Iron Ore: Statistics and Information
Iron ore is the source of primary iron for the world’s iron and steel industries. It is therefore essential for the production of steel, which in turn is essential to maintain a strong industrial base. Almost all (98%) iron ore is used in steel making. Iron ore is mined in about 50 countries.
The 7 largest of these producing countries account for about 75% of total World production. Australia and Brazil together dominate the World’s iron ore exports, each having about 33% of total exports.
World Mine Production and Reserves: The mine production estimate for China is based on crude ore, rather than usable ore, which is reported for the other countries.
The iron ore reserve estimates for Australia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine have been revised based on new information from those countries.
Mine Production Reserves
2010 2011e Crude ore Iron content
United 50 54 6,900 2,100
Australia 433 480 35,000 17,000
Brazil 370 390 29,000 16,000
Canada 37 37 6,300 2,300
China 1,070 1,200 23,000 7,200
India 230 240 7,000 4,500
Iran 28 30 2,500 1,400
Kazakhstan 24 24 3,000 1,000
Mauritania 11 11 1,100 700
Mexico 14 14 700 400
Russia 101 100 25,000 14,000
South Africa 59 55 1,000 650
Sweden 25 25 3,500 2,200
Ukraine 78 80 6,000 2,100
Venezuela 14 16 4,000 2,400
Other countries 48 50 12,000 6,000
World total (rounded) 2,590 2,800 170,000 80,000
World Resources: US resources are estimated to be about 27 billion tons of iron contained within 110 billion tons of ore. US resources are mainly low-grade taconite-type ores from the Lake Superior district that require beneficiation and agglomeration prior to commercial use. World resources are estimated to exceed 230 billion tons of iron contained within greater than 800 billion tons of Crude Ore.
Iron Ore Mines For Sale
Substitutes: The only source of primary iron is iron ore, used directly, as lump ore, or converted to briquettes, concentrates, pellets, or sinter. At some blast furnace operations, ferrous scrap may constitute as much as 7% of the blast furnace feedstock. Scrap is extensively used in steel making in electric arc furnaces and in iron and steel foundries, but scrap availability can be an issue in any given year. In general, large price increases for lump and fine iron ores and iron ore pellets through mid-2009 were commensurate with price increases in the alternative—scrap. The ratio of the US import price of scrap to the US import price of iron ore decreased in Y 2011, causing the relative attractiveness of scrap compared to iron ore to increase to levels similar to those of Y 2009. The ratio of imported scrap to imported iron ore price in Y 2011 is the lowest it has been in the past 10 yrs.
e Estimated. E Net exporter.
(Data in million metric tons of usable ore unless otherwise noted)
Source: US Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries, January 2012 (updated 27 February 2012)
Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr. writes and publishes The Red Roadmaster’s Technical Report on the US Major Market Indices, a weekly, highly-regarded financial market letter, read by opinion makers, business leaders and organizations around the world.
Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr has studied the global financial and stock markets since 1984, following a successful business career that included investment banking, and market and business analysis. He is a specialist in equities/commodities, and an accomplished chart reader who advises technicians with regard to Major Indices Resistance/Support Levels.
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