Iron Ore118.45 USD/Mt -0.2 (-0.17%) (Last updated - October 23, 2023 12:00 AM UTC )
91.98 - 219.77
October 23, 2023 12:00 AM UTCData Powered by Stockdio. Data delayed by 5 minutes unless otherwise indicated.
Iron, the most common element on earth (by mass), constitutes nearly 5% of the earth’s crust. Iron ore is a type of rock from which metallic iron can be economically extracted. Hematite and Magnetite are the two principal iron ores found in the earth.
Most of the iron ore deposits are found in sedimentary rocks. The ores are formed by the combination of iron and oxygen in fresh and marine water, through a chemical reaction. Nearly, all of the Earth’s iron ore deposits are found in rocks that were formed over 1.8 billion years ago.
Most of the iron ore that is mined, is mainly used for the production of iron, which is then used for manufacturing steel. More than 98% of the world's iron ore is used in blast furnaces to make pig iron, which is the primary ingredient for manufacturing steel. The remaining 2% is used in other applications like cement manufacturing and coal wash plants.
China, currently the leading consumer of iron ore, consumes more than half of the world’s total production, followed by Japan and Korea. At the same time, Australia and Brazil combinedly dominate the world’s total iron ore exports. As per the United States Geological Survey and Geoscience Australia, Australia contains around 25% of the world's total iron ore followed by Brazil (19%).
ASX Iron Ore companies
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Frequently Asked Questions
Pig iron is a form of crude iron and an intermediate product formed during the production of steel. It is obtained by smelting iron ore in the blast furnace and contains a high amount of carbon content, which typically ranges from 3.5 to 4.5%, making it brittle. Pig iron is used as the raw material for making steel. Oxygen is blown through the molten pig iron to lower its carbon content and convert it into steel. It takes about 1.6 tons of iron ore to produce one ton of steel.
The production of steel from iron ore requires mixing it with superheated metallurgical coal in a blast furnace. After that, superheated air with temperature ranging around 1,200 degrees Celsius is injected into the furnace to create a flame of nearly 2,000-degree Celsius temperature, which converts iron ore into molten pig iron and slag. Impurities are then removed, and alloys are added to cast the steel which is further cooled and rolled to be used as finished products.
The process of mining iron ore is very much similar to the extraction of other minerals. Firstly, the company holding the licence area explores the geology of the region to identify the best prospects for mining operations. After the identification of the ideal site, the ore is drilled and blasted, and transported to the primary crusher for processing. Then, the crushed ore is sorted in the form of lumps and fines, as per the screen size. A stacker then builds a stack in the stockyards to make the ore ready for transportation. Iron ore is then transported to trains with the help of conveyors and ultimately loaded in ships for export.
Iron ore is mined in more than 50 countries. The seven largest producers of the world account for around three-quarters of the world's total iron ore production. As per the United States Geological Survey (USGS) 2020 estimates, Australia is the leading iron ore producer followed by Brazil, China, India, and Russia. Based on crude ore reserves as well, Australia and Brazil are the leaders followed by Russia and China.
The Pilbara region of Western Australia is the key iron ore producing region followed by significant deposits in South Australia. There are hundreds of iron ore mining companies in Australia but among them, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), BHP Group (ASX:BHP), and Fortescue Metals Group Limited(ASX:FMG) are the leading players in the country.