Iron ore mine production
Iron ore are rocks and minerals that can be heated in the presence of a reductant to extract metallic iron. Iron and steel industries worldwide are reliant on these sources for primary iron material. A large majority of mined iron ore is then used in steelmaking. Iron ore minerals are mostly found as hematite and magnetite.
China and Australia are among the world’s largest iron ore mine producers, producing 1.5 billion metric tons and 660 million metric tons, respectively, in 2014. Subsequently, iron ore reserves are among the highest in Australia with 23 billion metric tons of iron content and 53 billion metric tons of crude ore, as of 2014. Over 90 percent of Australia’s identified resource resides in Western Australia. Hamersley Province contains a large portion of this resource and is considered one of the world’s largest iron ore reserves. The Pilbara region in Western Australia has two major producers, including BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Ltd. Pilbara Iron is a subsidiary of the Rio Tinto group and has about 15 sites in the region. As of 2011, Australia exported about 40 percent of the world’s iron ore resources. Along with Brazil, the two countries account of over half of the world’s exports.