The effects of calcination for thermal activation, and intensive milling for mechanical activation, on the aluminum (Al) recovery by acid leaching of a pyrophyllite ore enriched via attrition scrubbing and froth flotation are investigated in this study. Specific thermal and milling energies consumed per unit amount of the ore are calculated, and an ideal activation method is proposed by comparing the activation methods in terms of energy consumption. Mechanical activation of the concentrate obtained by attrition scrubbing is suggested for higher aluminum recoveries. In terms of energy, the operating cost of mechanical activation is determined to be lower, and its aluminum recovery is higher than with thermal activation. It is concluded that mechanical activation is a more economical and environmentally friendly method.
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2023) 40:1333–1343, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-023-00794-2