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  • Xanthates are the salts and esters of a xanthic acid, ROC(=S)SH or O-esters of dithiocarbonic acid where R is any organic residue.
  • Other names for xanthates include xanthogenates, carbondithioates, dithiocarbonates and sodium or potassium salts of xanthanic (or dithiocarbonic) acids.
  • Four types of xanthates (ethyl, butyl, propyl and amyl) can be produced in various combinations with sodium and potassium, which are stabilizers in the chemical formula.
  •  Xanthates can be produced from carbon disulfide, and are used as flotation agents in mineral processing.
  • Xanthate precipitation is a relatively new technology compared to other precipitation methods. Xanthates are sulfonated organic compounds. The xanthate acts as an ion exchange material, where heavy metals ions are replaced with sodium and magnesium.
  • Xanthates are commonly used to manufacture cellulose film (cellophane) and rayon, but in Australia they are exclusively used as a collector for the extraction of sulfide minerals.
  • Xanthate is the common name for chemical reagents used in the flotation of base and precious metals, which is the standard method for separating valuable minerals, such as gold, copper, lead or zinc minerals, from non-valuable minerals, such as limestone or quartz (gangue).
  • Xanthates are also used as defoliants, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides in agricultural production and as additives in the curing and vulcanization of rubber and as high-pressure lubricant additives.

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