An Overview Of Potash Flotation

Author(s) M. Oliazadeh, M. Aghamirian, T. Grammatikopoulos, D. Imeson
Canadian Mineral Processors (CMP). Presented January 2012


More than 70% of potash is produced worldwide by froth flotation. Flotation of potash was developed in the early 1930s. Amines are widely used for flotation of sylvite (KCl) from halite (NaCl) and insoluble materials such as clays. Amine collector is also absorbed by clays. Therefore, clays are usually separated by scrubbing and de-sliming prior to flotation.

Alternatively, slimes can be floated ahead of potash flotation. Flotation recoveries of sylvite are commonly in the range of 85%, while losses can occur in slimes, flotation tailings and make-up of process brine. Ores containing free coarse-grained sylvite are generally screened, whereas both fine and coarse fractions are conditioned and floated separately.

The unique features of potash flotation include solubility of sylvite in water, the size of particles floated and fast kinetics. Particles up to 2.3 mm can be floated and about 50% of flotation feed can be removed in the rougher stage in few minutes. The main challenges in potash flotation are the recovery of potash from slimes, flotation efficiency in the presence of carnallite and recovery of coarse potash grains. A review of potash flotation shows that there is still room for improvement in both coarse and fine potash flotation.

The present paper reviews the most significant flotation parameters including reagent type and dosage, flotation circuits, flotation equipment size and new developments in potash flotation. The latter include new reagents, flotation technologies (Hydrofloat, Jameson and column cells) larger flotation cells and slimes flotation.