World iron ore reserves by top country 2019

The reserves of crude iron ore in the United States were estimated to be approximately three billion metric tons in 2019, which translated to one billion metric tons of iron content.

Iron ore and iron metal production

Iron ore are rocks and minerals that can be heated and used to extract metallic iron in an economically feasible method. Both the iron and steel industries worldwide are reliant on iron ore as a primary source of iron. A large majority of mined iron ore is used in steelmaking, used as a raw material to produce pig iron, which is subsequently utilized as a main component in steel. Iron ore minerals are mostly found as hematite and magnetite.

Leading iron ore producing countries worldwide

Australia and Brazil are among the world’s largest iron ore producers and hold a large portion of the world’s iron ore reserves. Australia makes up half of the world’s iron ore exports. Brazil exported around 23 percent of the world's total iron exports. As of 2019, Brazil had reserves of 15 billion metric tons of iron content and 29 billion metric tons of crude ore. Brazil produced 480 million metric tons of iron ore in 2019.

Carajas iron mine

Some of the world’s largest mines are found in Brazil, such as Vale’s Carajas iron mine in Northern Brazil. Carajas has approximately 7.2 billion metric tons of proven iron ore reserves. The mine produces about 300,000 metric tons of iron ore material daily. Its proximity to the Carajas National Forest has prompted sustainable environmental actions. Vale has implemented a program to restore vegetation in former mining sites as well as a monitoring network to provide data on factors such as air and water quality and noise pollution.

World reserves of iron ore as of 2019, by country (in million metric tons)*

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Source

Release date

February 2020

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

2019

Supplementary notes

* Reserves of usable ore. All figures are estimates.

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