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[VIDEO] How-To: Turn Iron Ore into Steel

Iron ore is one of the top three commodities mined in the world. The raw material, which is typically found in rocks and minerals, is rich in iron oxide...

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|Sep 26|magazine5 min read

Iron ore is one of the top three commodities mined in the world. The raw material, which is typically found in rocks and minerals, is rich in iron oxides and usually found in the form of magnetite, hematite, goethite, limonite or siderite.

The ore, which is an active ingredient in creating steel, is the world’s most commonly used metal, representing almost 95 percent of all metal used per year. Although prices for iron ore have been extremely unattractive as of late, we examine the process of turning the metal into steel.

Processing

The first stage of turning iron ore into steel is the processing. The rock is first grounded up with the ore being extracted using magnetic rollers. The fine-grained ore is then processed into coarse-grained clumps, which is used in the blast furnace.

According to ArcelorMittal, one of the largest steel and mining companies, a mixture of iron ore and coal is then heated in a blast furnace to produce molten iron (pig iron), from which steel is made.

“In a basic oxygen furnace, molten iron ore is the principal raw material and is mixed with varying quantities of steel scrap and alloys to produce different grades of steel. In an electric arc furnace, recycled steel scrap is melted directly into new steel. About 12% of our steel is made from recycled steel.”

Finished product

The steel from the furnace is passed through continuous casters and is formed into slabs, blooms and billets. From there it’s transformed into a wide range of finished steel products through hot and cold rolling processes. Last but not least, slabs are rolled into flat products; blooms are shaped into girders, beams and other structural shapes; and billets are formed into bars and rods.