Overview of Iron
Despite weakening demand for iron ore from steel makers on slowing economy and construction works, China continues to import massive amounts of iron ore. New imported iron ore never stops coming into the port of Qingdao, with two carries of iron ore arriving at the port almost on a daily basis.

The government of Indonesia is approaching a ban on unprocessed iron ore exports. The country has since seen increased amounts of foreign investments in domestic steel mills, a majority of which are companies based in China. This shows that although demand has slowed for iron ore in China, companies still see a demand for steel in the near future and are looking to acquire assets to produce steel products. These investments are in response to a blanket ban on iron ore exports which will come into effect in 2014.

Because China is a net importer of iron ore, China exports none of its domestically produced iron ore and imports 61% of the global seaborne iron ore traded, they are effectively price setters for iron ore products due to the massive volumes and liquid measurable trades that occur. Although China is known to stockpile iron ore at ports and steelmaking mills throughout the country, prices in theory should not drop below the assumed marginal cost of domestic Chinese production. Currently the prices of iron ore products are below this marginal cost, which is reason to believe that there is a price floor as determined by Chinese miners producing at the margin. It is important to note that China is known to be running low on iron ore reserves as it is exhausting them due to their insatiable demand for iron ore and steel.
Ore Iron Iron ores are minerals found within the Earth's soil that create iron (Fe) particles via heat and the process of reduction. They consist of iron oxides which are the principal source for iron required by global iron industries, and steel industries.
 
The majority of iron ores are used for steelmaking. Specifically, approximately 98 per cent of all iron ores produced are used to manufacture steel related products. Iron is a key element in a variety of commodities such as:
  • Magnets
  • Auto parts and equipment
  • Machines and equipment used within the construction industry
  • Medicine
  • Paints
  • Plastic products
  • Cosmetics
  • Insecticides
  • Water purification systems
  • Kitchenware and home appliances
Several iron ores exist within the Earth's soil. They include:
  • Hematite or haematite
  • Magnetite
  • Taconite
  • Goethite
  • Limonite
  • Siderite
However, the most popular forms utilized by the mining industry are hematite ores, and taconite ores, the latter form being a type of magnetite.
 
Taconite ores are fragments of sedimentary rock that contain layers alternating between chert, or carbonate, and magnetite. The particles of magnetite are used to produce iron, and are sometimes extensively beneficiated to create hematite.
 
The term taconite is often used to refer to banded iron formations (BIFs). These types of sedimentary rock, usually abbreviated as BIFs, were formed during the Proterozoic Eon, and are found internationally. BIFs are the main resource for hematite ores, as they are known to contain impressive deposits of hematite.
 
Hematite ores contain iron grade levels from 40 to 70 per cent Fe. Hematite comes in an assortment of forms such as:
  • Kidney ore
  • Martite
  • Specularite
Regardless of the type, all hematite ores are similar in colour as each are usually within the colour range of orange and red.
 
Hematite ores are considered to have an efficient mining and separation process when compared to other iron ores. For this reason, hematite ores are known as direct shipping ores (DSOs). Once extracted and procured, hematites can also immediately be delivered to fabricating companies. On the other hand, it is also for this reason that hematite ores tend to carry more impurities in contrast to other iron ores, like magnetite.
 
Taconite ores containing fine traces of magnetite are commonly extracted in areas within North America. The Labrador Trough is a massive area within Canada concentrated in taconite deposits. It spans Ungava Bay, Quebec, and Labrador, and is recorded at 1,600 kilometres (km) long and 160 km wide.
 
Although taconite ores have low iron grade levels, about 30 per cent Fe, these ores are capable of producing iron products with grades of about 60 to 70 per cent Fe. However, these high grade levels of iron are only achievable by taconite ores that have first been beneficiated. The process of separating commercially useable iron minerals from waste materials known as gangue, is a noticeably more demanding process in taconite and magnetite ores than in hematite ores. The process usually includes:
  • Crushing
  • Screening
  • Grinding
At this point, the magnetite or taconite ores are passed through a magnetic separator, are filtered, and dried. While this process is far more extensive than that of hematite ores, it offers fewer impurities.
 
The iron ores hematite, magnetite, and taconite are all long standing sources for iron mining industries. These ores have a variety of benefits such as the ability to produce products with high iron grades. Depending on factors like time and money, as well as the purpose of the final product, certain ores are more ideal than others. It is important to understand the similarities and differences between each in order to know which ore form is most appropriate for a specific product.
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magnetite iron ore
Magnetite iron ore is one of two major iron deposits. While it may require more costly excavation methods, magnetite iron ores are extremely beneficial to manufacturing firms.
mining for iron
When mining for iron, hematite deposits are the most common form of ore desired by mining companies. Hematite ores offer several benefits but also have their share of disadvantages.
iron price
Iron price is strongly dictated by supply and demand. China produces the most iron ore in the world, but other countries are increasing production as well. An increasing demand for iron ore and steel are assuring that the price for iron remains strong, resulting in solid investment opportunities.
mining iron ore
Mining iron ore is very important to the manufacturing of products that aid daily activities. The most common sources for iron ores are hematite, magnetite and taconite.
hematite iron ore
Hematite iron ore is a very abundant source of iron ore and is distinguished by its high density. When heated, hematite is very magnetic and can also be noted for its dark black colouring and red powder.
iron mining
Processed iron ores create many products that serve practical, day-to-day functions. The most common iron ores used to manufacture commercial goods are hematite and magnetite.
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