Nickel refining

The mining industry uses chemicals as ‘flotation’ agents in the recovery of sulfide minerals containing metallic elements (e.g., copper, nickel, silver, gold) from ore slurries. Sodium ethyl xanthate (SEX) is one of most common flotation agents, and it decomposes to form ethanol, carbon disulfide CS2, and Carbonyl Sulfide COS. These harmful gaseous compounds must be monitored from the indoor air at the enriching plant.

The xanthate solution is stored in tanks, which need periodic cleaning due to sludge buildup as the chemical decomposes over time. Removing the sludge releases sulfur-containing gases (CS2, COS), and the cleaning interval varies from 3 to 12 months. In the actual flotation process, workers involved in checking flows, the head tank or in adjusting and monitoring the pulp levels in the flotation process could be exposed to CS2.

The Gasmet™ DX4040 FTIR multi-gas analyzer provides accurate and reliable readings for CS2 and COS with simple calibration (zero calibration only) and straightforward operation. The standard configuration contains up to 25 gases, making the instrument a versatile tool for occupational health measurements involving various mining chemicals.