Effect of pH on the Floatability of Base Metal Sulphides PGMs

  • Ayo Samuel Afolabi
  • Edison Muzenda
  • Saka Ambali Abdulkareem
Part of the Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering book series (LNEE, volume 170)


This study investigated the effect of pH on the recovery and grade of the Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) and base metal sulphides from the UG2 ore of the bushveld complex. This was achieved through running a series of test work in a Denver flotation cell at varying pH 6–11 at constant reagent dosage. The UG-2 reef is characterized by two predominant gangue phases i.e., chromite and silicate, that have significantly different physical and chemical properties. The test work was aimed at evaluating which pH produces the best recoveries, and finding the effect of the chrome content in these recoveries. A pH of 9 produced the highest recovery compared to other pH values. However, the highest PGM grade was attained at a pH of 6 which is slightly acidic. Ideally this trend could be expected since the collectors (xanthates) are more stable in alkaline medium. The higher PGM recovery was also accompanied by higher chrome content as a result of their similar chemical properties.


Base metals Bushveld Collectors Gangue phases Platinum group metals Recoveries Sulphides 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial supports of the National Research Foundation (NRF) and Universities of South Africa and Johannesburg.


  1. 1.
    Muzenda E, Afolabi AS, Ntuli F, Abdulkareem AS (2011) Lecture notes in engineering and computer science. In: Proceedings of the world congress on engineering and computer science 2011, WCECS, San Francisco, USA, pp 609–612, 19–21 October 2011Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Fuerstenau DW (1982) Mineral-water interfaces and the electrical double layer, in: principles of flotation. In: King RP (ed) (SAIMM, Monograph, Johannesburg Series, 1982) pp 17–30Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wills BA, Napier-Munn T (2006) Wills’ mineral processing technology: an introduction to the practical aspects of ore treatment and mineral recovery (Butterworth-Heinemann 2006). Elsevier Publisher, Great BritainGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Tasdemir A, Tasdemir T, Oteyaka B (2007) The effect of particle size and some operating parameters in the separation tank and the downcomer on the Jameson cell recovery. Miner Eng 20:1331–1336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fredriksson A, Holmgren A, Forsling W (2006) Kinetics of collector adsorption on mineral surface. Miner Eng 19:6–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wills BA, Napier-Munn T (1997) Wills’ mineral processing technology: An introduction to the practical aspects of ore treatment and mineral recovery 7th edn. Elsevier, Great BritainGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Wiese J, Harris P, Bradshaw D (2005) The influence of reagent suite in the flotation of ores from the Merensky reef. Miner Eng 18:189–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wiese J, Harris P, Bradshaw D (2005) Investigation of the role and interactions of dithiophosphate collector in the flotation of sulphides from the Merensky reef. Miner Eng 18:792–800Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wiese J, Harris P, Bradshaw D (2006) The role of reagent suite in optimizing pentlandite recoveries from the Merensky reef. Miner Eng 19:1290–1300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kelebek S, Demir U, Sahbaz O, Ucar A, Cinar M, Karaguzel O, Oteyaka B (2008) The effect of dodecylamine, kerosene and pH on batch flotation of Turkey’s Tuncbilek coal. Int J Miner Process 88:3–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Harris PJ (1982) Principles of flotation: mineral-water interfaces and the electrical double layer. S Afr Inst Min Metall 3:237Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hughes TC (2005) AM-2 a hydroxamate flotation collector reagent for oxides and oxide mineral systems. vol 3. Aust J Min, 58–59Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bruckard WJ, Kyriakidis I, Woodcock JT (2007) The flotation of metallic arsenic as a function of pH and pulp potential—a single mineral study. Int J Miner Process 84:1–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Peyerl W (1983) The metallurgical implications of the mode of occurrence of platinum group metals in Merensky reef and UG2 chromitite of the Bushveld igneous complex, vol 7. Special Publication of Geology Society of South Africa, South Africa pp 295–300Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Schouwstra P, Kinloch ED (2000) A short geological review of the Bushveld complex. Amplats Research Centre, South AfricaGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ballhaus C, Sylvester P (2000) PGE enrichment processes in the Merensky reef. J Petroleum 41:454–561Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Cawthorn RG, Merkle RKW, Viljoen MV (2002) Platinum—group elements deposits in the Bushveld complex, South Africa. In: Cabri LJ (ed) The geology, geochemistry, mineralogy, mineral benefiation of the platinum group elements, vol 54. Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, Canada pp 389–430Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Cilek EC (2009) The effect of Hydrodynamic conditions on true flotation and intrainment flotation of complex sulphide ore. Int J Miner Process 90(1–4):34–44Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Viljo AM, Viljoen B, Van Wyk E, Van Heerden FR (1998) Distribution and chemotaxonomic significance of flavonoids in Aloe (Asphodelaceae). Plant Syst Evol 211:31–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Valenta MM (2007) Balancing the reagent suite to optimize grade and recovery. Miner Eng 20(10):1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wiese J, Harris P, Bradshaw D (2007) The response of sulphide and gangue minerals in selected Merensky ores to increased depressant dosages. Miner Eng 20:986–995CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ayo Samuel Afolabi
    • 1
  • Edison Muzenda
    • 2
  • Saka Ambali Abdulkareem
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of South AfricaJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations