Mining of Mineral Deposits

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Mineralogical characterization and evaluation of chromite ore in Grevena and Kozani Vourinos massif, Western Macedonia, Greece

Apostolos Baklavaridis1, Konstantinos Vatalis1, Vayos Karayannis1, Ploutarchos-Nikolaos Benetis1, Georgios Charalampides1

1University of Western Macedonia, Kozani, 50100, Greece

Min. miner. depos. 2021, 15(1):11-18

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      Purpose. Chromite samples from Aetoraches mine area in the southern part of the Vourinos complex in Western Macedonia, Greece were examined from mineralogical-geochemical perspective.

      Methods. Χ-ray Diffraction (XRD) mineral phase analysis, elemental Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) analysis and Thermogravimetry/Differential Thermogravimetry (TG/DTG) were carried out.

      Findings. The XRD results showed that all the samples contain mainly magnesium- and aluminum-chromite (“aluminum-picrochromite”) phases, along with forsterite (magnesian olivine), serpentine and chlorite occurrences. Based on the SEM-EDS results, the computed average chemical formula indicative of this specific chromite type is: (Fe0.4 Mg0.6) (Cr1.6 Al0.4/)O4. The TG-DTG weight losses found to be in the range of 4.4-14.36%, at temperatures between 600 and 750°C, indicated the presence of the hydroxyl-rich silicate minerals, serpentinite and chlorite, in agreement to the Loss of Ignition (LOI) results. The mineral phases detected in the present analyses appear in the dunite/diorite/harzburgite/peridotite main rocks of the ophiolitic complex that hosts the chromite ore.

      Originality.In the current research, an original characterization, via thorough elemental, phase and thermal analysis, is carried out aiming to enlighten the geochemistry aspects of the Vourinos chromite complex, Region of Western Macedonia, Greece, particularly of easily accessible and exploitable chromite deposits of the Aetoraches mine area.

      Practical implications. The chromite mineral, and especially the metallurgical type, is of substantial importance in metal industry. In that sense, the findings of the present investigation of chromite purity and mineral structure is a prerequisite for future exploitation of the Aetoraches chromite deposits in particular and broadly for the ongoing exploitation of chromite ore in the Vourinos complex, situated in Region of Western Macedonia, Greece, an area with high unemployment and rather slow economic growth.

      Keywords: chromite ore, Vourinos massif, Aetoraches mine area, mineralogical characterization, geochemistry, XRD, SEM-EDS, TG/DTG


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