İmportance of flotation to industry:
Flotation is now of immense industrial importance. Without the development of flotation there would be no mining industry as we know it today. Virtually all of the world’s supply of lead, zinc and silver is produced by flotation. The majority of copper is produced by flotation. İn addition other metals that are made using flotation are manganese, chromium, columbium, nickel, cobalt, vanadium, germanium, antimony, bismuth and tungsten. But its use also extends to non-metallic minerals. Phosphate, fluorite, feldspar, mica, barite and other industrial minerals are flotation products. Coal is now froth-floated on a large scale. Then outside the minerals industry flotation has application in the paper, food, water and waste industries. Flotation of inks, fats, oils, grease and fibres is widespread.
The introduction of flotation has meant that more difficult ores can be processed. Previous methods such as gravity separation were much less efficient. The feed grade of ores that can be treated has decreased significantly since flotation was developed. İn 1935 the average copper content of ores treated in USA was 1.57%. By 1960 it had dropped to 0.72% and the cost fell also appreciably. This trend has continued. İt is now posible to treat ores that previously could not be processed. Flotation has been critical in these industrial developments. The world’s economic ore reserves have been greatly increased by flotation.
Brief history of the flotation process development:
Flotation was introduced into industrial practice about 100 years ago. Early patents (William Haynes, England, 1860) were granted based on the use of oils which preferentially trapped particles of mineral or gangue of different types. They were then floated to the surface with the oil. This type of process is still proposed for the oil agglomeration and recovery of fine coal. Later variations added acid to increase the differentiation of valuable mineral and...