Whether at the head of a circuit or scavenging tailings, today’s flotation innovations address challenges presented by declining grades, rising costs and aging plants

By Jesse Morton, Technical Writer

In 1903, E&MJ received a letter from a Londoner requesting “attention” for a flotation method that separated oxide of iron from copper sulphide, “giving a high-grade copper concentrate, salable to copper smelters.”

At the time, flotation, as a discipline, was in its infancy. The solution, being trialed at a couple of mines in the United Kingdom, represented a much-needed first and a “great success.” It piped oil into a watery ore slurry and agitated the mix. After that, “the oil with its charge of mineral is separated from the water and waste rock by running the whole into a large pointed box, from the bottom of which the rock and water flow, while the oil and mineral float on the top and overflow for subsequent treatment.”
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