Study on Seafloor Mineral Processing for Development of Seafloor Massive Sulfides

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  • 海底熱水鉱床開発のための海底選鉱の研究
  • カイテイ ネッスイ コウショウ カイハツ ノ タメ ノ カイテイ センコウ ノ ケンキュウ

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Seafloor Massive Sulfides (SMSs), which were formed by deposition of precipitates from hydrothermal fluids vented from seafloor, are one of unconventional mineral resources beneath deep seafloors in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Japan. The authors have proposed the concept of Seafloor Mineral Processing, where useful minerals contained in SMS ores are separated from feed ores on deep seafloor to be lifted while remaining gangue is disposed on seafloor in appropriate ways. To apply column flotation, which is usually used for mineral processing on land, for seafloor mineral processing, model experiments of column flotation on deep seafloor were carried out at high pressures up to 10MPa using a large-scale high pressure vessel. In the experiments, fine bubbles suitable to flotation were generated in the flotation column at the pressures, and overflow of froth from the flotation column was observed. The content of metallic elements such as copper and zinc in the concentrates obtained from flotation at 1MPa was higher than that in the feed ores while that of silicon and calcium, which are mainly assigned to gangue, was lower than that in the feed ores. These results suggest that column flotation would be applicable for seafloor mineral processing.



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