Development of Reagent Schemes for Reducing MgO Content in the Flotation Concentrate for Processing Florida’s High-Dolomite Phosphate Deposits
A 1989 FIPR characterization study of the future phosphate resources in Florida showed that MgO would be a problem with both the pebble and concentrate as phosphate mining moves deeper. Since the ratio of concentrate to pebble will become higher and higher in the future, reducing MgO content in the concentrate by a small margin would allow blending of a large portion of the high-dolomite pebble. This research was conducted based on that logic.
The following six approaches were tested for reducing MgO content in the flotation concentrate: (1) Adding a dolomite depressant in the rougher flotation step; (2) Dolomite flotation on the rougher concentrate with and without grinding; (3) Dolomite flotation on the cleaner concentrate with and without grinding; (4) Scrubbing the flotation feed; (5) Scrubbing the rougher concentrate; (6) Scrubbing the cleaner concentrate. Successful methods include adding a dolomite depressant in the rougher flotation, dolomite flotation on the cleaner concentrate with grinding, and scrubbing the cleaner concentrate in quartz sand. These techniques could reduce MgO content in the final concentrate by 20-40%. The flotation process could achieve a concentrate with the lowest MgO content, but it is the most expensive approach. Adding a dolomite is inexpensive and easy, but the effect is limited. Overall, scrubbing may be the most promising technology for this purpose.