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Development to Proceed on Oregon Source for Chromite Sand

Jan. 11, 2006
Tests show “overall excellent results”; pilot processing plant to debut by spring

Oregon Resources Corp. reports it is proceeding with its development of a mining operation in southwestern Oregon, from where it expects to process and produce chromite foundry sand for the U.S. market. ORC recently completed and announced test results on its garnet product, and has now completed a report compiled from the test procedures and results on the chromite product.

The tests produced “overall excellent results and confirmed the unique characteristics of the ORC chromite sand compared to a South African chromite product,” according to a statement by Resource Finance & Investment Ltd., a Bermuda-based holding company that owns ORC.

Daryl Hoyt, president of Foundry Sand Technology, supervised a comparative study of ORC chromite sand for core and casting qualities versus two currently available chromite sands. Hoyt also authored a comprehensive report on the comparison.

”These comparisons were performed at the University of Northern Iowa, and other reputable laboratories, and include complete chemical analyses of the base mineral sands, their particle size distribution, AFS GFN, pH, ADV (acid demand value) base permeability, surface area, coefficient of angularity, bulk density, pyrometric cone equivalent values as well as photomicrographs of the individual size fractions for all of the sands evaluated. Comparisons of core tensile strengths, scratch hardness determinations, core permeability, core density and many more core sand analyses were performed,” stated Resource Finance & Investment, in a release.

Chromite is used in the production of high-quality alloy steel castings, and backers of the new project say it has “improved heat-transfer characteristics” that “can modify and improve the surface characteristics of specialty steel or iron alloys.” Reportedly, the only current source of chromite for metalcasting is from underground mines in South Africa.

The Oregon deposit is called “extensive,” consisting of an unconsolidated mixture of chromite, zircon, garnet, ilmenite, magnetite and other commercially valuable minerals. Chromite and garnet make up close to 70% of the valuable minerals in the ore.

ORC expects to have a 10-tons/hour pilot plant in operation this spring to produce +2.5-tons/hour of HMC (heavy minerals concentrate) per hour. This would be joined in 2007 by a full mineral sand operation to process 400,000 tons/year of ore per year, including the various heavy mineral constituents.

A presentation on the research will be made at the AFS Casting Congress in April, and an abridged version of the report has been posted online by Resource Finance & Investment.