ZINC RECOVERY FROM LEAD-ZINC-COPPER COMPLEX ORES BY USING COLUMN FLOTATION
Pb-Zn-Cu complex ore from Balikesir-Ivrindi district have been concentrated by GESOM A. S,. using a selective mechanical flotation technique. Ore feeds containing 3.23% Pb, 0.52% Cu, and 2.71% Zn were concentrated by six stages of cleaning and four stages of scavenging. The final zinc concentrate which contains 2.13% Pb, 1.14% Cu, and 52.77% Zn were produced with 61.38% Zn recovery. In this study, the effects of air rate, bubble diameter, gas holdup, and superficial air rate on the column flotation performance were investigated. In order to obtain best results, operation parameters were optimized. Besides, the number of cleaning and scavenging stages of zinc circuit was reduced by using column flotation instead of mechanical flotation. Hence, higher grade zinc concentrates with higher recovery were obtained. Using three stages of cleaning and three stages of scavenging, the zinc concentrate having 58.81% Zn was produced with a recovery of 74.21% indicating an improvement in final zinc concentrate. This achievement of column flotation method was recommended as an alternative method for the zinc circuit to the plant mentioned above, since it will reduce the operating costs.