Froth flotation of fluorite: A review

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Department of Chemical Engineering


Fluorite, as a scarce nonrenewable strategic non-metallic mineral resource, is the primary raw material for fluorine products used in diverse fields such as metallurgy, national defense, chemical and optical industries. With the increasing expansion of the related fields, the demand for high-quality fluorite continues to grow. Hence, the surge of interest in effectively utilizing fluorite resources has led to vast attention worldwide. So far, significant endeavors have been done to enhance the beneficiation of fluorite from relatively low-grade ores. It has been well appreciated that the froth flotation is of the most importance. However, to the best of the authors' knowledge, it lacks a thorough and critical review on the recent developments in fluorite flotation. This article begins with introducing the deposits and unique physical and chemical properties of fluorite from the perspective of the crystal structure. It is followed by a systematic review of common reagents involved in fluorite flotation, including collectors, depressants, regulators, modifiers, and frothers. Specifically, the synergistic effect of collectors and depressants on the recovery of fluorite is elaborated for the first time. Finally, the most widely seen fluorite-flotation cases, including separation of fluorite from quartz, calcite, barite, and sulfide, are summarized individually. The present review sheds new light on the deep understanding of fluorite flotation, the future synthesis of reagents, as well as their schemes in practical use. Meanwhile, such a novel rain of thought provided in this work has the potential to guide the flotation of other similar minerals extensively.

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Advances in colloid and interface science