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REM - International Engineering Journal

versão On-line ISSN 2448-167X


LIMA, Neymayer Pereira; PERES, Antônio Eduardo Clark  e  GONCALVES, Tatiane Aparecida Rocha. Comparative evaluation between mechanical and pneumatic cells for quartz flotation in the iron ore industry. REM, Int. Eng. J. [online]. 2018, vol.71, n.3, pp.437-442. ISSN 2448-167X.

Flotation plays a relevant role in the concentration of iron ores. Conventional flotation technology employing mechanical machines and columns and also circuits combining both types of cells have been utilized in the iron ore industry. The top size of particles in the flotation circuit feed is 150 µm and the slimes below 10 µm are removed as overflow in hydrocyclone classification. The conventional flotation technology faces difficulties in achieving tailings with iron grades lower than 12% and concentrates with SiO2 grades lower than 1%, and requires long residence times, resulting in large volume machines and huge footprints. The pneumatic flotation technology was evaluated in the reverse flotation of quartz from an iron ore sample of the Iron Quadrangle, Brazil. Bench and industrial scale tests were conducted in pneumatic flotation machines at low residence time. Both tests were carried out in open circuit stages with the objective of comparison with mechanical cells. The bench scale tests were carried out in three stages (rougher, cleaner and recleaner) in an 11 L pneumatic cell aiming at final concentrate with maximum 2% SiO2 while the industrial tests were carried out in a 25 m3 pneumatic cell in the rougher stage aiming at comparison with a circuit of five 14 m3 cells in the rougher stage and four 14 m3 cells in the scavenger stage. The collision and particle-bubble adhesion occur in a step before the pulp reaches the pneumatic cell vessel. The results indicate the possibility of achieving concentrates with a SiO2 content of approximately 1% and tailings with iron contents lower than 10% with three stages (rougher, cleaner and recleaner) without the need of scavenger stages. Furthermore, the residence time was three times shorter than that required for conventional mechanical cells. The speed of the pulp at the entrance of the pneumatic cell strongly affects the quality of the concentrate.

Palavras-chave : froth flotation; pneumatic flotation; iron ore.

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