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Bentonite beneficiation

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Bentonite derived from ash falls tends to be in beds of uniform thickness (from a few millimetres to 15 m) and extensive over large areas (Parker, 1988). Bentonite from ash falls and other sources occurs worldwide in strata spanning a broad range of ages, but is most abundant in Cretaceous or younger rocks. Bentonite is a widely distributed material. Accordingly, its major component, montmorillonite, occurs abundantly as dust at and near surface deposits of bentonite and is dispersed widely by air and moving water. Montmorillonite is thus ubiquitous in low concentrations worldwide in soil, in the sediment load of natural waters, and in airborne dust. Biodegradation appears minimal, if it occurs at all, and there is no evidence of or reason to suspect accumulation in the foodchain. Abiotic degradation of bentonite into other minerals takes place only on a geological time scale (Parker, 1988)


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Bentonite samples from the field will be dried in the oven at 35 °C for four hours until reach moisture content less than 10%.Then the sample will be crushed using a Jaw crusher to 100% below 5 mm in size. This was followed by aero cyclone model EPC100P, to disintegrate the smectite from its associating gangue minerals. Both the aero cyclone underflow (coarser than 63 um) and the overflow fractions (finer than 63 um) were filtered dried at 55 °C and weighted. Underflow fractions, which were heavily contaminated with iron and free-silica impurities, were discarded. Meanwhile, the overflow fractions were used as bentonite pre-concentrates. The latter products were further upgraded by extracting, their residual iron impurities, with 7.1 kg m"' oxalic acid solutions for 2 h with 80 °C. The bentonite was beneficiated to improve its smectite content by removing the associated gangue minerals(mainly iron and free-silica).