The appetite for metals and minerals is growing. As demand increases with the growth in global population and the emergence of new products and technologies, the supply of easy-to-extract ores is being exhausted. This imbalance cannot be addressed through natural geological processes that create mineral deposits.
However, through intermediate chemistry products developed by Celanese Corporation (NYSE: CE), a global technology and specialty materials company, mining companies can see greater yields from their operations through Celanese’s acetone derivative product known as Methyl Isobutyl Carbinol (MIBC), a preferred frother of choice for the mining of ores, such as copper and molybdenum sulfide, as well as coal.
Frothing, also known as froth flotation, is the process of selectively separating hydrophobic valuable minerals from hydrophilic waste gangue. In its simplest form, froth flotation is a method where minerals can be “skimmed” from the surface of “slurry” that is “foamed” with the assistance of specific chemicals, water and air bubbles.
Celanese, in collaboration with Central South University in China, conducted a research program comparing the performance of different frother agents. The research study compared two copper ore samples from Yunnan and Inner-Mongolia China and characterized each by their physical properties. Celanese MIBC as well as other frother agents were tested measuring copper recovery rate and copper concentrate grade. For both copper ores, MIBC outperformed other frothers tested in terms of copper recovery rate and copper concentrate grade. A white paper entitled “MIBC: The preferred frother of choice for many sulfide ores and coals” is available for download from www.Celanese.com detailing the research study data and results.“Celanese’s MIBC is a preferred frother of choice for the mining industry because it can significantly contribute to the overall recovery rate and concentration grade in the flotation processes,” said Krista Myers Foley, director of the specialty derivatives business of Celanese. “Using MIBC as a frothing agent – or as a component in a blended solution – offers mining companies an industry-leading way to separate valuable minerals from waste and increase both yield and efficiency of mineral recovery efforts.”