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Home News Spodumene forward flotation and reverse flotation

Spodumene forward flotation and reverse flotation

174 14.Apr.2023 KZ Editor

Lithium ore is a valuable mineral used in the production of lithium-ion batteries, ceramics, glass, and other industrial applications. The recovery of lithium from its ores is typically achieved through flotation, which involves the separation of valuable minerals from gangue minerals based on their differences in surface chemistry. There are several flotation methods that can be used for the beneficiation of lithium ores, including forward flotation, reverse flotation, and combined flotation.

Forward Flotation:

Forward flotation is a common method for the recovery of lithium from spodumene, which is the most common lithium-bearing mineral. In forward flotation, the spodumene is floated first, and then the gangue minerals are removed in subsequent stages. The process is typically carried out using fatty acid collectors, which selectively adsorb onto the spodumene surfaces and make them hydrophobic. The hydrophobic spodumene particles then attach to the air bubbles and rise to the surface of the flotation cell, where they are collected as a froth. The gangue minerals, which are typically silicates, remain in the pulp and are discharged as tailings.

Reverse Flotation:

Reverse flotation is a method that is commonly used for the beneficiation of lithium-containing pegmatite ores. In reverse flotation, the gangue minerals are floated first, and then the lithium minerals are removed in subsequent stages. The process is carried out using cationic collectors, which selectively adsorb onto the surfaces of the gangue minerals and make them hydrophobic. The hydrophobic gangue particles then attach to the air bubbles and rise to the surface of the flotation cell, where they are collected as a froth. The lithium minerals, which are typically silicates, remain in the pulp and are discharged as tailings.

Combined Flotation:

Combined flotation is a method that combines both forward and reverse flotation. It is commonly used for the beneficiation of complex lithium ores that contain multiple lithium-bearing minerals, such as spodumene, lepidolite, and petalite. In combined flotation, the ore is first subjected to a rougher flotation stage, in which the spodumene and other lithium minerals are floated using fatty acid collectors. The gangue minerals are then floated in a subsequent stage using cationic collectors. The froth from the two stages is combined and subjected to a cleaner flotation stage, where the remaining lithium minerals are collected. The process is typically followed by a scavenger flotation stage to recover any remaining lithium minerals.


In summary, the flotation of lithium ores involves the selective separation of lithium minerals from gangue minerals based on their differences in surface chemistry. Forward flotation is commonly used for spodumene ores, while reverse flotation is commonly used for pegmatite ores. Combined flotation is used for complex ores containing multiple lithium-bearing minerals. The choice of flotation method depends on the characteristics of the ore and the desired product specifications.





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