The use of compounds of thiol collectors is reportedly beneficial in sulfide flotation. This is becoming standard practice for many concentrators, but water recirculation process and re-use in flotation circuits may compromise the behaviour of such mixtures owing to changes in physicochemical interactions occurring in the pulp phase as a result of water quality variations.
It is expected that changes in the pulp chemistry would in turn affect both the pulp and froth phase phenomena, thereby affecting flotation performance. Thus, this study considers mixtures of thiol collectors, sodium isobutyl xanthate (SIBX), and sodium di-ethyl dithiophosphate (SEDTP) in degrading water quality.
Bench-scale flotation tests were conducted on various molar ratios of the selected thiol collectors under different ionic strengths of synthetic plant water. Increasing the ionic strength of synthetic plant water and SEDTP molar ratio resulted in an increase in water, solids, Cu, and Ni recoveries.
The increase in water and solids recoveries in increasing SEDTP and ionic strength of plant water is attributed to an increase in froth stability. It can be concluded that the increase in the ionic strength of plant water increased water recoveries and therefore froth stability in parallel with SEDTP’s froth stabilizing effect, thus suggesting an additive interaction on the froth stabilisation effect seen.