Froth Flotation Introduction

Flotation is undoubtedly the most important and versatile mineral processing technique, and both its use and application are continually being expanded to treat greater tonnages and to cover new areas. Originally patented in 1906, flotation has permitted the mining of low-grade and complex ore bodies which would have otherwise been regarded as uneconomic. In earlier practice the tailings of many gravity plants were of a higher grade than the ore treated in many modern flotation plants.
Flotation is a selective process and can be used to achieve specific separations from complex ores such as lead-zinc, copper-zinc, etc. Initially developed to treat the sulphides of copper, lead, and zinc, the field of flotation has now expanded to include platinum, nickel, and gold-hosting sulphides, and oxides, such as hematite and cassiterite, oxidised minerals, such as malachite and cerussite, and nonmetallic ores, such as fluorite, phosphates, and fine coal.