Zircon mineral solids concentrated from Athabasca oil sands froth treatment tailings: Surface chemistry and flotation properties

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.mineng.2014.05.016
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TypeArticle
Journal titleMinerals Engineering
ISSN0892-6875
Volume65
Pages7987; # of pages: 9
SubjectChemical cleaning; Infrared spectroscopy; Oil sands; Plasma applications; Plasmas; Surface chemistry; X ray photoelectron spectroscopy; Zircon; Athabasca oil sands; Carboxylic acid groups; Hydrocarbon components; Plasma degradation; Plasma treatment; Surface adsorption; Surface conditions; Surface organic layers; Froth flotation
AbstractZircon mineral solids concentrated from Athabasca oil sands froth treatment tailings were compared by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, and collector-assisted froth flotation before and after surface cleaning in a low temperature, radio-frequency oxygen plasma. Plasma cleaning was effective at removing a surface bound layer of organic matter having chemical markers consistent with bituminous fractions. Specifically, the observation of long-chain aliphatics, ester and ether linkages, aromatic indicators, and hydroxyls in the absence of carboxylic acid groups, suggested the surface organic layer was representative of asphaltene or resin. Supporting this interpretation was the identification of pyrrolic and thiophenic chemical states. Plasma degradation of the hydrocarbon component transformed the zircon particles from hydrophobic to hydrophilic as evidenced by their recovery in water/ethanol froth flotation tests. The cleaned zircon particles were subsequently collected in the froth using dodecylamine. This work explains the surface conditions responsible for the reporting of zircon to the froth treatment tailings and demonstrates the efficacy of plasma cleaning as a means to condition zircon for coupling with collector agents. A physical model of surface adsorption is discussed and process implications are considered. © 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); Energy, Mining and Environment (EME-EME)
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21272191
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Record identifier06026fc1-01b5-41ea-b35f-0ece7f15fe05
Record created2014-07-23
Record modified2016-05-09
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