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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 2225-6253

J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.110 n.2 Johannesburg Feb. 2010




The effect of cation and organic addition on the settling and compaction behaviour of clay-rich slimes



M. FowlerI; J. MorkelII

IExxaro Resources, South Africa
IIUniversity of Pretoria, South Africa




A high volume of slimes which are separated out during the mining of heavy mineral sands has a high environmental impact and results in great capital as well as operational expenses. The presence of clay minerals drastically increases the slimes volume that needs to be catered for due to its low settling capability as well as swelling characteristics. By adding coagulants in the form of cations and organics, one can improve the settling rate of the minerals as well as the degree of solid bed compaction. The addition of flocculant, which is currently used in industry to improve settling rate, is detrimental to solid bed compaction. By combining the cations and flocculant one can dramatically improve the solid bed compaction. This combination is, however, detrimental to the settling rate of kaolinite-rich slimes but improves the settling rate of smectite-rich slimes. Organics can also be used to produce a clear supernatant and improve the settling rate.



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