Growing demand looks to bring about an evolution in the US iron industry, despite North America having historically been a modest iron ore producing and consuming region, according to a new report by mining analysts GBI Research.

The new report states that increasing regional demand for steel is boosting iron ore production, made possible by the area’s huge natural resources.

During 2012-2020, the rising global demand for steel is expected to be the main factor behind growth in iron ore production. This demand is primarily due to stem from the US, but will be coupled with demand from other steel-producing countries such as China, Germany and France.

North America is home to substantial high-grade iron ore reserves and, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) 2011, the region contributed around 13.2bn metric tonnes towards global iron ore reserves at the end of 2010, accounting for an 8% share of total global reserves. The US, with potential reserves of 6.9bnt, or around 4% of the global iron ore reserves, has the largest iron ore reserves in the region, followed by Canada with a 3.6% share of the global reserves. North American iron ore reserves are predominantly magnetite and hematite grades, which are rich in ferrous content and require no further beneficiation. North America’s iron ore reserves are mainly found in the provinces of Minnesota and Michigan in the US, and in the Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador provinces of Canada.

North America produced an estimated 97.1Mt of iron ore in 2011, and production is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1% during 2012-2020, to reach 140Mt in 2020.

North America’s iron ore consumption decreased from 90.1Mt in 2000 to an estimated 61.7Mt in 2011. However, during the forecast period, the North American iron ore consumption is expected to increase at a CAGR of around 3.6% to reach 86.8Mt by 2020.


China and India are predicted to drive the iron ore mining market over coming years, according to another report by GBI Research.

The report ‘Iron Ore Mining Market in Asia-Pacific to 2020 – Interplay Between Regional Demand for Steel and Iron Production Shapes the Competitive Landscape’ says that future iron production growth in the Asia-Pacific region, which is the largest producer and consumer of iron ore in the world, is expected to rocket, primarily due to demand from these two emerging economies.

Asia-Pacific’s iron ore consumption increased from 348.2M metric tonnes in 2000 to an estimated 1.6bnt in 2011. During 2012-2020, iron ore consumption in Asia is expected to increase at a CAGR of 5.2% to reach 2.6bnt in 2020. This is owing to rising demand from the steel industries of China and India, which are expected to account for a combined demand of 2.3bnt of iron ore by 2020.

The Asia-Pacific region’s substantial reserves of iron ore represent a major strength over other iron ore mining regions across the globe. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), Asia had 61.3bnt or 36% of global crude iron ore reserves at the end of 2010. These reserves by and large are mainly located in Australia, China, Kazakhstan and India.

The region’s iron ore production stood at 1.8bnt in 2011, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1% to reach 3.1bnt in 2020, surpassing consumption by 50Mt.

GBI Research, 441 Lexington Ave, New York, NY NY 10017 USA