Exploring the characterization, liberation and flotation response of a Nigerian low-grade copper ore

Willie Nheta, Omoyemi O. Ola-Omole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explores the characterization, liberation and flotation response of low-grade copper ore from Anka area, Zamfara state Nigeria. The ore was crushed, milled and sieved in accordance with BS 410 standard. It was characterized with XRD, XRF, SEM-EDS and AAS. Froth flotation was carried out with varying %solids, pH, retention time and collector dosages using SEX and sodium oleate. Particle size distribution of the ore shows its economic liberation between-150 and +106 µm while 80% passing corresponds to 175.7 µm using the Gaudin Schuhmann equation. However, according to metallurgical balance calculation, 63 µm proved to have the highest metal content. Identified peaks of the copper ore by XRD revealed the presence of pyrite and chalcopyrite as the major mineral content at 47 and 36%, respectively, while other elements were present in traces. XRF shows Fe and Cu as the major elements and others in traces. Morphology, according to SEM-EDS, revealed that Fe is the major impurity while the presence of Cu and S confirmed chalcopyrite is present in the ore minerals. AAS shows an average of 25.87% Cu and 32% Fe in the ore. Optimum recoveries of copper were recorded at 30% solids, pH of 8, 30 minutes retention time. The highest recovery of 95.94% was recorded with SEX at 0.25 mol/dm3, while recoveries were lower with PAX, the highest recovery being 33% at 0.20 mol/dm3. 0.25 mol/dm3 of SEX recorded the highest yield and enrichment ratio of 40.38 and 2.38, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalJournal of Sustainable Mining
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • chalcopyrite
  • characterisation
  • flotation grade
  • liberation
  • recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Pollution
  • Geology


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