flotation process

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flotation process, in mineral treatment and mining, process for concentrating the metal-bearing mineral in an ore. Crude ore is ground to a fine powder and mixed with water, frothing reagents, and collecting reagents. When air is blown through the mixture, mineral particles cling to the bubbles, which rise to form a froth on the surface. The waste material (gangue) settles to the bottom. The froth is skimmed off, and the water and chemicals are distilled or otherwise removed, leaving a clean concentrate. The process, also called the froth-flotation process, is used for a number of minerals, especially silver.

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flotation separation A concentration process where by finely ground ore is dispersed in water containing a flotation reagent which causes selected minerals to become hydrophobic. Aeration and agitation of the suspension allows hydrophobic particles to float while unaffected minerals sink. The floating particles are skimmed off or overflow the flotation cell.