Methods for niobium concentration from a carbonatite host rock are presented. A basic process for niobium mineral concentration involves performing niobium mineral flotation, on a sufficiently liberated ore slurry, using at one least aromatic hydroxamate collector; and at least one lead salt as a performance modifier. A more optimized process further includes dispersion. A further optimized process includes: magnetic separation, dispersion, sulphide removal, fine suspended particle removal, and niobium cleaner flotation stages. The use of one of number of tested lead salts during flotation improves the yield, and lowers the cost as a significantly lower amount of the collector is required. The process is useful for recovering a variety of species of niobium minerals such as fersmite, pyrochlore, columbite, fergusonite, niobium-containing rutile, and niobium-containing ilmenite.