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Copper and Lead Separation Method
Aug 17, 2018

Flotation machine.jpg

Copper-lead separation is a major problem in the flotation of copper-lead-zinc ore. The solution can be Inhibition of lead and flotation copper or Inhibition of copper and flotation lead. Which solution is better should be determined through specific tests. However, the general principle is: when the content of lead in the ore is much higher than that of copper, the lead should be suppressed; if the copper content is close to or more than lead, the copper should be suppressed.


Common separation methods are as follows:

1. The Dichromate Method

Floating copper minerals by using dichromate to inhibit lead.

2. The Cyanidation Method

Using cyanide to inhibit copper minerals and make the flotation of lead.

3. The Ferricyanide MethodLead Separation.jpg

When the content of secondary copper minerals in the ore is high, the effects of the above two methods are both not good. At this time, if the copper content in the ore is high, ferricyanide (potassium ferrocyanide and red potassium prussiate) to inhibit the secondary copper mineral and float the lead mineral; if the lead content is much higher than copper, the following two options should be tested:

 1) Sulfurous acid method (Sulphur dioxide method): 

mix the concentrate with sulfur dioxide gas or sulfurous acid, so that the lead mineral is inhibited and the copper mineral is activated. In order to strengthen the inhibition, may add the potassium dichromate or zinc dithionite, or heat the slurry (such as the heated flotation method). But finally, must use lime to adjust the PH of the slurry to 5-7, and then make the flotation of copper minerals.


2) Sodium sulfite and ferric sulfate method: 

that is to use sodium sulfite and iron sulphate as a mixed inhibitor, and acidify the slurry with sulfuric acid to stir the minerals under the condition of pH=6-7 and suppress the lead and float the copper mineral.


One of the main reasons for the difficulty in separating copper-lead mixed concentrates is due to the presence of excess chemicals (collectors and foaming agents) in the mixed concentrate. Removal of excess agent from the slurry prior to separation of the concentrate and removal of the collector film from the mineral surface can greatly improve the separation of the mixed concentrate.

 Copper Separation.jpg

Methods for removing excess pesticide from the slurry and removing the collector film from the mineral surface are: 

(1) a mechanical method; 

(2) Chemical or physicochemical methods. The appropriate method can be selected depending on the nature of the mixed concentrate and the conditions it obtains.

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