Download the full-sized PDF of Direct Flotation of Niobium Oxide Minerals from Carbonatite Niobium OresDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

Direct Flotation of Niobium Oxide Minerals from Carbonatite Niobium Ores Open Access


Other title
adsorption mechanism
hydroxamic acid
batch flotation
sodium metaphosphate
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Ni, Xiao
Supervisor and department
Liu, Qi (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Yeung, Tony (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Choi, Phillip (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Liu, Qingxia (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Tao, Daniel (Mining Engineering)
Bhattacharjee, Subir (Mechanical Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Materials Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Currently the recovery of niobium oxide minerals from carbonatite niobium ores relies on the use of non-selective cationic collectors. This leads to complicated process flowsheets involving multiple desliming and multiple reverse flotation stages, and low niobium recovery. In this research, anionic collectors that are capable of strong chemisorption on the niobium minerals were studied with the objective of directly floating the niobium oxide minerals from the carbonatite ores. In the flotation of both high purity minerals and Niobec ores, it was shown that the combination of hydroxamic acid and sodium metaphosphate was an effective reagent scheme for the direct flotation of niobium oxide from its ores. Batch flotation on the Niobec Mill Feed showed that over 95% of niobium oxide was recovered into a rougher concentrate that was less than 47% of the original feed mass. Preliminary cleaning tests showed that the reagent scheme could also be used to upgrade the rougher concentrate, although the depression of iron oxide minerals required further study. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopic (XPS) measurement results confirm that OHA (octyl hydroxamic acid) could chemisorb on pyrochlore surface while only physically adsorb on calcite, judging by the chemical shifts of electron binding energies in the elements in both OHA and the mineral surfaces. When hydroxamic acid was adsorbed on calcite surface, the binding energies of the N 1s electrons, at 400.3 eV, did not shift. However, after adsorption on pyrochlore, the N 1s binding energy peak split into two peaks, one at a binding energy of around 399 eV, representing chemically adsorbed OHA, the other at between 400 and 401 eV. The experimental data suggested a strong chemisorption of the OHA on pyrochlore surface in the form of a vertical head-on orientation of the OHA molecules so that the pyrochlore was strongly hydrophobized even at low OHA concentrations, followed by possibly randomly oriented physisorbed OHA molecules. On the other hand, OHA only physisorbed on calcite forming a horizontally oriented monolayer of OHA. The results explain the observed selectivity of hydroxamic acid in the flotation of niobium oxide minerals from carbonatite niobium ores.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 4701428
Last modified: 2015:10:12 10:45:25-06:00
Filename: Ni_Xiao_Spring 2013.pdf
Original checksum: 6eec503e642dd64fe762770cef2aceb3
Well formed: true
Valid: true
File author: Shore Ni
Page count: 219
File language: en-US
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date