Iron ore

Iron ore is integral to the steel-making process and one of the most sought after commodities in the world. It is essential for global economic growth and is key to the energy transition, to a lower carbon world.

What Is Iron ore?

Iron ores are rocks and minerals from which metallic iron can be extracted. There are four main types of iron ore deposit: massive hematite, which is the most commonly mined, magnetite, titanomagnetite, and pisolitic ironstone.

Iron ore is the primary raw material used to make steel. Steel is strong, long-lasting and cost-efficient – making it perfect for everything from washing machines to cars, bridges and skyscrapers.

  • Iron makes up close to 5% of the Earth’s crust.
  • It takes around 1.6 tons of iron ore to produce one ton of steel.
  • The world uses 20 times more iron (in the form of steel) than all other metals put together.

According to the World Steel Association, steel is the most commonly used alloy in the world. Global steel consumption is forecast to grow by 1%-2% per annum over the next decade.

The Bessemer process to manufacture steel was developed by British inventor Henry Bessemer in the mid-1850s. In the middle of the twentieth century, the Bessemer process was refined into the Basic Oxygen Process that is still used today in blast furnaces.

Today, new technologies have great potential to improve how we engage with our markets. For example, our China portside customers can order iron ore via a mobile app.

Where is iron ore found?

Iron ore deposits have been located all over the world, with Australia, Brazil, the United States and Canada being the largest producing countries. We have interests in iron ore assets in Australia and Brazil.

How is iron ore used?

98 per cent of all iron ore is converted into pig iron for steel making. It is then used in construction, transportation, energy infrastructure and even household appliances.


Buildings, bridges and other essential infrastructure around the world are built with steel that’s made from iron ore.

Household appliances

You’ll find steel in everyday household appliances like your ovens, washing machines, fridges and dishwashers.


Every mode of transportation relies on the steel that’s produced from iron ore. That includes planes, trains, ships, trucks and cars.

Energy infrastructure

From wind turbines to electricity poles, steel plays an essential role in providing the energy infrastructure that powers our world.

What is the future for iron ore?

As the world continues to require steel for key construction and infrastructure projects, we expect demand for iron ore to continue into the future. Our challenge is to continue producing this vital commodity in a way that supports decarbonisation efforts, and reduces the greenhouse gas emissions footprint of our productions. The ramp up of the US$3.6 billion South Flank iron ore mine in Western Australia is ahead of schedule and we have revised our medium-term production guidance to more than 300 Mtpa. We are assessing expansion alternatives to take us toward 330 Mtpa of production.