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New Technology for Clay Removal



A research program was performed to examine new technology for clay removal from Florida phosphate ore.

One aspect of the research tested four applications of ultrasonic treatment:

1. Sonication of pebble to remove mud balls
2. Sonication to clean the surface of flotation feed
3. Sonication to remove reagents from rougher concentrate
4. Sonication of clay slurry to accelerate consolidation

In the first three applications the response to ultrasonic treatment was positive but slight. Sonication of clay slurry appeared to have no effect on clay consolidation. Further testing of ultrasonic treatment to enhance phosphate beneficiation was curtailed because no practical benefits were demonstrated by the four applications tested.

The second aspect of the research program measured the viscosity of primary cyclone overflows from six beneficiation plants. Viscosity measurements for different samples at the same clay % solids varied significantly. A method of controlling cyclone operation using on-line viscosity measurements and pump box level sensors is proposed.