Distribution of the leading importing countries of iron ore 2019

This statistic shows the distribution of the top iron ore importing countries worldwide in 2019. In that year, China was the world's largest importer of iron ore by a large margin, having accounted for a 69 percent share of the total global iron ore imports based on value.

Key facts on iron ore mining

China accumulated a majority of the global iron ore imports in 2019, with a 69.1 percent share of total global imports. Japan followed behind distantly with a 7.5 percent share of iron ore imports. On the other hand, Australia exports the largest share of global iron ore. Australia currently holds the world’s largest iron ore reserves, totaling 23 billion metric tons in iron content and 48 billion metric tons in crude ore as of 2019. China’s large share of iron ore imports is due to its heavy consumption of the material. It has become one of the largest steel producers in the world.

Iron ore is based on its valuable metallic iron which can be extracted from rocks and minerals. A large majority, over 95 percent, of mined iron ore is used to make steel. It is commonly used for structural engineering applications, vehicles, and machinery. Brazilian company Vale is one of the largest producers in the world, generating 302 million metric tons in 2019.

Distribution of global iron ore imports in 2019, by major country*

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Sources

Release date

May 2020

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

2019

Supplementary notes

*Based on value. The total global value of iron ore import purchases in 2019 amounted to 144.5 billion U.S. dollars.

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