Zinc Recovery from a Lead-Zinc-Copper Ore by Ultrasonically Assisted Column Flotation
In this study, zinc recovery from lead-zinc-copper ore was performed by column flotation with and without ultrasonic pretreatment. First, optimization of operational parameters was carried out by only single-stage column flotation without ultrasonic pretreatment. A zinc concentrate containing 16.93% Zn was obtained from the feed containing 2.71% Zn with 29.41% recovery using single-stage column flotation. Second, a concentrate containing 24.51% Zn was obtained with a recovery of 39.97% when ultrasonic pretreatment was applied to zinc beneficiation by single-stage column flotation at these optimized conditions. Third, a zinc concentrate having 53.41% Zn was produced with a recovery of 71.48% by using three stages of cleaning and three stages of scavenging flotation by column. Finally, a zinc concentrate containing 73.32% Zn was received with a recovery of 76.44% when the ultrasonic pretreatment was used before column flotation by multiple stages. The results revealed that zinc grade and recovery were increased by ultrasonically assisted column flotation tests. It may be due to the increasing dispersion of ultrasound, increasing adsorption of collectors, and the hydrodynamic cavitation which produced small bubbles attaching to the hydrophobic particles, thereby increasing contact angle and attachment.