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Article

Ophiolite Chromite Deposits as a New Source for the Production of Refractory Chromite Sands

1
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Milan, 20133 Milan, Italy
2
ISTerre, Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Univ. Savoie Mont Blanc, CNRS, IRD, IFSTTAR, 38041 Grenoble, France
3
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences—DISAT, University of Milan-Bicocca, 20126 Milan, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7096; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177096
Received: 31 July 2020 / Revised: 18 August 2020 / Accepted: 27 August 2020 / Published: 31 August 2020
Chromite foundry sands, mixed with binding resins, are employed in the industry to form molds for high demanding casting of metals and steel. As there is no substitute, these sands highly contribute to placing chromium at the top value of the economic importance parameter in the EU classification of critical raw materials. Finding new sources to produce these sands can contribute to lowering its criticality. Chromite foundry sands must meet strict quality parameters, referred to as Cr2O3 content, Fineness Index, SiO2 content, and Acid Demand. The foundry chromite market is dominated by South Africa production deriving from layered intrusion chromite deposits. Chromite sands from ophiolite chromite deposits, normally used for the metallurgical-grade chromite market, were tested as an alternative starting raw material to produce chromite foundry sands. The study of the silicate impurities assemblage showed that its mineralogy strongly affects the result of the most crucial parameter, the Acid Demand. Ophiolite chromite with serpentine impurities should be depurated to a hardly affordable 0.31% SiO2 content to meet Acid Demand quality threshold, due to high reactivity of this silicate with the acid environment of the test. Those with olivine impurities require to be depurated to a much more easily affordable 2.11% SiO2 content. As a result, ophiolite chromite with an olivine dominated silicate assemblage can be used as an alternative source of chromite foundry sands. View Full-Text
Keywords: chromite foundry sand; ophiolite chromite; acid demand test; silicate mineralogy chromite foundry sand; ophiolite chromite; acid demand test; silicate mineralogy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bussolesi, M.; Grieco, G.; Eslami, A.; Cavallo, A. Ophiolite Chromite Deposits as a New Source for the Production of Refractory Chromite Sands. Sustainability 2020, 12, 7096. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177096

AMA Style

Bussolesi M, Grieco G, Eslami A, Cavallo A. Ophiolite Chromite Deposits as a New Source for the Production of Refractory Chromite Sands. Sustainability. 2020; 12(17):7096. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177096

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bussolesi, Micol, Giovanni Grieco, Alireza Eslami, and Alessandro Cavallo. 2020. "Ophiolite Chromite Deposits as a New Source for the Production of Refractory Chromite Sands" Sustainability 12, no. 17: 7096. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177096

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