Lithium ore beneficiation methods include manual selection, flotation, magnetic separation, chemical or chemical-flotation combined method, thermal cracking, radioactive beneficiation, particle flotation, etc.
1. Manual Selection Method
In the early days, the development of the beneficiation industry was lagging behind and the technical level was low. Since most of the lithium ore comes from pegmatite deposits, the main industrial minerals selected are spodumene, beryl, and other large crystals, which are easily selected. Therefore, in the 1850s and 1960s, almost all of them were hand-selected lithium ore. In 1962, the world’s beryl concentrate production was 7400t, of which hand-selected concentrate accounted for 91%.
However, the manual separation method has great defects, such as high labor intensity, low production efficiency, serious waste of resources, etc. With the continuous development of mineral processing technology, the flotation method has gradually replaced the manual separation method to process lithium ore.
The treatment of lithium ore by flotation method has been applied abroad since the 1930s, but the treatment of lithium ore by flotation method in my country began in the late 1950s. There are two commonly used spodumene flotation methods, positive flotation and reverse flotation.