NEW YORK The development of a method to reduce chromite ore in ferrochrome using natural gas could make ferrochrome deposits found in the Ring of Fire region in northern Ontario more viable, according to Maurice J. Lavigne, vice president of development and exploration at junior miner KWG Resources Inc.
"We do know that its going to be cheaper," Lavigne said of the method that KWG is patenting, which uses similar technology to that used in direct-reduced iron (DRI) production (amm.com, Oct. 25).
The method would reduce the electricity needed to make ferrochrome and alleviate the need for the politically contentious choice to give potential producers lower power rates, which they would need to be competitive on the world market.
"In Ontario, electricity rates are very high and its a difficult thing to do politically to give one industry a cheaper rate," Lavigne said.
A stable supply of ferrochrome from Canada could be well received as soaring electricity costs and availability continue to plague the worlds top producer, South Africa.
"They will always be stuck with high electricity costs and people around the world are looking for more stable supplies of ferrochrome," Lavigne said.
The price to build a facility to reduce chromite using the method, which is still being refined, will likely cost more than a plant for DRI, Lavigne said.
KWG has a 30-percent interest in the Big Daddy chrome ore deposit and the right to earn 80 percent of the Black Horse chrome ore deposit. The Toronto-based company is looking for a senior partner to develop the deposits, Lavigne said.
KWG is also looking to build a railroad to the remote region to help improve its competitiveness on the world market, according to Lavigne.