Flotation of iron ores: A review

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Department of Chemical Engineering


A tremendous amount of research has been done on refining the flotation process for iron ore and designing the reagents which go into it. This paper reviews the industrial practices and fundamental research surrounding iron ore flotation. The advantages and disadvantages of direct flotation, cationic reverse flotation, and anionic reverse flotation are reviewed. A novel stepped flotation technique is discussed for the treatment of carbonate-rich iron ores. The necessity of desliming to enable effective flotation is discussed in detail. Selective flocculation desliming is discussed in particular detail as it is the primary deslime methodology used in industry. This paper also describes a large variety of reagents commonly used or in development in each flotation route, covering collectors, activators, depressants, dispersants, flocculants, and frothers. The impact of the zeta potential and surface chemistry on flotation and deslime is also discussed. The aim of this paper is to provide a well-detailed, well-referenced source for the current status of iron ore flotation, and thus provide a useful guide to its future development and to further improve flotation performance for iron ore.

Publication Title

Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Review