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.
electricity rates are very high and its a difficult thing
to do politically to give one industry a cheaper rate," Lavigne
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
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,
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.