Global Analysis of Iron Ore Operations

CIM Montreal 2015
Christopher A. Tuck (U.S. Geological Survey)
A thorough review of global iron ore trade flows over the past decade is presented, highlighting trends and events that have shaped present day market dynamics. As China moved into a dominant role as the leading global consumer of iron ore, the rest of the world pursued strategies to meet increasing demand. Shifts in the market, government rulings, and the race to bring new capacity into production defined a new era in iron-ore economics. Large-scale production increases in Australia combined with lower demand in China, have lowered the spot prices of iron ore to around $70 per ton in 2014, from nearly $200 per ton in 2011. These large changes in capacity and market prices were only the beginning of a new dynamic as junior miners continue to struggle to be competitive in the face of growing economies of scale from major producers. New technologies and lower natural gas prices may also influence the established order in the iron and steel industry as direct-reduced iron and scrap contribute growing shares to steel production. Moving into 2015, iron-ore operations must focus on strategies for efficiency, energy, compliance with environmental regulations, innovation, resources, and technologies that can provide a competitive edge in the face of a rapidly evolving market.
Keywords: iron, trade, ore, world
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