Copper Oxide & Copper Sulfide Flotation: 8 Processes & 9 Equipment

Published time:22 November 2022

In nature, copper ore generally contains a mixture of copper sulfide and copper oxide. Concentrators usually use flotation to improve ore grade so they can smelt pure copper later.

Common main copper oxide minerals are

  • Malachite (CuCO3-Cu(OH)2, containing 57.4% copper, density 4g/cm3, hardness 4).
  • Azurite (azurite, 2CUCO3.Cu(OH)2, containing Copper 55.2%, density 4g/cm3, hardness 4).
  • hrysocolla (CuSi03-2H20, copper 36.2%, density 2~2.2g/cm3, hardness 2~4).
  • Cuprite (CU20, copper 88.8%, density 5.8~6.2g/cm3, hardness 3.5~4).

Flotation is the main separation method of modern copper oxide ore. It can divide into direct flotation and sulfide flotation according to the different properties of copper oxide ore. Copper sulfide ore mainly includes single and polymetallic copper sulfide ore. The flotation process of single copper sulfide ore is generally simple, and the flotation process of polymetallic copper sulfide ore is more complicated. A variety of mining equipment is used in the process of flotation of copper ore. Below we introduce you to the leading equipment used in it.

1. Feeding - vibrating feeder

A vibrating feeder is a feeding equipment widely used in metallurgy, coal mining, mineral processing, building materials, and other industries. It can feed massive copper ore evenly and continuously to subsequent crushing equipment, and the material is pre-screened first.

jxsc vibrating feeders

2. Coarse Crushing - jaw crusher

Jaw crushers are mainly used for coarse Crushing in sand and gravel plants, metallurgy, mining, chemical, and other industries. The input particle size can reach 1500mm, the output particle size can be 10-350mm, and the material can be processed up to 2200 tons per hour. The compressive strength can reach 320MPa.

Large pieces of copper ore should first be crushed into smaller stones with a jaw crusher to meet the feed size of medium crushing.

limestone jaw crusher
hp cone crushers

3. Medium Crushing - Cone Crusher

The cone crusher is mainly used for medium and fine crushing ores with medium or above medium hardness and can process 12-1000 tons of materials per hour.

The hardness of copper ore is relatively high, which is just suitable for crushing with a cone crusher. After being processed by a cone crusher, the finished product with a size of 3-60mm is produced.

4. Screening - circular vibrating screen

The function of the vibrating screen is to screen out the materials that meet the particle size of the next process. At the same time, collect the unqualified materials and send them to the crushing equipment for re-crushing until the particle size is qualified.

For example, the discharge particle size of the cone crusher is 3-60mm. In the following grinding process, the feed particle size of the ball mill is required to be below 20-25mm, so a vibrating screen can separate the materials with different particle sizes. Fed the materials below 20mm into the ball mill, and send the 20mm or more back to the cone crusher for re-crushing.

5. Grinding - ball mill

The function of the ball mill is to further grind the material into fine particles of 0-200 mesh size to meet the conditions for the next step of flotation.

The feed particle size of the ball mill is below 20-25mm, the discharge particle size is 0.074-0.89mm, and it can produce 0.65-615 tons of materials per hour. It is trendy in cement, silicate products, new building materials, and refractory materials.

6. Classification - Classifier

The classifier is a special equipment for particle size classification of the ore pulp in the metal beneficiation process. The length of the water tank is 3000-14300mm, and the diameter of the spiral is 300-3000mm. It mainly uses the different specific gravity of copper ore particles, associated gangue particles, and the different sedimentation speed in the liquid to classify them.


7. Beneficiation - mixing tank and flotation machine

The flotation process needs to add flotation agents into the pulp so that the valuable ore particles can better adhere to the air bubbles generated by the flotation machine, float to the surface of the pulp and collect. The role of the mixing tank is to stir the pulp so that the chemical and the pulp are evenly mixed, and the reaction time of the chemical is accelerated.

xyf/kyf flotation machine
mixing tank

8. Drying - dryer

The copper concentrate collected by flotation has a relatively high water content and cannot meet the standard for use, so it must undergo a dehydration process.

The dryer is drying equipment specially used in mining, mineral processing, chemical, and other industries. It can process 1.9-76 tons of materials per hour. In addition to copper concentrate, we can also use it to dry much other metal and non-metal minerals.

Rotary Dryer

After these eight processes and nine kinds of equipment, we can separate the copper concentrate from the copper rough.

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