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I've been trying to collect resource data about Australia for a few years. Some good reference sites are AustraliaMinerals.gov.au and AustralianMinesAtlas.gov.au

Australia seems to be pretty rich in minerals, including iron, copper, nickel, gold, titanium, uranium, and I think lithium and Rare-Earth elements too. But one thing I have never found is chromium. Chrome is essential in the steel industry.

So I'd like to know why. What geological features does Australia lack that make it lacking in chrome? Or do geologists believe that there's a realistic chance that a good chrome deposit is hidden somewhere? And where could that be?

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There has only been one chromium mine in Australia - the Coobina mine, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is located 80 km south east Newman (23 deg 29' 31" south, 120 deg 16' 32" east). The resource at Coobina is 1.5 Mt @ 29.4% Cr.

The ore deposit was discovered in 1924 and was once worked under the names of Jimblebah and Murramunda. It was mined as a series of small open cuts for several decades with most of the pits being less than 70 metres deep.

The deposit is associated with an ultramafic unit.

Chromite deposits in this rock occurs as massive chromite with up to 150 lenses having been mapped so far. The largest around 340 metres long and 6 metres wide.

Chromium clinochlore is mined at Coobina/Jimblebah.

Other deposits of chromite occur at Mount Christie, Tomkinson Ranges and Wingella Hills, in South Australia.

Mount Christie is within the Gawler craton and Tomkinson Ranges and Wingella Hills are within the Musgrave block.

At Moount Christie,

The best intersection was 1.5 m at 9.8% Cr2O3. Microprobe analysis showed the chromite to contain ~48% Cr2O3 and 30% FeO, which may only be suitable as chemical-grade chromite.

Chromite has been identified within Mesoproterozoic Giles Complex rocks in the far northwest of the State. It occurs as rare veins up to 10 mm thick within layers of pyroxenite in the Tomkinson Ranges (Coats, 1956) and as grains in ultrabasic rocks of the Wingelinna Hills intrusions. A representative sample gave an assay of 16.9% Cr2O3.

Geoscience Australia has very little information about Coobina.

Some more information from Geoscience World and Research Gate.

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Australia does have chromium ores. This table from the World Mineral Production Report (2011-2015) published by the British Geologic Survey shows that chromium ores were mined in Australia as recently as 2013.

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It does have chrome , but : 1- It has not been found. or 2- The Cr content is not high enough to be considered an ore. Or 3- The total amount at a location is not sufficient to build the infrastructure to extract it. Not likely 4- the political situation is not stable , eg, there are copper deposits in Africa up to 4% Cu that are not extracted while Cu deposits of 0.05 % are commercial in the US.

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  • $\begingroup$ Maybe I cheated, but I looked on the "net" : Australia is the 9 th largest producer, 425,000 tons of chromite produced in 2012. $\endgroup$ – blacksmith37 Nov 14 '17 at 17:35

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