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By: Ashley April 19, 2019 Last Updated :April 30, 2019

How Is The Iron Ore Mined?

What is iron ore?

Iron ore is an important raw material for steel producers. Natural iron ore is gradually selected from iron by means of crushing, grinding, magnetic separation, flotation, re-election, etc. Iron ore is a mineral aggregate that can be economically utilized with iron or iron compounds.

Any ore containing iron that can be used economically is called iron ore. There are many kinds of iron minerals, and about 300 kinds of iron minerals and iron-containing minerals have been discovered, among which more than 170 kinds are common.

However, under the current technical conditions, some kinds of iron minerals like magnetite, hematite, maghemite, ilmenite, limonite and siderite have industrial values. Iron ore is different from the manganese ore from the level of industry and commerce. It not only contains the iron, but also has the the value in use. Iron exists in the state of compound in nature, especially in the state of iron oxide.

Different types of the iron ore

Different types of the iron ore

What does iron ore look like?

The first one is the magnetite. It is a kind of iron oxide. Its main ingredient is Fe3o4 which is a composite of Fe2o3 and Feo. It looks black and gray with magnetic properties. Magnetic separation can be used in beneficiation, which is very convenient to handle.

The second is the Hematite. Hematite is also an iron oxide ore with the main component of fe2o3. It is dark red and is most important kind of iron ore. It can be divided into many categories according to their different structures, such as red hematite, mirror iron ore, mica iron ore, clay red iron, etc.

The third is the limonite. It contains iron hydroxide. It is a general term for goethite and kelite which has different structure

The forth is the siderite. It looks blue-gray and contains iron carbonate. Generally, such kind of ore contains amount of calcium and magnesium salts.

How to find iron ore?

The data released by the US Geological Survey (USGS) in early 2005 shows that the world’s iron ore reserves are 160 billion tons, and the basic reserves are 370 billion tons. The reserves of mine iron in the world is mainly concentrated in Ukraine, Russia, Brazil, China and Australia. They are 30 billion tons, 25 billion tons, 21 billion tons, 21 billion tons and 18 billion tons respectively, accounting for 18.8%, 15.6%, 13.1%, 13.1% and 11.3% of the world’s total reserves.
Distribution of the iron ore

Distribution of the iron ore

Iron ore is distributed in Japan, China, North Korea, Russia, Europe, some Western countries and Eastern countries. High-grade ore is widely distributed in Brazil, Australia, India and other countries, and most of them have open-pit mining conditions. Such characteristics make them the world’s major iron ore suppliers.

Distribution of the iron ore

Distribution of the iron ore

What the iron ore is used for?

The iron ore is used for urban construction and steel production.According to tonnage and use, steel is widely used in the world. Steel is mainly used in high-end machinery, elevators, precision equipment, arms exports, ships, aircraft, railway locomotives, automobiles, aerospace instruments, production machinery, special steel, etc. Iron ore is a rock or mineral used to refine metallic iron.
Due to the low value of iron, mining iron ore is a high-yield but low-margin business. Transporting iron ore by rail or freight requires a highly stable infrastructure to make mining production economically viable. Therefore, the mining of iron ore has been controlled by several large companies.

Iron ore is the main component of steel and accounts for 95% of the world’s metal use each year. The world’s largest single iron ore producer is the Brazilian mining company called Vale, which produces more than 350 million tons of iron ore per year.

How is iron ore mined?

Magnetic separation is one of the most widely used and most mature technologies, mainly used for the selection of magnetic minerals. It plays an important role in this process.

After the slurry is fed into the tank by the feeding tank, the ore is loosely fed into the feeding area under the action of the water.On influence of the magnetic field, ore particles with magnetism are aggregated to form a “magnet” or “magnetic flux” .Subjected to magnetic force in the slurry, they move toward the magnetic pole and are adsorbed onto the cylinder.

Since the polarities of the magnetic poles are alternately arranged in the rotating direction of the cylinder, the iron ore is fixed at work. When the “magnet” or “magnetic flux” rotates with the cylinder, magnetic agitation will appear . The non-magnetic minerals such as gangue mingled in the “magnet” or “magnetic flux” will be fell off with flipping.

The “magnet” or “magnetic lotus” that is finally sucked on the surface of the cylinder is the concentrate.The concentrate passes to the weakest point of the magnetic system with the round barrel, and is discharged into the concentrate tank under the action of the flushing water sprayed from the unloading water pipe.If it is a full magnetic roller, we can use the brush roller to unload the ore.Non-magnetic or weak magnetic minerals are left in the slurry and discharged outside, which is the tailing.
Working principle of the magnetic separator

Working principle of the magnetic separator