TORONTO – KWG Resources, that is earning an 80% interest the Black Horse chromite deposit in Ontario's Ring of Fire, has filed a patent application for a new method of refining chromite ore into ferrochrome using natural gas.
Drawing from methods of producing directly reduced iron, KWG gave a brief description of the process in a news release:
"Samples of chromite ore concentrates from a deposit within the Ring of Fire have been successfully reduced to a highly metallized chromium iron alloy suitable for steelmaking. The temperature required for the reduction of chromium is much higher than that for the reduction of iron alone. In order to enable the reduction process to proceed at an acceptable rate at lower temperatures the use of an accelerator has been determined. The chromite ore concentrate is supplied as fines and needs to be agglomerated prior to the reduction stage. This is accomplished by using a disc pelletizer, commonly available for the production of iron ore pellets. It has been shown that carbon is a required additive to the chromite to facilitate reduction."
The new process has produced metallization levels of chromium and iron in the 80% range. With further process development, it is expected to go higher.
Conventional means of smelting chromite ores rely on using solid carbonaceous reductants in a submerged electric arc furnace. KWG's new process will skip this step, and the reduced pellets it produces can be fed directly into a steelmaking or alloy furnace.
More information is available at KWGResources.com.