Copper ore is generally bluish-green copper sulfide which is the result of the reaction of the aggregation of sulfide or oxide of copper and other minerals with the sulfuric acid. Natural copper ore has various colors. The brass ore is luminous yellow, and the bornite is dark copper-red and changes to be bluish violet porphyritic after oxidation; Chalcocite (cuprous sulfide) is lead gray; Covellite (copper sulfide) is indigo blue.
Floatation of two common copper ores in the copper ore mineral processing
1. Floatation of disseminated copper ore
Normally, the simple process is adopted that after one-stage grinding, the fineness-200 mesh shall occupy 50%-70%, and then 1 rough floatation, 2-3 concentration and 1-2 scavenging shall be conducted. If the disseminated granularity of the copper mineral is fine, stage grinding and separation process shall be considered. Most of the beneficiation plants dealing with bornite adopt the stage grinding and separation process where the rough concentrate shall be reground – concentrated, and the essence of which is mixing-differential floatation process. After the coarse grinding, rough floatation and scavenging, the rough concentrate shall be reground and concentrated to get copper concentrate and sulfur concentrate of high grade.
2. Floatation of compact copper ore
The compact copper ore consists of the compact symbiotic copper pyrite and iron pyrite. The iron pyrite is usually activated by the secondary copper mineral. The iron pyrite content is usually high and hard to control which lead to difficult separation. In the separation process, both copper concentrate and sulfur concentrate should be acquired at the same time. Usually, the tailings after copper separation is the sulfur concentrate. If the gangue content in the ore exceeds 20%~25%, re-separation shall be necessary to get sulfur concentrate. To process the compact copper ore, two-stage grinding or stage grinding shall be normally adopted and the grinding fineness is required to be really fine.