The iron and steel industry is a multi billion industry globally, and the 15 largest pig iron producing countries in the world have taken full advantage of this fact.
Pig iron is an intermediary product in the iron industry, and is produced through the smelting of iron ore in a blast furnace. There’s a funny story behind how pig iron actually gets its name. The shape of the iron ingots would tend to form a unique structure, where many ingots were at a right angle to a central runner, thus resembling a pig suckling piglets.
Pig iron has a long history, going back thousands of years, and was produced as far back as 256 BC in China. Iron ore is the cheapest metal out there, and hence also one of the most widely used. As I mentioned earlier, its an intermediary product in the iron industry and its primary usage is to produce iron, which in turn is used for the production of steel, which is a huge industry globally. Iron doesn’t have many substitutes, and even if it does, they’re generally more expensive materials. Aluminium and plastics are some of the substitutes that iron and steel face competition from. However, being an eventual raw material for steel means that there is no shortage of demand at all.
While there isn’t a lot of data on iron ore reserves globally, the production statistics should give us an idea. To determine the largest iron ore producers, we have considered the production of iron ore in both 2018 and 2019 for each country, and calculated their ranking accordingly. The data for this ranking has been gleaned from the ever reliable Mineral Commodities Summaries 2020. The 15 largest pig iron producing countries in the world produce around 93% of the world’s total iron ores. Even among these 15 countries, the production isn’t distributed evenly. While you’ll need to wait to find out the largest producer in the world, you should know that that country alone produces more iron than the twice the iron that the rest of the 14 countries produce. In fact, it’s responsible for 63% of the total iron ore production in the world! So which country does this honor belong to? Well, let’s take a look, starting with number 15: