The top ten iron ore producers account for over 90% of the world’s total iron ore output. Mining-technology.com profiles the ten biggest iron ore producing countries based on latest production and reserve data.
China, the largest producer, consumer and importer of iron ore, produced 1.3 billion tonne (bt) of iron ore in 2012, accounting for about 44% of the world’s output. The country’s crude ore reserves as of 2013 stood at 23bt containing 7.3bt of iron – the fourth largest in the world. China’s run-of-mine iron ore output is, however, of low quality, containing about 22% iron.
Over half of the nation’s domestic iron ore production comes from mines located in Hebei and Liaoning provinces while Beijing, Shanxi province and Inner Mongolia are the other iron ore producing regions. Ansteel Mining, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anshan Iron and Steel Group (Ansteel Group), is the biggest iron ore producer in the country.
Australia produced 519 million tonnes (mt) of iron ore in 2012 accounting for about 18% of global iron ore output. The country’s estimated iron ore reserves of 35bt, containing 17bt of iron, makes it the world’s richest iron ore reserves holder.
Iron ore mining in Australia is mostly concentrated in the Pilbara region of Western Australia which accounts for over 95% of Australia’s iron ore output and hosts three of the eleven biggest iron ore mining operations in the world. Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) and Atlas Iron are the leading iron ore producers in the country.
Brazil produced 400mt of iron ore in 2012 accounting for about 13% of the world’s total, while its iron ore reserves estimated at 31bt containing 16bt of iron, are the world’s second biggest. The country’s iron ore deposits are mostly concentrated in the states of Para and Minas Gerais.
Brazil hosts the world’s top four biggest iron ore mines including the world biggest Carajas iron ore mine, which is wholly owned and operated by Vale, the world’s biggest iron ore producing company. The world’s second biggest iron ore mining operation Samarco Alegria located in the state of Minas Gerais is owned and operated by a 50-50 joint venture between Vale and BHP Billiton. Brazil also hosts Anglo American’s wholly-owned Minas-Rio iron ore mine which is the world’s ninth biggest by reserves.
India produced 144mt of iron ore in 2012 contributing about five percent of global iron ore production. The country’s iron ore reserves are estimated at 8.1bt containing 5.2bt iron.
Six Indian states including Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Goa account for over 95% of the country’s total iron ore reserves. India’s biggest iron ore producing state is Orissa, followed by Karnataka and Chhattisgarh. State-controlled National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) is the biggest iron ore producing company in India.
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