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CuFeS2 / MoS2 Mineral Concentrate Preparation

The microstructural analysis of mining concentrates or tailings is useful in determining if the important minerals have been liberated from the gang material through grinding. In this example, a concentrate of chalcopyrite and molybdenite are to be separated by a secondary floatation process. For this to be effective the chalcopyrite and the molybdenite minerals need to be separated. If they are not, an additional or an extended grinding operation may be required. Proper microstructural preparation of these materials must maintain the structure of the ore concentrate. In other words, microstructural grinding and polishing must not liberate any minerals that are locked together. This is accomplished by first mounting the mineral in a castable mounting compound such as epoxy. Initial grinding with a 320 grit or finer SiC paper is required to prevent pulling out the mineral particles, especially the smaller particles. Rough polishing is accomplished on low napped polishing cloths using diamond, with final polishing for a very short time on a high napped cloth using an alumina suspension.

SECTIONING

Not required

MOUNTING
Castable Mounting with Epoxy or Acrylic resins

POLISHING

Abrasive/surface

Lubricant

Force/ sample

Speed
(Head/base)

Time

320 grit SiC paper Water 5-10 lbs

100/100 rpm

Until plane
6 um DIAMAT diamond on TEXPAN polishing pad SIAMAT colloidal silica 10 lbs

100/100 rpm

5 minutes

1 um DIAMAT diamond on GOLDPAD polishing pad

SIAMAT colloidal silica

10 lbs

100/100 rpm

5 minutes

SIAMAT Colloidal silca on TEXPAN polishing pad

 

10 lbs

100/100 rpm

5 minutes



Metallographic micrograph of CuFeS2 and MoS2 minerals

CuFeS2/MoS2 Mineral. Note that the two minerals have not been completely liberated from each other

CuFeS2-Mo
CuFeS2/MoS2 Mineral.
Note the separation of the two minerals.
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