The North American Iron Ore Industry—A Decade into the 21st Century
During the 20th century, the iron ore mining industries of Canada and the United States passed through periods of transformation. The beginning of the 21st century has seen another period of transformation, with the failure of a number of steel companies and with consolidation of control within the North American iron ore industry.
Canadian and United States iron ore production and the market control structure involved are changing rapidly. Consolidation of ownership, formation of foreign joint ventures, divestitures of upstream activities by steelmakers, and industry changes to ensure availability of feedstocks all played a role in recent developments in the North American iron ore industry. Canadian and U.S. iron ore operations and their strong linkage to downstream production, although isolated, must also be considered within the context of the changing global economy.
Projects using new technology to produce direct reduced iron nuggets of 96-98% iron content and other projects designed to produce steel at minesites may once again change the face of the iron ore industry.
Social and environmental issues related to sustainable development have had a significant effect on the North American iron ore industry.