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Global Iron Ore Market Trends

Iron is the most used industrial metal in the world, with steel production being the key driver of global iron ore demand.

Mining Technology keeps track of the global iron ore market by observing iron ore price trends and analysing country-wise iron ore production, consumption, and export and import data. The performance of major iron ore producers and mining projects around the world is also monitored.

Global iron ore production is recovering after a 3% decline in output to 2.19 billion tonnes (Bt) in 2020. Iron ore production is expected to rise steadily to reach 2.7Bt by 2025, according to GlobalData’s estimates.

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GlobalData forecasts data for 15 commodities of 60 leading mining countries, with 70 reports per year covering supply & demand, key projects, activities of major mining companies and fiscal regimes.

Iron Ore Price Trend: Trailing 12 Months

Mining Technology displays the monthly iron ore prices and the global iron ore price trend over the last 12 months.

The iron ore price rose by 1.5% in June, on signs of an increase in economic activity following a series of lockdowns in China. The price of iron ore dropped to a low of $130.8/t on 18 May, before recovering to $145.88 by 7 Jun.

However, the price then fell back to $130/t by the end of the month. Prospects for the iron ore price improved after the ending of many Covid-19 restrictions in China, with hopes for increased investment in infrastructure projects. However, with steel output expected to be constrained and no recovery in the housing sector, prices are expected to remain subdued.

Top Iron Ore Companies by Production

Mining Technology has identified the world’s top iron ore companies by production by comparing the annual output of major iron ore companies operating in different parts of the globe.

Vale was the world’s biggest iron ore miner in 2021, followed by Rio Tinto and BHP.

The world’s ten biggest iron ore mining companies together accounted for 58% of the global total iron ore output in 2021.

Current Rank Rank 2020 Company Name Headquarters
1 1 Vale SA Brazil
2 2 Rio Tinto United Kingdom
3 3 BHP Australia
4 4 Fortescue Metals Group Ltd Australia
5 5 Anglo American plc United Kingdom
6 7 Mitsui & Co Ltd Japan
7 6 ArcelorMittal SA Luxembourg
8 9 Companhia Siderurgica Nacional Brazil
9 8 NMDC Ltd India
10 10 Metinvest BV The Netherlands
Source: GlobalData

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Iron Ore Production by Country

Mining Technology ranks the leading iron ore producing countries, based on GlobalData’s comprehensive database covering major iron ore mining countries around the world.

Australia, followed by Brazil and India, were the biggest among the list of countries by iron ore production in 2021.

The top ten iron ore producing countries together accounted for 91% of the global iron ore output in 2021.

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Biggest Iron Ore Mines in the World

GlobalData maintains a database capturing data on various performance metrics of major iron ore mining projects around the world to identify the biggest iron ore mines.

With an output of 109.3Mtpa, Serra Norte Mining Complex in Brazil ranked as the world’s biggest iron ore mine in 2021.

The world’s ten biggest iron ore mining operations together accounted for 29% of the global iron ore production in 2021.

Mine Name Country State Owner Mine Type & Method Production 2021 (MTPA)
Serra Norte Mining Complex Brazil Para Vale SA(100%) Surface & Open Pit 109.3
Yandi Mine Australia Western Australia BHP(85%), Itochu Corp(8%), Mitsui & Co Ltd(7%) Surface & Open Cut 80.7
Mount Whaleback Mine Australia Western Australia BHP(85%), Mitsui & Co Ltd(10%), Itochu Corp(5%) Surface & Open Cut 74.38
Carajas Serra Sul S11D Project Brazil Para Vale SA(100%) Surface & Open Pit 73.7
Jimblebar Hub Australia Western Australia BHP(85%), Itochu Corp(8%), Mitsui & Co Ltd(7%) Surface & Open Cut 67.39
Area C Mine Australia Western Australia BHP(85%), Itochu Corp(8%), Mitsui & Co Ltd(7%) Surface & Open Cut 61.63
Yandicoogina Mine Australia Western Australia Rio Tinto(100%) Surface & Open Pit 56.94
Kings Valley Mine Australia Western Australia Fortescue Metals Group Ltd(100%) Surface & Open Cut 50.85
Hope Downs Mine Australia Western Australia Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd(50%), Rio Tinto(50%) Surface & Open Pit 49.28
Christmas Creek Mine Australia Western Australia Fortescue Metals Group Ltd(100%) Surface & Open Pit 46.61
Source: GlobalData

Major Upcoming Iron Ore Mines

Mining Technology lists the major upcoming iron ore mines in the world by comparing annual production capacities of upcoming iron ore mining projects.

Simandou Project (Phase 1 and 2) in Republic of Guinea is the biggest upcoming iron ore mine in the world, with an annual production capacity of 60Mtpa.

Gudai-Darri Iron Ore Project in Australia and Mbalam-Nabeba Iron Ore Project in Cameroon are the next major upcoming iron ore mines with a capacity of 43Mtpa and 40Mtpa, respectively.

Mine Name Country State Owner Mine Type & Method Annual Production Capacity (MTPA)
Simandou Project (Phase 1 and 2) Republic of Guinea Conakry Boke Mining Co(90%), Government Of Guinea(10%) Surface & Open Pit 60
Gudai-Darri Iron Ore Project Australia Western Australia Rio Tinto(100%) Surface & Open Pit 43
Mbalam-Nabeba Iron Ore Project Cameroon East Province Sundance Resources Ltd(100%) Surface & Open Pit 40
West Pilbara Iron Ore Project Australia Western Australia Baosteel Resources Co.,Ltd(42.5%), American Metals & Coal International Inc(25.5%), POSCO Holdings Inc(24.5%), Aurizon Holdings Ltd(7.5%) Surface & Open Pit 40
Jack Hills Expansion Project Australia Western Australia Sinosteel Corp(100%) Surface & Open Pit 35
Nkout Iron Ore Project Cameroon South Province International Mining & Infrastructure Corporation plc(100%) Surface & Open Pit 35
Pampa De Pongo Project Peru Arequipa Jiangtong Group(51%), Zhongrong Xinda Group Co., Ltd(49%) Surface & Open Pit 28.19
Jiboia Project Brazil Minas Gerais Eurasian Resources Group Sarl(100%) Surface & Open Pit 25
Iron Bridge (North Star Magnetite) Project Australia Western Australia Fortescue Metals Group Ltd(60.72%), Formosa Plastics Group(30.999%), China Baowu Steel Group Corp Ltd(8.28%) Surface & Open Pit 22
Nimba Iron Ore Project (Newmont Mining Corporation) Republic of Guinea Nzerekore High Power Exploration Inc(95%), Undisclosed(5%) Surface & Open Pit 20
Source: GlobalData Top Global Projects


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