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World reserves of iron ore as of 2016, by country (in million metric tons)*

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Crude oreIron content
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About This Statistic

This statistic shows the world iron ore reserves as of 2016, by major countries. The reserves of crude iron ore in the United States were estimated to be approximately 6.9 billion metric tons at this point.


Iron ore industry

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.

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 2015, Brazil had reserves of 12 billion metric tons of iron content and 23 billion metric tons of crude ore. Brazil produced 428 million metric tons of iron ore in 2015. 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.

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