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Chromite

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Pricing News

  • Price briefing: September 14 - 20

    Friday, 21 September 2018

    Chromite market still quiet at Q3-end; Antimony metal price drives trioxide prices upward; China's magnesia prices firm on strict environmental inspections; PRICING NOTICE: Launch of frac sand price; Ilmenite price range widens downward in China, defying expectations; Industrial Minerals to track prices in booming frac sand market

  • Chromite market still quiet at Q3-end

    Wednesday, 19 September 2018

    Slow trading during the summer and perceived improvement in availability have led to slight adjustments to foundry and chemical grade prices over the third quarter.

  • Price briefing: August 31-September 6

    Friday, 07 September 2018

    Falling yuan, rupee trigger iodine sell-off in Asia; Flake graphite market in Europe stable, local availability reducing; Battery-grade lithium carbonate prices dip on ample supply and lack of buyer interest; Non-met chromite prices unfazed by weaker rand; European titanium dioxide buyers well stocked after China export drive

  • Non-met chromite prices unfazed by weaker rand

    Tuesday, 04 September 2018

    Market prices for both foundry and chemical-grade chromite were unaffected by the recent depreciation of the South African currency.

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Features

  • A rock and a hard place

    Friday, 08 September 2017

    Demand for refractory products is evolving, forcing suppliers to upgrade their offers and processes to stay ahead of the game, while Chinese-origin raw materials are appreciating on the back of supply shortages, making productions costlier, Davide Ghilotti, IM Chief Reporter, finds.

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Market Brief

Chromite is the commercial name for iron chromium oxide (FeCr2O4), a mineral containing chromium (a transition metal with multiple oxidation states) and iron oxide. In its purest form, chromite comprises chromium (Cr2O3) at 68% and iron oxide (FeO) at 32%.

 

Chromite occurs exclusively in ultramafic rocks such as dunite, peridotite, pyroxenite and serpentinite.

 

High purity deposits are rare owing to replacement by certain elements. In nature, ferrous iron tends to be partially replaced by magnesium, while chromium may be partially replaced by aluminium or ferric iron.

 

As a result, a range of chromite grades can occur in any deposit, with each grade suitable for a specific application.

 

Grades produced include metallurgical and non-metallurgical applications:

 

·         Metallurgical grade (high chromium chromite, minimum 40% Cr2O3)

·         Chemical grade (high iron chromite, 46% Cr2O3)

·         Foundry grade (low silica chromite, 45% Cr2O3)

·         Refractory grade (high aluminium chromite, 46% Cr2O3)

 

Supply

World chromite reserves are estimated to total around 7.6bn tonnes, with the majority of this located in South Africa. The country is by far the single largest holder of the world’s chromite reserves, accounting for 5.5bn tonnes (72%) – much of which is held in the Bushveld Igneous Complex.

 

Other important sources of chromite include Zimbabwe (with 12% of the world’s reserves), Kazakhstan (4%), Finland (2%), India (1%) and smaller amounts in Turkey and elsewhere.

 

World production of chrome ore totalled 23.8m. tonnes in 2008 and was dominated by South Africa (41%), followed by India (16%), Kazakhstan (15%), Turkey (8%), and Oman (3.5%).

 

Leading non-metallurgical chromite producers include:

 

Assmang – South Africa

Chromex – UK (operating in South Africa)

Cihan Group – Turkey

Dedeman Madencilik – Turkey

Eti Krom – Turkey

Marico Chrome – South Africa

Oman Chromite – Oman

Rand York Minerals – South Africa

Samancor – South Africa

Xstrata – South Africa


Markets

Ferrochrome markets consumed 93% of the chrome ore produced in 2009, with non-metallurgical markets accounting for almost all of the balance (save for 0.1% used as chromium metal).

Chemical and foundry grade chromite consumed around 3% each of total chromite production, with about 1% used in refractories.

 

Chemical grade chromite: used in leather tanning, metal finishing and wood preservatives. Also used to produce light-stable and corrosion-inhibiting pigments; in addition to paints, colour glass, and ceramic glazes.

 

Foundry grade chromite: specialist foundry sand used to produce manganese, carbon and alloy steel castings and non-ferrous metal castings. Promotes rapid solidification of castings.

 

Refractory grade chromite: used to manufacture refractory bricks used in converters and furnaces for platinum, copper and lead production, and some secondary steelmaking processes.