A Study of the Microwave Carbothermic Reduction of Chromite Ore
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Microwave reduction testing using activated charcoal as a reducing agent was performed on a sample of Black Thor chromite ore from the Ring of Fire deposit in Northern Ontario. First, a thermodynamic model was constructed for the system. Activity coefficients for several species were found in the literature. The model predicted chromium grades of 61.60% and recoveries of 93.43% for a 15% carbon addition. Next, reduction testing on the chromite ore was performed. Tests were performed at increasing power levels and reduction times. Testing atmospheres used were air, argon, and vacuum. The reduced product had maximum grades of 72.89% and recoveries of 80.37%. These maximum values were obtained in the same test where an argon atmosphere was used, with a carbon addition of 15%, optimal power level of 1200 W (actual 1171 W), and a time of 400 seconds. During this test, 17.53% of the initial mass was lost as gas, a carbon grade of 1.95% was found for the sintered core product. Additional work is recommended to try and purify the sintered core product as well as reduce more of the initial sample. Changing reagent schemes or a two step reduction / separation process could be implemented.