Iron is found in every state in the United States and in almost every country in the world. However, the ore must contain commercially recoverable amounts of iron in relatively large deposits or ranges if it is to be mined economically. The characteristics of iron-bearing ores vary geographically. Specifically, magnetite and hematite are the main iron-bearing ores in the Lake Superior district and in the northeastern United States, while hematite and hematite-magnetite mixtures tend to be found in ores in Alabama and the Southwest.

Iron ore extraction plant

Iron ore extraction plant

Iron ore extraction plant

Iron is the most widely used metal in the world, mainly in the form of steel. If you’ve used any form of transport today, it probably contained plenty of iron. Steel is used to make most cars, buses, and trains. In this unit you will see how we extract iron from its ore.

Common iron ores are hematite (Fe2O3) and magnetite (Fe3O4). Since, iron is below carbon in the reactivity series, iron in the ore is reduced to iron metal by heating with carbon (coke). It is actually carbon monoxide which does the reducing in the blast furnace.

blast furnace from iron ore

Iron ore is reduced to iron by heating them with coke (a form of carbon) in blast furnace. The iron ore contains impurities, mainly silica (silicon dioxide). Limestone (calcium carbonate) is added to the iron ore which reacts with the silica to form molten calcium silicate in the blast furnace. The calcium silicate (called slag) floats on the liquid iron.

The metallurgical testwork completed confirmed that magnetite concentrates containing 69% iron with minimal impurities can be produced with suitable mass recoveries by controlling particle size distribution of the magnetite product.

Iron Ore Tailing Recovery Machine

The iron ore plant has 3 key circuits including an extraction plant which separates and upgrades the concentrator tailings to a marketable concentrate, a dewatering plant to remove the water from the magnetite concentrate for transport and a regrind circuit to maximise the recovery from concentrator tailings.

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