Abstract

Detrital chrome-spinels are contaminant grains within heavy-mineral concentrates found in the Murray Basin of southeastern Australia. The presence of even minor levels of chromia in the predominantly ilmenite-rich concentrates downgrades their market value as potential feedstocks for the production of titania pigment.

Compositions from a database of close to 5000 chrome-spinel analyses show a broad range in chemistry. The major element components and their ranges (wt.%) are Cr: 3.10–52.06, Al: 0.46–32.50, Fe: 3.50–44.48 and Mg: 0.03–15.79. Minor components include; Ti: 0.01–6.41, Zn: 0.00–23.00 and Mn: 0.00–5.82. The broad variation in composition suggests multiple source areas for the chrome-spinels although detailed textural examination indicates that variation has also been introduced through pre-and post-deposition alteration processes.

The Murray Basin chrome-spinel database has the potential to be used in interpreting and predicting the effects of various processing conditions used to separate the chrome-spinels from the ilmenite.

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