Chromite is an oxide mineral composed of chromium, iron and oxygen (FeCr2O4). It is a dark gray to black in color with a metallic to submetallic luster and a high specific gravity. It occurs in basic and ultrabasic igneous rocks and in the metamorphic and sedimentary rocks that are produced when chromite-bearing rocks are altered by heat or weathering.

Chromite is important because it is the only economic ore of chromium, an essential element for a wide variety of metal, chemical and manufactured products. Many other minerals contain chromium, but none of them are found in deposits that can be economically mined to produce chromium.

Properties of Chromite

Chromite can be challenging to identify. Several properties must be considered to differentiate it from other metallic ores. Hand specimen identification of chromite requires a consideration of: color, specific gravity, luster, and a characteristic brown streak. The most important clue to identifying chromite is its association with ultrabasic igneous rocks and metamorphic rocks such as serpentinite.
Chromite is sometimes slightly magnetic. This can cause it to be confused with magnetite. Chromite and ilmenite have very similar properties. Careful observations of hardness, streak and specific gravity are required to distinguish these minerals in hand specimens





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