In Brazil, most soils are acidic and low in essential nutrients required for the growth and development of plants, making fertilizers essential for agriculture. As the biggest producer of soy in the world and a major producer of coffee, sugar cane and citrus fruits, Brazil is a large consumer of phosphate. Brazilian’s phosphate ores are predominantly from igneous rocks showing a complex mineralogy, associated with carbonites and oxides, typically iron, silicon and barium. The adopted industrial concentration circuit for this type of ore is a mix between magnetic separation (both low and high field) to remove the magnetic fraction and a froth flotation circuit composed by a reverse flotation of apatite (barite’s flotation) followed by direct flotation circuit (rougher, cleaner and scavenger circuit). Since the 70’s fatty acids obtained from vegetable oils are widely used as lower-cost collectors in apatite froth flotation. This is a very effective approach to the apatite family of minerals, being that this type of collector is both selective and efficient (high recovery). This paper presents Jatropha curcas L. oil (JCO) as a renewable and sustainable source of fatty acids with high selectivity in froth flotation of apatite. JCO is considerably rich in fatty acids such as linoleic, oleic and palmitic acid. The experimental campaign involved 216 tests using a modified Hallimond tube and two different minerals (apatite and quartz). In order to be used as a collector, the oil was saponified. The results found were compared with the synthetic collector, Fotigam 5806 produced by Clariant, which is composed mainly by soy oil. JCO showed the highest selectivity for apatite flotation with cold saponification at pH 8 and concentration of 2.5 mg/L. In this case, the mineral recovery was around 95%.
Starches are widely used as depressant in froth flotation operations in Brazil due to their efficiency, increasing the selectivity in the inverse flotation of quartz depressing iron ore. Starches market have been growing and improving in recent years, leading to better products attending the requirements of the mineral industry. The major source of starch used for iron ore is corn starch, which needs to be gelatinized with sodium hydroxide (NaOH) prior to use. This stage has a direct impact on industrials costs, once the lowest consumption of NaOH in gelatinization provides better control of the pH in the froth flotation and reduces the amount of electrolytes present in the pulp. In order to evaluate the gelatinization degree of different starches and flour were subjected to the addiction of NaOH and temperature variation experiments. Samples of starch (corn, cassava, HIPIX 100, HIPIX 101 and HIPIX 102 commercialized by Ingredion) and flour (cassava and potato) were tested. The starch samples were characterized through Scanning Electronic Microscopy and the amylose content were determined through spectrometry, swelling and solubility tests. The gelatinization was carried out through titration with NaOH, keeping the solution temperature constant at 40 oC. At the end of the tests, the optimal amount of NaOH consumed to gelatinize the starch or flour from different botanical sources was established and a correlation between the content of amylopectin in the starch and the starch/NaOH ratio needed for its gelatinization.
Modern agriculture requires productivity, efficiency and quality. Therefore, there is need for agricultural limestone implementation that provides adequate amounts of calcium and magnesium carbonates in order to correct soil acidity. During the limestone process, fine particles (with average size under 400#) are generated. These particles do not have economic value in agricultural and metallurgical sectors due their size. When limestone is used for agriculture purposes, these fine particles can be easily transported by wind generated air pollution. Therefore, briquetting, a mineral processing technique, was used to mitigate this problem resulting in an agglomerated product suitable for agriculture use. Briquetting uses compressive pressure to agglomerate fine particles. It can be aided by agglutination agents, allowing adjustments in shape, size and mechanical parameters of the mass. Briquettes can generate extra profits for mineral industry, presenting as a distinct product for agriculture, and can reduce the environmental liabilities of the fine particles storage or disposition. The produced limestone briquettes were subjected to shatter and water action resistance tests. The results show that after six minutes completely submerged in water, the briquettes where fully diluted, a highly favorable result considering its use for soil acidity correction.