Computer-assisted calculations of thermodynamic equilibria in sphalerite-xanthate systems

Document identifier:
Access full text here:10.1016/0301-7516(89)90031-8
Keyword: Engineering and Technology, Materials Engineering, Metallurgy and Metallic Materials, Teknik och teknologier, Materialteknik, Metallurgi och metalliska material, Mineral Processing, Mineralteknik
Publication year: 1989
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Sphalerite flotation is analyzed on the basis that it occurs in a pulp chemistry environment, where the dominant variables are the electron activity (pe), and the hydrogen ion activity (pH). The literature indicates that sphalerite can be floated with long-chained xanthates in neutral pulps, and that hydroxoxanthates of Zn and Fe(III) are possible intermediate steps in the flotation process.Theoretical computations indicate the following properties: (1) the pulp carbonate content is the factor having the strongest influence on the nature of the surface of sphalerite/zinc minerals in flotation systems; (2) ethyl xanthate and zinc will not form any solid compounds; (3) the theoretically calculated precipitation area of zinc isopropyl xanthate coincides with pH-areas known for enhanced zinc flotation; (4) Zn(OH)iPX(s) and Zn(OH)AX(s) can be formed under conditions similar to those encountered in flotation; (5) Zn-ethyl xanthate complexes will not contribute significantly to the mobilization of Zn into solution, but might likewise cause a high, environmentally disquieting, content of metal-organic compounds in concentrator effluents; (6) Fe(III)-hydroxoxanthates, but not Fe(II)xanthates, can be formed under the conditions studied.Computational results obtained so far indicate that the contents, i.e. the metallic content of the solution, are controlled by the formation of solid bulk compounds such as hydrozincite, while the formation of simpler surface compounds (surface complexes) is controlled by conditions on the mineral surface. One way to take this into account would be to include an extra fluid phase, which will model the mineral/solution boundary layer.


Bertil Pålsson

Luleå tekniska universitet; Industriell miljö- och processteknik
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Eric Forssberg

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