Iron Ore. By Ben Mooney. Major Iron Deposits.
By Ben Mooney
Iron ore can be found all over the world but in Australia the main deposits of this mineral can be found in the Western Australian Pilbara region. This area is so rich with the iron ore that you can see the iron in the rocks as you walk past. The mountains that this iron comes from are known as fold mountains these mountains form the range known as the Hamersly range, this range runs for 460km south from the Fortescue river.
Iron Ore can look like many things depending on what grade the ore is if it is a high grade such as Hematite (70.0%) or Magnetite (72.4%) then the ore will have a silver gray type but if the ore has a lower iron content like Goethite (62.9%) or Siderite (48.3%) then it is more likely to look like the type of rock that it was mined from.
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Fines lump ore pellets
1991 | 33.20 52.10
1992 | 31.60 48.40
1993 | 28.10 33.00 43.60
1994 | 24.40 30.40 43.60
Iron ore has a huge impact on the states economy because it is our largest metal that we export for example in 2001 58.7% of all metals exported was iron this is significant because it made the state a profit of over a billion dollars. But the iron ore industry is not just valuable because it makes the state income it also creates jobs and keeps our unemployment rate low. It is also said that from one ore cart on a train the company can pay every worker on the mine their yearly wage.
1995 | 26.90 33.30 49.10
1996 | 28.50 35.20 52.40
1997 | 28.80 35.20 52.10
1998 | 29.60 36.20 53.50
1999 | 26.90 32.20 46.40
2000 | 27.60 33.90 49.20
2001 | 28.90 35.10 50.10
2002 | 28.60 34.30 47.30
2003 | 31.40 37.30 52.00
2004 | 37.30 44.40 61.80
2005 | 64.00 79.00 115.50
2006 | 76.20 94.00 112.00
2007 | 83.40
Iron is never actually found in its elemental form it is always found bonded with Oxygen, Carbon or Hydrogen atoms an example of this is Goethite which chemical formula is FeOOH an example of a high grade ore is magnetite which chemical formula is Fe3O4 as you can see the higher the ore grade the higher the iron content and the less impurities
Name: Iron Symbol: Fe Atomic Number: 26 Atomic Mass: 55.845 Melting Point: 1535.0 °C Boiling Point: 2750.0 °C Number of Protons/Electrons: 26 Number of Neutrons: 30 Classification: Transition Metal Crystal Structure: Cubic Colour: Silvery
Iron main use is to be made in to steel which can then be formed into many things such as cars, houses, machinery and any other things that need steel to help in construction. Steel is the most common used metal in the world. Steel is not one hundred percent iron it contains other metals such as Carbon (0.15%), Silicon (0.01%), Sulfur (0.05%) and Phosphorous (0.02%) and the iron content is 99.2%.
Iron is mined by open cut mining because this is the most efficient way of getting to all the ore. The process of a new mine being built is that a survey team containing drillers and geologists are sent to an area to determine if the ore in that area is worth mining. If the ore is good enough and in a large enough deposit the top soil is removed and work begins on digging a giant hole in the hill that the iron is located in.the ore is then dug by an excavator and put into haul packs which move the ore to primary and secondary crushers which make the iron into chunks that are then shipped to ports for further crushing
The extraction of iron from the ore is done in a blast furnace using heated gasses and a substance called coke this is known as reduction. The iron is poured into the furnace through a tube at the top of the furnace while at the same time hot gasses are being blown onto the raw ore once the ore reaches about half way down coke is poured in to melt the ore and remove the oxygen and the impurities once the ore reaches the bottom it is a molten metal and that is sucked out while the slag is taken away and discarded of. The iron is then made into pellets and shipped around the world ready to be melted down and made into the things that we want.
BHP Billion iron ore holds the world record for the longest train.
Iron ore was discovered in the pilbara in the 1880s but was not mined until 1960 when the embargo on iron ore was lifted.
Mt whaleback in Newman is the worlds biggest single pit open cut iron ore mine.