Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 99–110 | Cite as

A Critical Overview of Dithiophosphinate and Dithiophosphate Interactions with Base Metal Sulfides and Precious Metals

  • Napoleon Tercero
  • D. R. NagarajEmail author
  • Raymond Farinato
Review Article


Historically, as for most reagents used in flotation, the wide-spread use of dialkyl dithiophosphinates as collectors in practical applications has preceded a detailed scientific understanding of how they work. Dialkyl dithiophosphinates are a technologically and commercially important class of collectors used in the flotation processing of Cu-Au, complex polymetallic, and precious metal ores. Plant usage has demonstrated that dithiophosphinates exhibit higher selectivity and flotation rates for Cu sulfides, galena, and precious metal values in the presence of other gangue sulfides, than the traditionally used collectors such as dialkyl dithiophosphates and xanthates. They also have an attractive health, safety, and environmental (HSE) profile. Although dithiophosphinates received little attention in the past in the flotation research community, recently, there has been significant interest in this chemistry, and numerous studies have been conducted to understand the fundamental interactions of dithiophosphinates with several base metal sulfides and precious metals. A critical overview of fundamental studies, laboratory ore flotation, and plant practice of dithiophosphinates is given in this paper. The findings from these studies are rationalized and explained by drawing on concepts and insights from coordination chemistry. A comparison between the interactions with various minerals and metals of dithiophosphinate and dithiophosphate analogues brings out some of the subtleties that seemingly minor changes in collector chemistry can make. The critical overview and analysis given here is useful in identifying gaps in knowledge regarding this important class of compounds. This in turn can provide a basis for the design of studies to advance our understanding of dithiophosphinate flotation performance.


Dithiophosphinates AEROPHINE 3418A Dithiophosphates Coordination chemistry Electrochemistry Adsorption Flotation Sulfide minerals Sulfide ores Cu ores Cu-Au ores Precious metals ores Polymetallic ores 



We thank the management of Solvay for their support and permission to publish this work.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Solvay Technology SolutionsStamfordUSA

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