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The Challenge of Tungsten Skarn Processing by Froth Flotation: A Review

Abstract : Recently, tungsten has drawn worldwide attention considering its high supply risk and economic importance in the modern society. Skarns represent one of the most important types of tungsten deposits in terms of reserves. They contain fine-grained scheelite (CaWO4) associated with complex gangue minerals, i.e., minerals that display similar properties, particularly surface properties, compared to scheelite. Consistently, the froth flotation of scheelite still remains, in the twenty first century, a strong scientific, industrial, and technical challenge. Various reagents suitable for scheelite flotation (collectors and depressants, mostly) are reviewed in the present work, with a strong focus on the separation of scheelite from calcium salts, namely, fluorite, apatite, and calcite, which generally represent significant amounts in tungsten skarns. Albeit some reagents allow increasing significantly the selectivity regarding a mineral, most reagents fail in providing a good global selectivity in favor of scheelite. Overall, the greenest, most efficient, and cheapest method for scheelite flotation is to use fatty acids as collectors with sodium silicate as depressant, although this solution suffers from a crucial lack of selectivity regarding the above-mentioned calcium salts. Therefore, the use of reagent combinations, commonly displaying synergistic effects, is highly recommended to achieve a selective flotation of scheelite from the calcium salts as well as from calcium silicates.
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Submitted on : Saturday, March 12, 2022 - 8:50:08 AM
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Yann Foucaud, Lev Filippov, Inna Filippova, Michael Badawi. The Challenge of Tungsten Skarn Processing by Froth Flotation: A Review. Frontiers in Chemistry, 2020, 8, pp.230. ⟨10.3389/fchem.2020.00230⟩. ⟨hal-03603339⟩



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