Thursday, July 28, 2011

Product Profiles: Iron Ore

Description: Iron (Fe) is a metallic element and composes about 5% of the Earth’s crust. When pure it is a dark, silvery-gray metal. It is a very reactive element and oxidizes (rusts) very easily. The reds, oranges and yellows seen in some soils and on rocks are probably iron oxides. The inner core of the Earth is believed to be a solid iron-nickel alloy. Iron-nickel meteorites are believed to represent the earliest material formed at the beginning of the universe. Studies show that there is considerable iron in the stars and terrestrial planets: Mars, the "Red Planet," is red due to the iron oxides in its crust.
Occurrence: Iron is one of the three naturally magnetic elements; the others are cobalt and nickel. Iron is the most magnetic of the three. The mineral magnetite (Fe3O4) is a naturally occurring metallic mineral that is occasionally found in sufficient quantities to be an ore of iron.
The principle ores of iron are Hematite, (70% iron) and Magnetite, (72 % iron). Taconite is a low-grade iron ore, containing up to 30% Magnetite and Hematite.
Hematite is iron oxide (Fe2O3). The amount of hematite needed in any deposit to make it profitable to mine must be in the tens of millions of tons. Hematite deposits are mostly sedimentary in origin, such as the banded iron formations (BIFs). BIFs consist of alternating layers of chert (a variety of the mineral quartz), hematite and magnetite. They are found throughout the world and are the most important iron ore in the world today. Their formation is not fully understood, though it is known that they formed by the chemical precipitation of iron from shallow seas about 1.8-1.6 billion years ago, during the Proterozoic Eon.
Taconite is a silica-rich iron ore that is considered to be a low-grade deposit. However, the iron-rich components of such deposits can be processed to produce a concentrate that is about 65% iron, which means that some of the most important iron ore deposits around the world were derived from taconite. Taconite is mined in the United States, Canada, and China.
Locations: There are over 3 billion tonnes of iron ore found in Kogi, Enugu, Niger, Zamfara, Nasarawa and Kaduna States. Iron is currently being mined at Itakpe (Kogi State), which is more or less at the center of the region of crystalline iron deposits. The large deposit of oolitic iron ores of Kogi and Enugu States are yet to be fully explored. Nigeria is one of the richest countries of the world as far as mineral resources are concerned including iron ores.  The estimates of workable iron ore deposits stand in excess of 3 billion tones most of which belong to hematite, hematite-magnetite, hematite-geothite and siderite-geothite grades are found in Itakpe.  However, Agbaja iron ore deposit (proven reserve – 1 billion metric tonnes) is the largest in Nigeria.  Contrary to the 3 billion tonnes estimate, another school of taught argued that, Nigeria has the largest resources of iron ore on the West Coast of Africa, with inferred reserves estimated at 5 Billion tons. The iron content of the ores ranges from 15% to 65%, averaging 30-36.

Typically a buyer will require the following specification:

Uses: About 98% of iron ore is used to make steel - one of the greatest inventions and most useful materials ever created. While the other uses for iron ore and iron are only a very small amount of the consumption, they provide excellent examples of the ingenuity and the multitude of uses that man can create from our natural resources. Powdered iron: used in metallurgy products, magnets, high-frequency cores, auto parts, catalyst. Radioactive iron (iron 59): in medicine, tracer element in biochemical and metallurgical research. Iron blue: in paints, printing inks, plastics, cosmetics (eye shadow), artist colors, laundry blue, paper dyeing, fertilizer ingredient, baked enamel finishes for autos and appliances, industrial finishes. Black iron oxide: as pigment, in polishing compounds, metallurgy, medicine, magnetic inks, in ferrites for electronics industry.

Export market: The major export markets Iron ore is China. Other buyers next to china include India, Malaysia, United state, Indonesia, Australia and Hong Kong.

Export Price: Depending on the purity of the FOB price of Iron ore could vary from US100-250/MT.

Local price: Depending on the purity and type of Iron ore, the local market price at the loading point could vary from NGN15,000-NGN25,000/MT or more.


  1. thanks for the knowleg uv sheard on iro ore, but now i need knw more about the ores from agbaja in platue state nigeria, details like phosphorus and quantity etc...and one last thing, is dere any other way to extract this two without using sodium hydroxide...and if there are any other thing u wud like me to know, things dat wud help a final student in his project, pls let me

  2. Can you be more specific on what you will like to know about this Iron ore please.

  3. Thank you much for your informations so far.But i would like to confirm if the fedral government through the fedral ministry of solid mineral placed embargo on exportation of iron ore or any other solid mineral from Nigeria? if no could you direct me to the right place to get a more comprehensive export information. email, thanks