SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Copper production. View of a copper sulphide froth in a flotation tank at a copper smelting plant. Copper ore is crushed to a rough powder, wet to form a slurry then treated with a xanthate. This makes the particles of copper sulfide in the ore hydrophobic, unlike the rest of the rocky matrix. The slurry passes into a large tank containing a surfactant and air is pumped through. The copper sulfide particles stick to the bubbles that form and congregate in a surface foam that is easily skimmed off for further processing. Photographed at the Norilsk Nickel Combine in Krasnoyarsk Region, Russia.
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