The interaction of dextrin and guar gum with pyrite has been investigated through adsorption, flotation, and electrokinetic measurements. The adsorption densities of the polysaccharides onto pyrite reveal a region of higher adsorption density in the pH range 7.5-11, with a maximum around pH 10 for both polymers. The isotherms exhibit Langmuirian behavior. The adsorption density of guar gum onto pyrite is higher than that of dextrin. Electrokinetic measurements indicate a decrease in the electrophoretic mobility values in proportion to the concentration of the polymer added. Co-precipitation tests confirm polymer-ferric species interaction in the bulk solution, especially in the pH range 5.5-8.5. The pH range for higher adsorption, significant co-precipitation, and appreciable depression of pyrite encompass each other. XPS and FTIR spectroscopic studies provide evidence in support of chemical interaction between hydroxylated pyrite and the hydroxyl groups of the polymeric depressants. (C) 2000 Academic Press.