The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Research is being conducted at a Sudbury facility to develop a new, less expensive method of processing chromite ore from the Ring of Fire and turning it into ferrochrome.
KWG Resources Ltd. has filed a patent application while work is being done to commercialize a method of using natural gas, rather than an electric arc furnace, to power a ferrochrome processing plant.
Moe Lavigne, vice-president of exploration and development for KWG, said his company is aiming to reduce the cost of producing ferrochrome from the chromite it will mine from the Black Horse deposit it has an 80% share in in the Ring of Fire.
If you factored in current electricity prices, two to three times higher in Ontario than some provinces, electric arc furnaces and road transportation, “there’s a very strong chance … the Ring of Fire won’t be economical at all,” said Lavigne.
Cliffs Natural Resources hopes to develop its Ring of Fire Black Thor deposit and ship some of its material to a smelter it plans to construct in Capreol.
To compete and make inroads in the industrial metals market, companies mining in the Ring of Fire will have to “offer something that’s cheaper, better,” Lavigne said.
That’s why his company, working with two metallurgy consultants, hired XPS Consulting & Testwork Services in Falconbridge to do the research to develop the natural gas processing method and get around Ontario’s high hydro rates.
Formerly Xstrata Process Support until it was purchased by Glencore, XPS is a licensed metallurgical engineering, technology services and test work company. It offers services such as process mineralogy, extractive metallurgy, process control, materials technology and plant support.
The two consultants whom KWG is working with are excited at the results XPS has produced so far, said Lavigne.
For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2013/11/01/local-firms-test-new-ring-of-fire-technology