Iran’s First-Ever Mobile Mineral Flotation Plant Comes on Stream
EghtesadOnline: Iran’s first mobile lead, zinc and copper flotation plant has become operational in Yazd Province, the head of Yazd Industries, Mining and Trade Organization announced.
Mohammad Reza Alamdar-Yazdi added that 100 billion rials ($729,927) were invested in the plant, located in Mansourabad’s lead and zinc mine.
Mansourabad is a village in Allahabad Rural District in Zarch District, Yazd County.
“The plant will play a considerable role in decreasing costs, increasing profits and activating small mines with low reserves,” he told IRNA.
Alamdar-Yazdi noted that the plant was built by Iranian experts from the provinces of Tehran, Isfahan, Khorasan Razavi and Hamedan, Financial Tribune reported.
The plant’s daily mineral processing capacity is 100 tons of raw materials.
Established by the private sector, the mobile plant can be operated in small mines and all the equipment can be transferred by 13 trailers to the site of a mine.
The installation, according to the official, takes one week.
Iran is home to 500 small mines, of which 100 are able to process minerals.
Yazd has 1.8 billion tons of mineral reserves, the second top province in the country after East Azarbaijan Province. However, the province ranks first in terms of mineral diversity.
Around 11,000 locals are working in Yazd’s mining sector.
Flotation, in mineral processing, is a method used to separate and concentrate ores by altering their surfaces to a hydrophobic or hydrophilic condition—that is, the surfaces are either repelled or attracted by water.
The flotation process was developed on a commercial scale early in the 20th century to remove very fine mineral particles that were earlier wasted in gravity concentration plants.
Flotation has now become the most widely used process for extracting minerals from their ores. It takes advantage of the different physicochemical surface properties of minerals, particularly their soaking capability, which can be a natural property or one artificially changed by chemical reagents.
By altering the hydrophobic (water-repelling) or hydrophilic (water-attracting) conditions of their surfaces, mineral particles suspended in water can be induced to adhere to air bubbles passing through a flotation cell or to remain in the pulp.
The air bubbles pass to the upper surface of the pulp and form a froth which, together with the attached hydrophobic minerals, can be removed. The tailings, containing the hydrophilic minerals, can be removed from the bottom of the cell.
Flotation makes possible the processing of complex ores containing copper, lead, zinc and pyrite into separate concentrates and tailings—an impossible task with gravity, magnetic, or electric separation methods.
In the past, these metals were recoverable only with expensive metallurgical processes.