Types of iron ore: hematite versus magnetite


Knowing the different types of iron ore is useful for investors interested in the space.

Iron, a key material in steel and other applications, is most commonly found in hematite and magnetite ores, although goethite, limonite and siderite ores are also common sources.

Below, Investing News Network has compiled an overview of some basic information about hematite and magnetite minerals, including what they are and where they are found. Keep reading to learn more.

Types of Iron Ore: Hematite Ore

Hematite ore, also called dropship ore, has a naturally high iron content suitable for steelmaking. Due to its high iron content, hematite ore only needs to undergo a simple crushing, screening and mixing process before being shipped for steel production. For this reason, hematite ore is important to many mining companies.

Hematite ore is found all over the world. According to Geology.com, “Most of the ore is now produced in China, Australia, Brazil, India, Russia, Ukraine, South Africa, Canada, Venezuela, and the United States.”

Hematite ore has been the main type of iron ore mined in Australia since the early 1960s. Almost all of Australia’s iron ore exports are high-grade hematite ore, and the majority of its reserves are located in the Hamersley Mountain Range of Western Australia because the range sits on a banded iron formation.

Brazil is another of the world’s main sources of this type of iron ore. His Carajas mine is the largest iron ore mine in existence and is operated by Brazilian miner Vale (NYSE: VALE). Vale consistently ranks among the top five mining companies in the world and is the world’s largest producer of iron ore pellets. The company is headquartered in Rio de Janeiro and its principal iron ore assets are in the Iron Quadrilateral region of Minas Gerais.

Much of the mining of hematite ore is done in China. Known reserves include Tung-Yeh-Chen hematite ore deposit and Dongye hematite ore deposit.

Types of Iron Ore: Magnetite Ore

mineral magnetite actually has a higher iron content than the mineral hematite. However, while hematite ore generally contains large concentrations of hematite, magnetite ore generally contains low concentrations of magnetite. Therefore, this type of iron ore must be concentrated before it can be used to produce steel. The magnetic properties of magnetite ore are helpful during this process.

Magnetite ore may require more processing, but end products made from magnetite ore are generally of higher quality than those made from hematite ore. This is because magnetite ore contains less impurities than hematite ore; in this way, the high cost of magnetite ore processing can be compensated.

Magnetite ore is currently operated in Minnesota and Michigan in the United States, as well as in taconite deposits in eastern Canada. One of Michigan’s major mining sites is the Marquette Range. Magnetite ore and hematite ore are among the four types of iron ore deposits found in this region.

In Minnesota, this type of iron ore is mined primarily in the Mesabi Range, one of the four ranges that make up the Minnesota Iron Range. In Canada, Labrador is home to the majority of magnetite ore mines. In particular, mining companies are focusing on exploration and development in the iron-rich Labrador Trough.

Cleveland-Cliffs (NYSE:CLF) is a major player in the magnetite ore industry, with five iron ore operations which focus on magnetite ore. For example, its Hibbing Taconite joint venture operates in Minnesota’s Mesabi Range and has an annual capacity of 8 million metric tons of magnetite ore. The company is also the largest producer of iron ore pellets in North America.

Now that you know a bit more about the different types of iron ore, would you like to know who are the main producers of iron ore in the world? Click here to learn more about the top iron producing countries.

This is an updated version of an article first published by Investing News Network in 2013.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates.

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, have no direct investment interests in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

From articles on your site

Related articles on the web


About Author

Comments are closed.