An investigation on flotation process of low grade Niobium/Tantalum ore

Willie Nheta, Brian Ruwizhi

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this paper, the characterization and flotation performance of AM810 Hydroxamic acid on Niobium (Nb) and Tantalum (Ta) ore was investigated. The ore was characterized using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). Flotation experiments were carried out in a 3 litre Leeds Barker laboratory flotation cell. It was observed that the ore was a low grade Nb-Ta ore constituting 0.01% Nb and 0.04% Ta interlocked in 32.42% Si matrix together with other gangue minerals such as Al, Na, K, Fe and Ca minerals. Major mineral phases bearing Nb and Ta were Ilmenorutile [FeO (Nb, Ta)2O5.5TiO2], Pyrochlore [(Na, Ca, Ce)2(Nb, Ta)2O6(OH, F)] and Tapiolite [(Fe, Mn)(Nb, Ta)2O6]. Milling tests conducted at varying times show that the ore was fairly hard producing 80% passing 150μm after milling for 40 minutes in a laboratory rod mill. Flotation tests indicated that at a grind of 80% passing75μm and collector dosage of 2000g/t (AM810 Hydroxamic acid), a flotation concentrate assaying 0.10% Nb and 0.13% at a recovery of 77.02 and 82.74% respectively was obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberMMME 137
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the World Congress on Mechanical, Chemical, and Material Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event6th World Congress on Mechanical, Chemical, and Material Engineering, MCM 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 16 Aug 202018 Aug 2020


  • Coltan
  • Flotation
  • Niobium
  • Pyrochlore
  • Tantalum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Chemical Engineering


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