White tungsten, also known as scheelite, is a valuable mineral used in various industries such as electronics, welding, and lighting. Its primary ore, scheelite, is often found in complex deposits with other minerals, making its extraction challenging. However, with the advancement of technology, there are now various methods to effectively separate scheelite from other minerals.
One of the most commonly used techniques for scheelite beneficiation is gravity separation, which exploits the differences in density between scheelite and other minerals. The process involves crushing the ore and then passing it through various types of gravity concentrators such as jigs, spiral chutes, and shaking tables. The enriched scheelite concentrate is then subjected to further processing to produce high-quality scheelite concentrates.
In addition to gravity separation, flotation is another method widely used in scheelite beneficiation. Flotation is a process where scheelite is selectively separated from other minerals using chemicals. The process involves adding a reagent to the ore slurry, which attaches to the scheelite particles and makes them hydrophobic, allowing them to attach to air bubbles. The air bubbles then carry the hydrophobic scheelite particles to the surface of the flotation cell, where they are collected as a concentrate.
Magnetic separation is another technique used for scheelite beneficiation. This process involves applying a magnetic field to the ore, which separates magnetic particles such as wolframite from non-magnetic particles such as scheelite. The separated scheelite concentrate is then processed further to produce high-purity scheelite concentrates.
Furthermore, scheelite beneficiation can also be achieved using hydrometallurgical methods. This involves dissolving the ore in an acidic solution, then extracting the scheelite using solvent extraction, ion exchange, or precipitation. This method is usually applied to low-grade scheelite ores and can result in high recovery rates and good quality scheelite concentrates.
In conclusion, scheelite beneficiation is a complex process that involves various methods such as gravity separation, flotation, magnetic separation, and hydrometallurgy. The choice of method depends on the type of ore, its grade, and the desired quality of the scheelite concentrate. With advances in technology, the beneficiation process of scheelite is becoming more efficient and cost-effective, which has made it more accessible for various industries to utilize this valuable mineral.