Chromite is an oxide mineral that belongs to the spinel group. It is one of the important minerals used in the production of metallic chromium. Chromite is also employed as an alloying ingredient in stainless and tool steels. Chromite is an iron chromium oxide commonly associated with olivine, magnetite, serpentine, and corundum. As a major source of metal chromium, the extracted chromium from chromite is used in chrome plating and alloying for production of corrosion resistant superalloys, nichrome, and stainless steel. Chromite is the general name given to chromiumbearing spinels. Chromite is considered the commercial ore mineral of chromium, which is primarily found in ultramafic rocks such as peridotite, dunite, pyroxenite. It is also majorly found in altered derivatives such as serpentinite.
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Chromite deposit can be divided into two main types: stratiform or layered deposits and podiform or alpine type chromite deposit. Stratiform deposits are formed by fractional crystallization of chromite. During this process, chromite spinel is one of the first minerals to crystallize. It sinks and settles within the magma chamber. Under the podiform or alpine type chromite deposit, chromite deposits occur in the form of pods, lenses, and various other types of irregular shapes. Chromite is formed in the upper layer of peridotite, which crystallizes in oceanic lithosphere. This form of chromite can occur in tabular or layer form.
Based on type, the global chromite market can be segmented into high chromium chromite, high iron chromite, and high aluminum chromite. High chromium chromite is one of the important raw materials in the production of stainless steel and similar specialty steel products. High iron chromite is available in granular and powder forms. This type of chromite is not easily soluble in water. High iron chromite is primarily used in the production of chromium base chemicals, low chromium ferrochromium, and refractories. High aluminum chromite is used in manufacturing refractories, magnesite chromite, and chromite magnesite bricks.
Based on application, the global chromite market can be segregated into stainless steel, chemicals, pigments, refractories, and foundry sand. In stainless steel application ferrochrome market drives chromite supply. Production of ferrochrome is considered the primary component in the production of stainless steel. It accounts for approximately 75% share of the global chromite usage. The other 25% share is used in the manufacture of chemicals, pigments (color and corrosion inhibition) and refractories. Chromite ore cannot be substituted in the production of ferrochromium, chromium chemicals, or chromite refractories. In terms of demand, the chromite market has been expanding due to the rise in demand for chromite in ferrochrome, chemical, refractory, and pigment industries.
Based on geography, the global chromite market can be segregated into Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Middle East & Africa and Asia Pacific are the key regions of the chromite market, led by the growth in the stainless steel industry. Four countries (South Africa, India, Kazakhstan, and Turkey) account for about 80% of the global chromite production. South Africa holds more than 46% share of global production. It is a major supplier of chromite ore and ferrochromium to countries in Europe. Other countries with significant production of chromite include Brazil, Iran, and Madagascar.
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Prominent players operating in the global chromite market are Opta Minerals, Inc, LKAB Minerals, CDE Global, and Sibelco. These companies hold significant share of the market. Thus, the chromite market experiences intense competition.
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