Chromite deposits in Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire have medium-term (5-10 years) production potential that could make Canada a significant global producer, processor and supplier of one or more products that contain the critical metal chromium.
Over 90 per cent of global chromite production is used to manufacture stainless steel and other alloys. There is no substitute for chromium in the production of stainless steel, as it provides the resistance to corrosion. Chromium-based alloys are also used in gas turbines, aircraft engines and other high temperature applications. Global demand for stainless steel is forecast to grow at 4-5 per cent per year to 2020. Despite the existence of major steel mills in North America there is currently no chromite production in the region.
This presents an opportunity for Canada to develop its abundant chromite resources and potentially become a global supplier. However, chromite has not yet been mined in Canada and it is necessary to better understand the mineral characterization of Canadian deposits in order to extract, separate and process for downstream use and supply.
Furthermore, small investments in research that improve the quality of the chromite that eventually is shipped to customers could significantly increase its value and marketability, and reduce the cost to supply markets in the U.S., Europe and Asia.