The Impact of Residual Dispersant on the Flocculation and Sedimentation of Synthetic Tailings in Seawater

Yepsen, Rodrigo; Gutierrez, Leopoldo; Toledo, Pedro G.


Dispersants under certain conditions favor the flotation of molybdenite in seawater; however, it is not clear if the entrainment of residues to the thickening stage can compromise the quality of the clarified water. In this work, the impact of small concentrations of sodium hexametaphosphate (SHMP) on the flocculation and sedimentation of synthetic tailings containing kaolinite, muscovite, and quartz in seawater is evaluated. The flocculant polymer is a high-molecular-weight polyacrylamide, and the pH is alkaline. The results are auspicious for mineral processing. On the one hand, the impact of SHMP is not entirely negative and can be lessened by limiting entrainment, which is good for copper and molybdenum ore processing. On the other hand, if the small increase in turbidity generated by the SHMP is tolerated, it is possible to expect improved settling speeds. Without SHMP, large but light agglomerates are formed. With SHMP, smaller but denser aggregates are formed, settling faster, and minute aggregates increase turbidity. The underlying mechanism derives from the competition between SHMP and polymer chains for the cations in solution; the result is a greater repulsion between the chains, which leads to greater repulsion and thus dispersion of smaller flocculant coils. The study shows that SHMP in concentrations of 1 to 3 kg/t is perfectly acceptable. The results represent an advance in the understanding of SHMP interactions with polymers and minerals in water clarification, which should be of interest to the industry whose sustainability in some regions depends on closing the water cycle.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:000803536000001 Not found in local WOS DB
Título de la Revista: POLYMERS
Volumen: 14
Número: 10
Editorial: MDPI
Fecha de publicación: 2022


Notas: ISI