IRON ORE (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     3rd April 2024        

Context: A government-appointed panel has proposed setting up India's first iron ore exchange to determine the domestic sale price of the key steelmaking raw material.

Iron Ore

  • About: Iron ores are rocks and minerals containing metallic iron, extracted through various processes.
  • Abundance in India: India boasts substantial reserves of iron ore, predominantly found in volcano-sedimentary Banded Iron Formations (BIF) dating back to the Precambrian era.
  • Distribution in world: China, Brazil, Australia, India, Russia, Ukraine, the United States, South Africa, Canada, Sweden.
  • Types: Haematite, Magnetite, Limonite and Siderite
  • Magnetite: Prime Grade Ore: Magnetite stands out as a superior iron ore variant, possessing an exceptionally high iron content, often reaching up to 72%.
  • Magnetic Properties: Magnetite's remarkable magnetic properties make it particularly prized in applications within the electrical industry.
  • Significance of Hematite: Although hematite ore slightly trails magnetite in iron content, it remains crucial in industrial usage due to its abundance.
  • Uses: Iron ore finds its most prevalent applications in the manufacturing of steel and iron-based goods like nails, tools, and pipes. 

oit serves a crucial function in fabricating machine components for various sectors, including automotive and aerospace industries.

India's Iron Ore Mining Market

  • Global Ranking: India ranks as the world's second-largest producer of iron ore, trailing behind Australia.
  • Production Output: In 2023, India's iron ore mine production reached a substantial 257.6 million tonnes (Mt).
  • Projected Decline: Forecasts indicate a negative Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 1% for India's iron ore production from 2024 to 2030.
  • Major Iron Ore Belts in India: Orissa- Jharkhand belt, Durg-Bastar-Chandarpur belt, Bellary- Chitradurga-Chimaglur-Tumkur belt, and Maharashtra- Goa belt. Iron metal is the commonest of all minerals.