Iron Ore

Iron ores are rocks and minerals from which metallic iron can be extracted. The ores are usually rich in iron oxides and vary in color from dark grey, bright yellow, deep purple, to rusty red. The iron itself is usually found in the form of magnetite, hematite, goethite, limonite, or siderite. Ores carrying very high quantities of hematite or magnetite (typically greater than 60% iron) are known as “natural ore” or “direct shipping ore”, meaning they can be fed directly into iron-making blast furnaces. Most reserves of such ore have now been depleted. Iron ore is the raw material used to make pig iron, which is one of the main raw materials to make steel. 98% of the mined iron ore is used to make steel. Many argue that iron ore is “more integral to the global economy than any other commodity, except perhaps oil.”
Iron ores largest producers include China, Australia, India, and Russia. The largest consumers are China, Japan, Korea, the United States, and the European Union.