Home Blogs Dressing 3 Copper-Cobalt Ore Beneficiation Methods

3 Copper-Cobalt Ore Beneficiation Methods

ShirleyShirley Dec 23, 2022Dec 23, 2022 532532
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Congo 100tpd copper-cobalt flotation plant.jpg

(Congo 100tpd copper-cobalt flotation plant)

Copper-cobalt ore is an important strategic metal. Due to its good physical, chemical and mechanical properties, it is widely used in aerospace, mechanical industry, chemical industry, ceramic industry and alloy manufacturing and other fields. The vast majority of cobalt in the world is produced in the form of by-products from weathered lateritic nickel ore, magmatic copper-nickel sulfide ore and sedimentary sandstone copper ore.

Central Africa is the main producer of copper and cobalt in the world. At present, most of the deposits in the non-copper-cobalt ore belt are oxide ores. Copper-cobalt ore beneficiation methods mainly include flotation, magnetic separation, combination of flotation-magnetic separation and leaching.

01Copper-Cobalt Ore Flotation Method


There are two types of copper-cobalt deposits. A polymetallic mineral that often contains copper, lead, zinc, silver, etc. The other contains minerals such as copper, cobalt, and uranium. There are differences in the sorting process of the two deposits, which are mostly determined according to the difference in buoyancy of copper and cobalt minerals. The main process of copper-cobalt ore flotation method includes copper-cobalt priority flotation and copper-cobalt mixed flotation. When using the priority flotation process to treat copper-cobalt ore, generally the copper is preferentially flotation and then cobalt is flotation, lime is used as the inhibitor, YK1-11 is used as the copper collector, and butyl xanthate is used as the cobalt collector. Copper concentrate and cobalt-sulfur concentrate are obtained respectively. When the mixed flotation process is used to separate copper-cobalt ore, butyl xanthate can be used as a collector and BKNL can be used as a regulator for flotation to obtain copper-cobalt mixed rough concentrate. In the beneficiation, inhibitors such as sodium silicate and lime are added to suppress gangue mierals to obtain copper-cobalt mixed concentrate.

Process flow of copper-cobalt flotation method

Firstly, the copper-cobalt ore is ground. Add a certain amount of regulator during the grinding process to adjust the pH value of the pulp to the range of 9-10. Collector and foaming agent are sequentially added to the pulp after ore grinding to carry out rough separation of copper and cobalt mixed flotation. And get the tailings after two sweeps. Inhibitors are added to the mixed flotation froth, and copper-cobalt mixed concentrate is obtained after three times of beneficiation. Inhibitors and collectors are added sequentially to carry out separation and flotation of copper and cobalt. Cobalt concentrate is obtained after one roughing and one sweeping. Copper concentrate is obtained after two separations of the froth after separation and flotation of copper and cobalt.

The copper-cobalt ore flotation method has strong adaptability. It can not only recover low-grade and complex fine-grained copper and cobalt minerals, but also reduce the difficulty of separating copper and cobalt minerals, and significantly improve the quality and recovery rate of copper and cobalt concentrates. . Moreover, the flotation method is simple in operation, strong in controllability, and strong in adaptability to ore. However, limited by the existing technology, it is difficult to effectively separate copper-cobalt ore by using a single copper-cobalt ore flotation method, so it is redundant to use other processes in combination.

flotation cells in copper-cobalt processing plant.jpg

02Copper-cobalt Ore Flotation-Magnetic Separation Method


The composition of the Central African copper-cobalt ore belt is complex, and in most cases flotation cannot recover all the cobalt. Cobalt has weak magnetism and can be recovered with magnetic separation process. The combined flotation and magnetic separation process of copper-cobalt ore has become an effective method to improve the recovery rate of oxide ore beneficiation.

Copper-cobalt ore flotation-magnetic separation process

The flotation tailings are regrinded to a suitable particle size and then subjected to strong magnetic roughing by means of a magnetic separator to obtain strong magnetic roughing concentrates and strong magnetic roughing tailings. The strong magnetic roughing concentrate is then subjected to strong magnetic concentration with a magnetic separator to obtain strong magnetic concentrated concentrate and strong magnetic tailings. Grind the concentrated ore with strong magnetic separation, and then carry out weak magnetic separation to obtain concentrated ore with weak magnetic separation and tailings with weak magnetic separation. The weak magnetic separation concentrate is the final magnetic separation concentrate.

The high-gradient magnetic separator with a background field strength of 0.8-1.2T is used for the strong magnetic roughing concentrate to perform strong magnetic concentration to obtain strong magnetic concentrated concentrate and strong magnetic tailings. Strong magnetic beneficiation tailings is the final magnetic beneficiation ore. Then grind the strong magnetic concentrated ore to -0.037mm, accounting for 50-80%, and make it into a slurry with a concentration of 10-40%. Use a 0.08-0.15T background field strength high-gradient magnetic separator for weak magnetic separation to obtain weak magnetic separation concentrates and weak magnetic separation tailings. The weak magnetic separation concentrate is the final magnetic separation concentrate. Weak magnetic separation tailings are the final magnetic separation ore. This method is suitable for oxidized ore containing more magnetic substances, and can effectively improve the grade of magnetic separation concentrate.

ball mill in copper-cobalt processing plant.jpg

03Copper-Cobalt Ore Leaching Method


For complex copper-cobalt oxide ores, leaching and other methods are usually used for treatment. Oxidized ores are generally severely weathered and have poor permeability, so they are not suitable for all heap leaching. The combination of heap leaching and stirring leaching can obtain high recovery rates of copper and cobalt metals.

Process flow of copper-cobalt ore leaching method:

First crush and grind the copper oxide cobalt ore raw ore, and classify the crushed ore according to the particle size. +5mm particle grade products adopt heap leaching, and adopt heap leaching in stages. Copper is soaked by spraying first, the pH value is controlled at 1.5, the spraying intensity is 10-15L/m2 . min, and the leaching time is 60-120 days. -5mm particle size products are leached with stirring and leaching, and the stirring and leaching is carried out under normal pressure. The reaction temperature is 20-80°C, the pH value is controlled at 1.5, the leaching liquid-solid ratio is 4:1, the grinding fineness-200 mesh accounts for 60%~90%, and the leaching time is less than 4 hours. This method reduces the consumption of reagents, simplifies the process flow, and is convenient for practical operation. At the same time, the cobalt recovery rate increased by about 20%. Compared with the traditional stirring and leaching process, it saves about 15% of construction investment. Compared with the traditional heap leaching process, the copper recovery rate is increased by about 12%, which effectively improves the return on investment.

04To Wrap Up


The above are the three common copper-cobalt ore beneficiation methods. In actual production, it is recommended that mine owners do a good job of beneficiation test. According to the composition of copper-cobalt ore and its own dressing conditions and investment costs, consult with manufacturers with professional dressing plant qualifications to formulate scientific and reasonable copper-cobalt dressing methods to ensure ideal copper-cobalt dressing indicators and economic benefits of the dressing plant.




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