phosphate and industrial sand (silica sand). Research has been undertaken for its application to produce pre-concentrates of zircon and iron ore. However, there is still little knowledge of the influence of the attrition variables on the beneficiation process of iron ore. This study presents a factorial design and analysis of the effects of these variables on the reverse flotation of iron ore. The standard of the experimental procedures for all tests included the attrition of pulp, under the conditions of dispersion, desliming and flotation. The parameter analysed (variable response) was the metallurgical recovery in reverse flotation tests. The planning and analysis of the full factorial experiment indicated that with 95% reliability, the rotation speed of the attrition cell impeller was the main variable in the attrition process of the iron ore. The percentage of solid variables in the pulp and the time of the attrition, as well as their interactions, were not indicated to be significant.</p></div>