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Leading exporting countries of iron ore 2018

Australia was by far the country exporting the largest amount of iron ore in 2018. Some 53.7 percent of global iron ore exports came from Australia. Australia is able to export the most iron ore worldwide due to the fact that it also has the world's largest reserves of iron ore.

What is iron ore?

Iron ores are rocks from which metallic iron can be extracted for profit. The ores usually have a lot of iron oxides and come in multiple colors. However, they appear dark grey or rusty grey and come in different chemical compounds. These compounds include hematite, magnetite, siderite, limonite, or goethite.

Global iron ore trade

Australia, consistently the leading iron ore exporting country in the world, exported 887 million metric tons in 2018. On the other hand, China was the world’s largest importer of iron ore that year, accounting for a 65 percent share of the total global iron ore import volume.

Distribution of global iron ore exports in 2018, by major country

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Release date

December 2019



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* Commonwealth of Independent States.
All figures have been calculated based on WSA figures; the values have been rounded.

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Statistics on "Iron ore"

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