Effect of particle size on the flocculation behaviour of ultra-fine clays in salt solutions
Authors: Kotlyar L. S.; Sparks B. D.; Lepage Y.; Woods J. R.
Source: Clay Minerals, Volume 33, Number 1, 1 March 1998 , pp. 103-107(5)
Publisher: Mineralogical Society
Abstract:The Athabasca oil sands deposit in Alberta contains ~5 x 109 m3 of bitumen accessible by surface mining. During bitumen separation from the mined ore, ultra-fine (<300 nm) aluminosilicate clays only a few layers thick (U/F) are mobilized and become dispersed in the process water. In this water containing dissolved salts from natural deposits, U/F are capable of forming thixotropic gels. The consequence of this is the production of large volumes of mature fine tailings (MFT) with a high water holding capacity. For mine planning purposes, the objective of predicting and possibly mitigating MFT formation requires an understanding of the colloidal behaviour of U/F particles in salt solutions. In this work, photon correlation spectroscopy and the deuterium NMR method are used to provide an insight into the U/F floc formation process. These results are correlated with conventional analysis of settling data.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 1998-03-01