Three Methods of Spodumene Flotation
Spodumene is produced in muscovite-type and lepidolite-type granite pegmatites and is a metasomatic mineral in the process of pegmatite action. Spodumene often coexists with lepidolite, beryl, niobium-tantalite, tourmaline, and muscovite, and belongs to the same silicate minerals as these gangue minerals. In beneficiation technology, spodumene often adopts a flotation method to purify lithium ore.
Flotation is the most important beneficiation method for spodumene, especially the spodumene that exists in the form of fine-grained dissemination. Among the flotation methods, spodumene commonly used are the positive flotation method, reverse flotation method, and combined flotation method.
1. Spodumene positive flotation method
The positive flotation of spodumene is done in an alkaline medium. Anionic collectors are often used, and the ground minerals are added to a strongly alkaline medium for high-concentration and strong stirring operations. The high-concentration pulp is treated with sodium hydroxide, and the pulp is removed under the action of alkali. After several times of scrubbing and desliming, fatty acid or soap collectors are added to directly float spodumene.
2. Spodumene reverse flotation method
The spodumene reverse flotation process also completes flotation in an alkaline medium. Lime, starch and dextrin are mainly used as inhibitors, and terpineol oil is used as the foaming agent. Under the condition of an alkaline medium (pH value of 10.5~11.0), dextrin can effectively inhibit spodumene. Then, amine cation collectors are used to collect silicate gangue minerals such as quartz, feldspar, and mica to realize reverse flotation.
3. Spodumene combined flotation method
If it is difficult to obtain qualified spodumene concentrate from lean, fine and miscellaneous spodumene by a single flotation method, a combined flotation method is required. At present, the commonly used methods are flotation-magnetic separation and flotation-magnetic separation-reelection.
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