Chalcopyrite flotation is selectively depressed by oxidation treatment. The presence of ferric oxyhydroxide on the surface of chalcopyrite after oxidation treatment is a key factor in depressing chalcopyrite flotation. However, there is no concrete evidence that ferric oxyhydroxide has a depressing effect. In addition, the effectiveness of this depressing effect could be enhanced by directly applying ferric oxyhydroxide nanoparticles. This study investigated the effect of goethite (α-FeOOH) nanoparticles on the surface properties and flotation behavior of chalcopyrite. α-FeOOH nanoparticles were produced through chemical precipitation followed by hydrothermal treatment. The crystalline structure of irregular rice grain-shaped α-FeOOH nanoparticles was confirmed by the X-ray diffraction pattern and scanning electron microscope image. Micro-flotation experiments showed that chalcopyrite recovery decreased significantly from 93 % to 13 % when 30 mg/L α-FeOOH nanoparticles was used. This flotation result demonstrated the potential of α-FeOOH nanoparticles as a nanodepressant for the flotation of chalcopyrite. These nanoparticles physically adsorbed on the chalcopyrite surface and rendered its surface hydrophilic, thereby reducing the chalcopyrite flotation recovery. The attractive electrostatic force between the positively charged α-FeOOH nanoparticles and the negatively charged chalcopyrite surface is likely responsible for the adsorption of α-FeOOH nanoparticles on chalcopyrite.
- Goethite (α-FeOOH)
- Iron-based nanoparticles