Phosphorite is generally used in the manufacture of phosphate fertilizer and plays a vital role in the development of agricultural and food production. Nonetheless, how to obtain phosphorite concentrates efficiently and sustainably has become an urgent problem. In this study, a newly designed trisiloxane surfactant, N-(2-Aminoethyl)-3-aminopropyltrisiloxane (AATS), has been prepared and utilized as an emerging collector for reverse flotation of phosphorite ore. Its collecting ability was compared with the conventional surfactant 1-dodecamine (DDA). In the collector concentration tests, AATS with lower concentrations showed stronger collecting ability for quartz. In the pH tests, AATS always performed better than DDA in the acidic or alkaline condition. In bench-scale flotation experiments, the P2O5 recovery of phosphorite concentrates with 150 g/t AATS was 10.77% higher than that with 300 g/t DDA, which proved that AATS can be applied to the sustainable production of phosphorite concentrates. For a 4000 t/d phosphorite ore processing plant, the profit could be increased 7,014,702.07 USD every year by using AATS as the collector. Therefore, this work provides a promising approach to enhance the production efficiency of phosphate fertilizer and to promote the sustainable development of agriculture.
Keywords: phosphate fertilizer; phosphorite; quartz; reverse flotation; trisiloxane surfactant.