(FeCr2O4) (Fig. 1)
occurs as an accessory mineral in most of the basic and
ultrabasic igneous rocks (harzburgite, dunite, wehrlite) of the
Troodos Ophiolite (concentrations range between 1% and 5%) and
the Mamonia Complex, and is locally concentrated in the
serpentinites and dunites or as dunite pods within the
harzburgites. Only the deposits associated with dunites are
considered potentially of commercial interest (concentrations
range between 45% and 60%).
Chromite occurs as disseminated grains to nodular and
massive chromite and as lenses or irregular bodies within the
genesis of chromite is directly associated with the genesis of
the ophiolite complex and in particular with the plutonic rocks
through the process of magma crystallisation.
The magma that is formed from the partial melting of the
Upper Mantle rises and forms small magma chambers.
One of the first minerals formed during the
crystallisation of the magma within the harzburgite and the
magma chamber is chromite, which due to its specific gravity is
separated from the magma and precipitates out.
This is why chromite concentrations are formed within the
harzburgite and also in the transition zone between harzburgite
in the 1920s identified several thousand tonnes of chromite in
the Troodos Mountains. In
1924, two companies, the Troodos Chrome and Asbestos Co Ltd and
the Eastern Minerals Co Ltd, were set up and about 5,000 tonnes
of chromite were exported between 1924 and 1925.
Several mines were established between 1935 and the
1980s; the Hadjipavlou Mine on the southern flank of the Troodos
massif and the Kokkinorotsos and Kannoures Mines on the northern
tonnages were also extracted from small deposits of the Limassol
chromite was recovered from underground mines and exported for
use as a refractory. During
the 1980s, chromite mining ceased to be economically viable and
as a result there is currently no mine in operation.
An estimate of chromite reserves was established during an investigation by the Geological Survey Department of Cyprus and the French BRGM (1985) at around 300,000 tonnes of chromite concentrate. Total resources of chromite across the island are unknown.