||The importance of flotation separation has long been, and continues to be, an important technology for the mining industry, especially to metallurgical engineers. However, the flotation process is quite complex and expensive, in addition to being influenced by many variables. Understanding the variables affecting flotation efficiency and how valuable minerals are lost to the tailings gives metallurgists an advantage in their attempts to increase efficiency by designing operations to target the areas of greatest potential value. A successful, accurate evaluation of lost minerals in the tailings and appropriate solutions to improve flotation efficiency can save millions of dollars in the effective utilization of our mineral resources. In this dissertation research, an attempt has been made to understand the reasons for the loss of valuable mineral particles in the tailings from Kennecott Utah Copper ores. Possibilities include liberation, particle aggregation (slime coating) and surface chemistry issues associated with the flotation separation. This research generally consisted of three main aspects. The first part involved laboratory flotation experiments and factors, which affect the flotation efficiency. Results of flotation testing are reported that several factors such as mineral exposure/liberation and slime coating and surface oxidation strongly affect the flotation efficiency. The second part of this dissertation research was to develop a rapid scan dual energy (DE) methodology using 2D radiography to identify, isolate, and prepare lost sulfide mineral particles with the advantages of simple sample preparation, short analysis time, statistically reliable accuracy and confident identification. The third part of this dissertation research was concerned with detailed characterization of lost particles including such factors as liberation, slime coating, and surface chemistry characteristics using advanced analytical techniques and instruments. Based on the results from characterization, the extent to which these factors contribute to the loss of sulfide mineral particles in the tailings were determined.