These sands typically contain titanium and zircon forms, as well as monazite which in some cases can be used to produce rare earths. Some separation and processing is necessary to segregate the constituent parts (rutile, ilmenite, zircon and monazite), which Wogen does and then markets. Ilmenite is typically used to make white paint or ”pigment”, which colours everything from plastics, paper, toothpaste and white-wash. Rutile is often used in Titanium metal production and zircon is used as a glaze for ceramics and in chemicals and metal production.
Chrome Ore Chromium occurs in the earth’s crust not as a free element but primarily in the form of an Iron-Chrome Oxide Ore. The most significant known economic deposits are located in the Bushveld complex in South Africa. Other major producers of Chrome Ore are Turkey, Kazakhstan, India, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, and Oman. About 90% of world chrome ore production is smelted into ferrochrome alloys for subsequent use in the metals industry. For instance, it is the key ingredient that is added to stainless steel to make it “stainless”, increasing its corrosion and oxidation resistance to harden and improve its high-temperature strength. The other 10% of chrome ore production goes into refractories and foundries to produce heat resistant bricks and sands, or alternatively into chemicals for the leather tanning industry.
Manganese Ore Manganese plays a key role in the steelmaking processes with 90% of all manganese consumed annually going into steel as an alloying element in the form of Ferro Manganese or Ferro Silico Manganese (SiMn). The dominant producing countries of Mn Ore are China, South Africa and Australia with additional production in Gabon, Brazil, Ukraine, India and Ghana.
Tungsten Concentrates Tungsten occurs naturally as Wolframite, an iron and manganese tungstate mineral, and as Scheelite, a calcium tungstate mineral. Beneficiation is typically through flotation or magnetic separation processes. Historically concentrates were the most commonly traded form of Tungsten but have largely been replaced by APT.
Molybdenum (Moly) has powerful anti-corrosion and hardenability properties and is used in the production of stainless, tool and high temperature low alloy steels, particularly for the automotive, aerospace, gas and oil pipeline and construction sectors. It is added to the steel melt in the form of Ferro Molybdenum or Molybdenum Oxide powder or briquettes.
Ferro Vanadium has potent strengthening and hardening properties and encourages heat resistance. It is used as an additive in alloy, tool and spring steel, particularly for the production of construction reinforcing bars, rails, axels, crankshafts and gears in cars, springs and cutting tools. Ferro Vanadium comes in two grades, 50% Vanadium and 80% Vanadium.
Ferro Tungsten has great hardening and conductive properties and is used to increase the abrasion resistance and strength of special steels. It is used as an essential additive in the production of tool steels, high speed steels and heat resistant steels. Tungsten has the second highest melting point of any element and the increase in an alloy’s melting point by addition of Ferro Tungsten makes it highly suitable for specialist applications including some aerospace applications.
Ferro Titanium is used as an additive in steel making due to its stabilising properties. It is highly reactive and combines readily with carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and sulphur forming stable, insoluble compounds and sequestering them in the slag thus reducing their harmful effects in the steel. Originally 30% FeTi was favoured but today 70% eutectic grade is the most common product due to its lower melting point helping it to dissolve quickly when added to the steel melt.
Ferro Chrome – High Carbon
Due to its potent corrosion resistance properties, Ferro Chrome is a major component of stainless steel which contains a minimum of 10% Chrome by definition but usually contains much higher percentages. Ferro Chrome comes in a number of different forms with different applications. High Carbon Ferro Chrome, which typically contains 6-9% carbon, is used in foundry, stainless and engineering steels. Charge Chrome, produced in South Africa, is used in similar applications to High Carbon Ferro Chrome but contains a slightly lower Chrome content.
Ferro Chrome – Low and Ultra Low Carbon
Low carbon Ferro Chrome, typically containing 0.1 – 0.2% Carbon is used in the production of special alloys, special steels and welding powders. Low gas bearing ultra-low carbon Ferro Chrome is used in higher end applications such as superalloy production for aerospace applications.
Ferro Niobium’s main properties include anti-corrosion, strength and toughness and it is used as an additive in carbon steel, HSLA steel (High Strength, Low Alloy) and heat-resisting steel. End uses include the automotive sector, construction, rails, tools and other specialist applications. Brazil and Canada are the largest producing nations.
“There is oil in the Middle East….there is rare earth in China” Deng Xiaoping (1992) Former paramount leader, P.R. China.
The term Rare Earth metals refers to the 14 elements (plus Scandium, Yttrium and Lanthanum) which reside at the bottom of the periodic table (elements 56-71). This diverse group of elements have become essential additives in an ever-increasing number of applications, from weapons guidance systems, x-ray equipment, glass, ceramics and catalyst industries, to the production of vital permanent magnets used in wind turbines and hybrid automobiles.
Mining and production of Rare Earths is currently dominated by China, which accounts for approximately 95% of global supply.