Lead & Zinc

Due to low zinc and lead content, run-of-mine lead-zinc bearing ores must be concentrated before downstream processes either hydrometallurgy or pyrometallurgy.

Treatment of lead and zinc ores begins with Comminution. Comminution is a multi-stage crushing and grinding operation. It involves coarse crushing followed by wet grinding. Crushing is usually a dry operation. Primary crushing is often performed at the mine site by jaw crusher, followed by additional crushing with cone crusher. The ore is then ground in rod and ball mills.

The processing of lead-zinc mineral could be by gravity separation or flotation.

Pb-Zn minerals are amenable to gravity separation owing to the difference in their specific gravities and their associated gangue. So, either multi-stage cleaning with advanced gravity separators or a pre-concentration step using gravity (usually heavy media) followed by flotation may be adapted for lead-zinc beneficiation.

If the mineral veins separate from the rock cleanly, the ore could separate in coarse particle by gravity separation such shaking table and jigging.
If the liberation degree of lead-zinc ore is low then, the grinding to fine particle is inevitable. In these circumstances, flotation is the most preferred beneficiation way to treat complex sulfide ores. the fine particles are fed to the flotation circuit. In differential flotation, lead is recovered first by depressing zinc, subsequently zinc is activated and recovered. If lead- zinc oxide and carbonate also exist in the ore, they are separated after separation of sulfides.

Exhaustion of sulfide ore and growing demand for oxide ores lead to use sulphadiazine-flotation route to treat oxides, sulfates, and carbonate Pb-Zn minerals to modify the surface similar to that of sulfide minerals as the oxidized surface changed to a sulfide surface which is more hydrophobic.

Considering substantial quantities of water at the final concentrates, it should be transferred to concentrate thickeners for dewatering prior filtration. The final concentrate will be filter cake with 8-9 % moisture.
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