African Chrome Fields’ mining operations consists mainly of shallow surface mining not exceeding 3 metres deep. Only a small portion of soil is cleared to expose the alluvial chrome deposits, and returned as soon as possible after minerals extraction.
African Chrome Fields has a chromite resource sufficient for its operations for at least the next two decades. The company currently produces in excess of 30 000 tonnes of chromite per month at six semi-mobile wash plants equipped with magnetic separators and nineteen 5-stage spiral washing plants, with further plans to expand. Each plant operates settling dams and thickener processes to improve water recovery and re-use.
The facility also produces a chrome-rich magnetite product which can be used as a source of chromium and iron.
Extracted material is ideal for smelting into ultra-low carbon, high grade ferrochrome due to a rich Cr2O3 content and a favourable Cr to Fe ratio resulting in better quality and higher Cr content in the final alloy.
African Chrome Fields has developed a unique beneficiation capacity to process high grade chrome into high-quality, value-adding ferroalloys. The company’s aluminothermic smelter operates on a unique smelting technology based on an exothermic aluminothermic reaction.
The unique smelting does not require traditional furnaces consuming excessive amounts of Electricity. Instead, the heat energy that converts chromite into metal is derived from the exothermic reaction of the chemical mixture utilised in a burn process.
As a result, this aluminothermic process can be deployed in remote areas where electrical energy is in short supply, at relatively low cost.
African Chrome Fields regards its environmental responsibility as a balancing act between resource exploitation and sustainable future land use.
To minimise the operation’s carbon footprint, it sources raw materials from the immediate surroundings of each wash plant to reduce hauling distances, and pre-screens mined material to remove oversized stone.
Where possible, machine operators mine around large trees to reduce disturbance. Processed mined soil is returned as soon as possible and areas levelled for replanting, using cultivated trees from the company’s nursery, and stabilising topsoil by planting indigenous grass. This allows rehabilitated areas to rapidly grow back to their former pristine state.