Iron ore miners transport tons of rocks and material to foundries every day, where pure iron is extracted and eventually turned into steel. It’s impossible to find pure iron deep within the world’s mines, however, as this metal always exists as a compound. Two of the most commonly mined are hematite and magnetite.
Hematite: Red Iron
Hematite (Fe2O3) is one of the most precious sources for pure iron, with a yield of around 70 percent. Due to the rich iron content, it doesn’t take as much crushing and screening to derive pure iron from hematite. Although often found in hues of red, hematite can also appear in brown, black, and gray.
Magnetite: Black Iron
Magnetite (Fe3O4) is another common source of iron, though it has a lesser iron content than hematite. This ore, however, is known for its natural magnetism, a crucial factor for making compasses and other magnetic tools. Magnetite is also known for producing high-quality iron compared with hematite, as the metal can be derived via magnetism during processing.
During extraction, coke reacts with the iron ore to produce carbon dioxide, leaving the pure iron. Then, it’s off to other areas to be turned into various kinds of steel, based on alloy content.
Overall, how much actual iron can mines get from producing so much ore? The hematite mine in Drum Mountain in Utah contains 35 million mineable tons, with iron content ranging between 58 and 62 percent. So, it can harvest between 20 and 22 million tons of iron. One can only imagine all the work required to move that much ore.
Fortunately, mine operators can turn to manufacturers like Wabi Iron & Steel Corp. for the appropriate solutions. These include sturdy mine rail cars, which transport crushed ore deep in the mine to be hoisted to the surface for further processing. They have the capacity and resilience to carry considerable loads back and forth, thanks to sophisticated welding techniques. Some types of rail cars include bottom dumps, flat decks, and side dumps.
Mine equipment fabricators like Wabi Iron & Steel Corp. can also customize mine cars to fit clients’ needs. In an age where machines have all but taken over manual labor in the mining industry, it’s essential to build suitable mine ore cars and mining equipment. The Earth, after all, still has millions of tons of untapped iron deposits to harvest.
(Source: “Types of Iron Ore: Hematite vs. Magnetite,” Iron Investing News)