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An improved froth flotation method is provided for the removal and recovery of an ultra-fine constituent such as carbon from tailings such as fly ash. A flotation apparatus is utilized that preferably includes a slurry conditioning tank and a flotation cell. The method of the present invention comprises the improvement of utilizing a flotation reagent formulation comprising a mixture of fuel oil and petroleum sulfonate. The method broadly includes the steps of (1) producing a slurry, or solid suspension, of the material containing the constituent to be recovered by adding a preselected amount of water or other slurrying liquid; (2) adding the flotation reagent comprising a mixture of fuel oil and petroleum sulfonate to the slurry that renders the selected constituent hydrophobic; (3) aerating the conditioned slurry; (4) recovering the selected ultra-fine constituent from an upper portion of the flotation apparatus; and (5) withdrawing and recovering tailings from a lower portion of the flotation apparatus.


University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, Ky.

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