Iron is one of the most important metals in industries today, so here we will see which the biggest iron ore producers in the world in 2017 are.
Iron ores are all those rocks and minerals from which iron can be extracted. Iron ore deposits are commonly occurring in sedimentary rocks of about 1.8 billion years of age. Iron is usually occurring in the form of oxides, and the two main minerals in these rocks are iron oxides hematite and magnetite. Suitable ores for exploitation of iron (used for pig iron and steel) are those ores containing 58-65% of iron. A lot of other elements used in industry occur naturally associated with iron ores, one of them being manganese for example, which is one of the most widespread elements in the Earth’s crust. The largest producer of manganese in the world is South Africa, followed by Ukraine. Since we are here, you might also take a look at 10 Biggest Gold Mining Companies in the World. But let’s get back on iron ore now.
In this article, we will see the biggest iron ore producers in the world but let’s first see which continent is the leading producer of iron ore in the world is. Since China, followed by Australia and India, produces the most iron ore in the world, we can say that Asian continent is the leading in this field. India, for example, has several states and provinces of iron ore production. Largest producer of iron ore in India is Orissa (34% of whole Indian production), followed by Karnataka (22%) and Chhattisgarh (15%). But curiously, as you will see, China is not on our list of the biggest iron ore producers in the world for several reasons. The first one is that even though there is an abundance of iron ore deposits in China, most of it is low-quality iron ore, containing only around 20% of iron (compared to what we earlier noted, that the optimal percentage of iron in the ore is 58-65%). The second reason is that we could not find reliable and transparent information on the annual or quarterly production of iron ore in any of Chinese mining companies.
Australia, on the other hand is the leading in the amount of iron ore reserves by country (iron ore reserves, as well as any reserves, are “naturally occurring solid, liquid, or gaseous material in or on the Earth’s crust in such form and amount that economic extraction of a commodity from the concentration is currently or potentially feasible”), and among others at the top are Brazil and South Africa. Australia is also the largest producer of high grade iron ore in the world, having very rich mines in high grade iron ores. That is namely Pilbara region, where very rich in iron hematite ore is mined. Pilbara hematite ore is known as ”direct shipping ore” since it contains very high iron levels (56-64% in this case), and it only passes the crushing, screening and blending processes before being shipped. From these top countries in iron ore production (and more about this you can also read from 8 Countries that Produce the Most Iron in the World), iron ore is being distributed throughout the world. Picture of iron ore consumption by country is somewhat different compared to the top iron ore producing countries. Iron ore in these countries is mostly used for steel production, and those top steel-consuming countries (based on 2013 figures) are China, Japan, USA, India, Russia, South Korea, Germany, Turkey in this order. The top 15 countries that import the most iron ore are actually purchasing 94% of all imports!
For our research on the biggest iron ore producers in 2017, we have gone through the websites providing information on mining news and trends. Among these were Steel 360, Iron Investing News, The Motley Fool, Investopedia, Mining and Mining Technology. We have then ranked the companies according to iron ore production in first, second and/or third quarter of 2017 in metric tons. We ranked companies according to only one-quarter figures, but we had put more when the information was available, just to give the insight in particular company’s development.
And in the end, before we proceed on our list of biggest iron ore produces in the world, let’s see the distribution of iron ore in the world map first, that we have found reading one interesting article on this topic. Now, although we have seen which country is the largest producer of iron ore in the world, let’s proceed down on our list to see which the biggest iron ore producers in the world in 2017 are: