Zimbabwe Mineral Profiles: Chrome

Zimbabwe Mineral Profiles: Chrome

BACKGROUND

Ferrochrome is a corrosion-resistant alloy of chrome and iron with a chrome content of between 50% and 60%. It is mostly used for making stainless steel and other metal alloys.

MINE LOCATIONS IN ZIMBABWE

Zimbabwean HCFC producers are located in the Midlands region due to its centrality to most of the required raw materials. The main raw material in ferrochrome production, chromite ore is mined in the Northern, Central and Southern part of the great dyke. All ferrochrome plants are thus strategically located in the Midlands province:

  • Zimasco – Kwekwe
  • Zimalloys – Gweru
  • Maranatha – Kadoma
  • Wel-Mining – Gweru

VERIFIED AREAS WITH DEPOSITS

Zimbabwe is ranked 2nd after South Africa in Chrome Deposits Globally, it accounts approximately 12% of the total global reserves.  It has an estimated reserve of 10 Billion Tonnes in the great dyke, ore also mainly occurs in the greenstone belts. Zimbabwe is estimated to host over 80% of the world’s resource of metallurgical chrome, mainly on the Great Dyke with a chromic oxide range of 47% to 60% and chromium to iron ratios ranging between 2:2 and 4:1.

Other confirmed areas with chrome deposits are:

  • Mberengwa
  • Guruve
  • Makonde
  • Gweru
  • Kwekwe
  • Shurungwi,
  • Chegutu
  • Kadoma
  • Gwanda
  • Insiza
  • Masvingo
  • Chirumanzu

USES AND BENEFICIATION OPPORTUNITIES

Chromium is alloyed (that is, mixed) with steel to make it corrosion-resistant or harder. An example is its use in the production of stainless steel, a bright, shiny steel that is strong and resistant to rusting. Stainless steel production consumes most of the chromium produced annually. Chromium is also used to make heat-resisting steel. So-called “super alloys” use chromium and have strategic military applications.

Chromium also has some use in the manufacture of certain chemicals. For example, chromium-bearing chemicals are used in the process of tanning leather. Chromium compounds are also used in the textiles industries to produce a yellow color.

PRICE TRENDS

Stainless steel production accounts for more than 80 percent and 70 percent of ferrochrome and nickel consumption, respectively. Hence, stainless steel is the major driver for demand and pricing of ferrochrome and chrome ore commodities.

The consensus five-year outlook for chrome ore is positive. As per the available data, supply of chrome ore is expected to increase at a CAGR of 2.4 percent over the 2018 to 2022 period. Demand is expected to increase at a CAGR of 2.9 percent. This compares to the previous five years, where supply grew at a CAGR of 2.8 percent and demand at 3.0 percent.

Chrome Demand and Supply. 2017-2022 are Forecasts

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