Tantalum-containing minerals abound, but few are tantalum minerals (Ta/Nb≥1). Tantalite and fine spar are the main ones with industrial value, as well as titanium-niobium-tantalite, tin-manganese-tantalite, heavy tantalum iron ore, and tantalum tin ore.
Despite the fact that there are many different types of niobium minerals, due to their complex compositions, many of them are difficult to separate and purify in industry, which limits their usefulness. In addition to niobium iron ore, pyrochlore, brown niobium yttrium ore, black rare gold ore, calcite, ilmenite, and rutile, niobium minerals with industrial value include niobium iron ore, pyrochlore, and niobium Yttrium ore.
Tantalum and niobium are mostly found in tantalite and pyrochlore minerals. Tantalum-niobite containing more tantalum is called tantalite, while niobite containing more niobium is called niobite.
Tantalite and pyrochlore are the most common minerals containing tantalum and niobium. In tantalum-niobite, tantalite contains more tantalum, and niobite contains more niobium.
A cationic collector or an anionic collector can be used to collect tantalum-niobite and pyrochlore. Complex collectors (such as sodium hydroxamate) have a better flotation effect.
With a pH value of 6 to 8, tantalum-niobium ore floats best when using oleic acid as a collector. Tantalum niobium ore is easily separated from gangue, such as quartz, when pH = 6 to 8, when tantalite and niobium are inhibited, but quartz, feldspar and dolomite are not.
Tantalum niobium ore becomes easy to float after treating with 10% sulfuric acid. As the amount of acid increases, the floatability of tantalum niobium ore increases, and the effect of using sulfuric acid is better than that of using hydrochloric acid. Treated with 1% hydrofluoric acid, the degree of activation is similar to that of sulfuric acid.
When oleic acid is used as a collector and the concentration of sodium sulfide is 10-20 mg/L, tantalum niobium ore, and some gangue can be inhibited. When a cationic collector is used, sodium sulfide initially activates some minerals such as tantalum niobium ore, but with the increase of its dosage, the recovery rate of tantalum niobium ore decreases. When oleic acid is used to capture tantalum niobium ore, a small amount of sodium silicate fluoride can inhibit all minerals.