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Global iron ore reserves 2010-2019

The total reserves of crude iron ore worldwide were estimated to be approximately 170 billion metric tons in 2019. The total iron content of that amount is estimated to be some 81 billion metric tons.

Iron ore's role in iron metal production

Iron in its metallic state is rare in the Earth's crust. Conversely, iron ores are some of the most abundant ores in the Earth's crust. Iron ore are rocks and minerals that can be heated and used to extract metallic iron in an economically feasible method. Both the global iron industry and steel industry are reliant on iron ore as a primary source of iron. A large majority of the iron ore that is produced from mining operations is used to make steel. First the iron ore is used as a raw material to produce pig iron. Pig iron is subsequently utilized as a main component in producing steel. The main iron ore minerals from which iron metal is produced are hematite and magnetite.

Global reserves of iron ore

The reserve base refers to the quantity of an identified resource that meets specific minimum physical and chemical criteria in relation to current mining and production practices including those for grade, thickness, quality, and depth. The volume of reserves of a given resource are estimated based on the reserve base. The country that has the largest volume of iron ore reserves (by far) is Australia, with 48 billion metric tons of crude iron ore reserves, which amounts to 23 billion metric tons of iron content in reserves. Brazil is in a distant second place, with 29 billion metric tons of crude ore reserves, amounting to 15 billion metric tons of iron content.

Reserves of iron ore worldwide from 2010 to 2019 (in billion metric tons)*

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Release date

February 2020



Survey time period

2010 to 2019

Supplementary notes

* Reserves of usable ore.

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Statistics on "Iron ore"

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