Amoot Iranian Trading Company is widely known as a prominent supplier of Iron ore to China, India and some other Asian countries for more than one decade. Annual export of over a million MT of iron ore proves the reliability and validity of our company in this regard.

Amoot Iranian is a customer-oriented company that does its best to gain credit through paying attention to all its customers’ needs and preferences in terms of size (Fine, Original lump or Lump), shipping type (vessel or container). Amoot Iranian tries to make its customers increase their production efficiency by supplying the best quality Iron ore along with delivering it with its initial quality maintained. With all the experience attained in iron ore logistics including purchase, processing, loading, shipping, discharging and etc., Amoot Iranian staff are fully aware of the possible issues which may harm Iron ore quality since extraction from the mine until being delivered to the end user, hence Amoot Iranian considers and implements all the relative concerns to avoid them.

Iron Ore

Iron (symbol: Fe) is an element with the atomic number of 26 and the atomic mass of 55.85. The melting point of iron is 1535°C and it has the boiling point of 3000°C. The color of iron is gray to yellow and red. Iron is the fourth element in solid Earth’s crust and it forms about 4.2% of the crust.  Iron ore is one the most abundant metallic element in the earth. The oxide of iron makes about 5% of Earth’s crust. The most significant iron minerals are the oxide compounds of magnetite (Fe2O4) containing 72 % iron and hematite (Fe2O3) with 70% iron.

Brazil, Australia, China, India, and America own the biggest mines of iron ore in the world. The main resources of iron ore are known as a banded iron formation. Magma resources can also be a huge source of magnetite. The overall estimated iron ore globally is estimated to be more than 800,000,000,000 MT which contains about 230,000,000,000 MT of iron. There is more than 160,000,000,000 MT of extractable iron ore in the world. Iron ore is supplied in different purities in global the market. The quality of iron ore is specified according to its grade of iron and the constituent amount of its useful or useless contents. Mechanically, iron ore comes in three major sizing: fine iron ore with a diameter of particles less than 4.75 mm, lump iron ore with particles’ diameter more than 4.76 mm, and the pellet. Pellets are made through the process of agglomeration of fines and condensed iron minerals and their size range is about 9.55 mm to 16 mm. However, these are defined differently in the market, as fine is described the ore with less than 10 mm of diameter and lump with larger than 10 mm of diameter. Since 2003, the global demand for iron ore has increased with an annual rate of 12% which is mainly due to growth in China’s Iron ore consumption whereas the demand rate of other countries is growing more gradually.

Types of Iron Ore

Magnetite: Magnetite with the chemical formula of Fe3O4 is taken from the Greek word of the magnet. It is dissolved in HCI hardly. Magnetite was first discovered in Switzerland. The crystal structure of magnetite is as follows:

Color: black, transparency: opaque, Fracture: uneven, Luster‎: ‎Metallic to dull, opaque, Crystal system‎: ‎isometric. Magnetite is an oxide and also has a very powerful magnetic feature.

Hematite: Hematite with the chemical formula of Fe2O3 is a mineral which was initially discovered in Switzerland. The crystal structure of hematite is as follows:

Color: black, red or brown, Transparency: opaque, Fracture: uneven.

Iron Ore Production

In order to produce 1 MT of iron in a furnace, we need 75.1 MT iron ore, 750 kg coal, and 250 kg Limestone. During this process, 5.4 MT of air is used. Air temperature in the furnace center is about 1600 °C.

Iron Ore Application

Iron ore is the primary substance for steel production and 98% of the extracted iron ore is used to produce steel. Automobile manufacturing and construction industry are the main consumers of iron ore. Consequently, the demand rate of theses consumers affects the price of steel directly.

Iron Ore Substitution

In fact, Iron ore has no direct substitution but steel which is the main product of iron ore has alternatives. Steel has a tough competition with other metals like aluminum. The aluminum application in automobile manufacturing, production of glass and plastic is growing. From another point of view, production of aluminum requires high power consumption, therefore, it is more affordable to use steel. The last important point in this regard is the fact that steel is more recyclable than any metal that also makes it economical.

Main Producers of Iron Ore

The first producer of iron ore is Australia. China and Brazil are in the second place. America and Russia are also other main producers of iron ore. Australia produced 393,900,000 MT of iron ore in 2009. China with a record of 340,900,000 MT iron ore production stood at second place. The major difference between Australia and China in iron ore production is that China consumes all its production whereas Australia exports it to other countries.

Iron Ore Importers & Exporters

China is the first and the biggest producer of steel in the world. About 44% of the world’s steel is produced in China hence it needs to both produce and import iron ore in order to be able to meet the need. Accordingly, China is the first producer and at the same time the first importer of iron ore. With an approximate demand of 800,000,000 MT iron ore, it is the world’s first iron ore consumer. Australia and Brazil are the two main exporters of iron ore to China and India supply just 25% of China’s iron ore import.

Iron Ore Resources of Iran

The resources of iron ore in Iran contain about 4,500,000,000 MT. These resources are mainly located in central areas of Iran such as Gol Gohar and Sangan of Khorasan province. Most of the produced iron ore in Iran is magnetite and hematite and there is not much interest in other compounds of Iran’s iron ore. It has been reported that the production capacity of Iran’s iron ore was 38,000,000 MT last year. About 17,200,000 MT of this amount was exported and 21,000,000 MT of that was consumed domestically. The produced pellets were about 19,200,000 MT extracted from 99 active iron ore mines of Iran. Totally there are 112 iron ore mines in Iran which 105 of them belong to private section and corporations and only 7 owned by the government. The definite resource of iron ore inactive mines of Iran is reported to be more than 2,355,000,000 MT. Most of these active mines are located in provinces of Khorasan Razavi, Isfahan, Zanjan, Semnan, Fars, Kerman, Markazi, Hormozgan, Yazd, and Kordestan. Amoot Iranian supplies its iron ore mainly from Sangan and Kashmar area.

Among the twenty countries producing iron ore, merely five are facilitated with the three main requirements of steel production (iron ore, energy, and water). America, Russia, Mexico, South Africa, and Iran are the only countries having all the three for steel production. This is why steel production is beneficial and affordable in Iran.

Iron Ore Processing

Steel industry continuously requires high-quality iron ore as raw material. Most of the extracted mineral stones are not suitable to be used in the industry, therefore, iron ore pre-processing is substantial. The ore is examined multiple times in order to improve the process efficiency and reduce the melting, purification, and energy expenses. It is even possible to reduce pollution or omit some thermal methods. All the mentioned points make the iron ore processing as an important issue.

Iron ore Processing Methods:

Processing iron ore according to the product shall be categorized in two:

  1. Producing granular iron ore: in this method, the process is performed dry without water. This method needs iron ore with a grade of approximately 50% which yields iron ore of 60-68% in three sizing classes. In the factory, the feed iron ore is crushed in two or three steps and divided to different kinds of granule sizing. Here high-grade iron ore is separated from lower grade through a physical method (usually in magnetic method).
  2. Producing iron ore concentrate: This method consists of four steps: crushing ores, grinding, upgrading, and drying. At the first step iron ores enter the crusher and are broken. The particles in 20 to 100 centimeter are broken to smaller piece less than 20 centimeters. Then particles are ground in order to become smaller. Now the high-grade low size particles of iron ore which are also small enough should be separated from unwanted particles in the third step which is called iron ore upgrading. There are different approaches to upgrading iron ore: Physical, magnetic, flotation, and electrostatic. Finally, top grade iron ore containing some water must be dried. The humidity of iron ore must be 9-10%.

Iron Ore Pricing

Previously iron ore price was calculated through steelmakers and iron ore companies negotiations and the specified price would be an index in all steel industry. Recently this has changed and short-term pricing is applied. The three major global mineral manufacturers do not sign annual contracts. Most of the iron ore companies in Australia and Brazil have turned to short-term contracts and mostly deals are operated according to index prices such as Platts and Metal Bulletin. Iron ore has had price fluctuations since January 2009, however, the overall trend of the price has been ascending. The price of iron ore of 62% grade increased from 70$ per MT, CFR China to 190$ per MT, CFR China. There are two main reasons for this change, less supply of iron ore by producers and the increase in demand. As the price is based on the international basis, it is specified in US dollar, consequently, any change in US dollar affects the price of iron ore directly.

Iron Ore Assessment

There are different factors that affect iron ore value. Below some of them have been discussed:

  1. Humidity and Crystallized Water content:

The humidity and crystallization water of iron ore. This humidity may vary from 0 to 20%. The water content of iron ores may be the humidity or crystallized water. In some limonite minerals, the crystallized water content may reach 15% to 16%. The more water content of iron ore is the poorer the quality would be. When there is water in iron ore, the transportation expenses for increases. It also requires more energy to dry the ore. Specifically eliminating the crystallized water occurs at higher temperatures in comparison to humidity hence it is a high energy consuming process.

  1. Iron ore Grade:

Another factor that affects the value is the grade of iron ore. Usually, a grade is considered as the basis of the deal and in case the ore has a higher or lower grade according to the quality inspection performed by authorized companies, the price bonus or penalty would be calculated accordingly.

  1. Impurities:

Impurities have a direct effect on the iron ore quality assessment. Phosphorus is an important factor. The more phosphorus content of the iron ore, the less quality it is and the less price it gets. Same it happens with Sulfur content. However, sometimes there are valuable impurities in the iron ore like Manganese minerals which increase the price.

  1. Iron Ore Size:

The size of iron ore also directly influences the price. The smaller ore particles, the more beneficial and valuable they would be. Small ores occupy less space so their transportation cost is reduced. Moreover, the expense of grinding small particles of iron ores is less than bigger ones. However, there is a minimum acceptable size of iron ore in other words if the iron ore particles are smaller than a specific size, they are not valuable anymore since they are difficult and costly to transport.

  1. Iron ore upgrading possibility:

Nowadays the majority of iron ore producers upgrade their product through a physical or magnetic process which is cheaper than iron ore flotation. Hence, if the iron ore has a magnetic property it would be more valuable.

  1. Iron ore grinding possibility:

One of the most expensive processes in iron ore processing is grinding. About 50% of total expenses and 70% of energy is used for grinding the iron ore. The hardness level of ore is so important, therefore the harder the iron ore the more difficult the grinding process will be.

 

The Trace Elements and Impurities in Iron Ore

Amoot Iranian Trading Company, as a great iron ore supplier has set a goal to provide the highest quality and purest iron ore for sale. To achieve this, in iron ore mining companies, impurities and unwanted elements in iron ore are to be lessened. We have employed experienced and professional experts to conduct various investigations and tests on iron ore and find out about modern methods for neutralizing and declining its impurities to the minimum to meet the specifications iron ore buyers aim at, which is why Amoot Iranian Trading Company is where to buy iron ore. The most important impurities in iron ore are silica, phosphorous, aluminum, and sulfur. Below you may read a full description on them and the methods that are applied at Amoot Iranian Trading Company as an iron ore company for removing them:

Silica

Silica is often found in iron ore. Most silica is extracted in iron ore production process during the melting stage (conducted in iron ore production in the world). When the temperature is over 1300 degrees of centigrade, some of it decreases through forming an alloy with iron. In an iron company, the hotter melting furnace is, the more silica content of iron would be. During 16th to 18th centuries, the presence of 1.5% silica in iron was not something unusual in Europe.

The main effect of silica is in formation of gray iron. Gray iron is less fragile and is easier to be transformed to the final product in comparison to white iron. Therefore it is mostly preferred in mold making and sculpturing. In the iron ore industry, it has been reported that silica reduces shrinkage and formation of pores in inappropriate castings.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus has 4 major effects on iron:

  • Increasing iron resistance and hardness
  • Reducing iron freezing point
  • Increasing iron fluidity
  • Shortening iron cooling stage

Depending on the intended application of iron, these effects can be considered as good or bad. Mostly iron ore has high phosphorous content. The higher phosphorous content of the iron ore, the more resistance and hardness it will have. Presence of 0.05% phosphorous in iron (which has less than 3% of carbon and is very hard & malleable) makes it as hard as medium carbon steel. High phosphorus content iron may be hardened by cold hammering. Hardening effect for iron’s any portion of phosphorous content is true. As the number of phosphorous increases, the iron becomes harder and it may even become harder through more hammering.  Modern steelmakers can improve the steel hardness to 30% without having any risk in its resistance against shock only by keeping the phosphorous level in the range of 0.07~0.12 %. They even any make its depth harder, however, this will simultaneously reduce the solubility in iron in high temperatures. This leads to its undesirability stainless steel manufacture where the rate and amount of carbon absorption are the most important.

Additional phosphorous has a dropping trend. In phosphorous concentrates with more than 0.2%, iron gets cold instantly or becomes fragile in low temperatures. Fast cooling is so important, especially in wired iron. Though operation on wired iron is done in high temperatures, it is necessary to use it in hard, resistant against shocks and capable of buckling manner.  The nail which is broken by the strike of a hammer or the wheel of a carriage that is broken by bopping to a stone are not goods to be sold in the market. Concentrates which have a high amount of phosphorous are presented as unusable iron ore. Effects of fast cooling are extended by the temperature. Therefore, a piece of iron which is widely applicable in summer might be very fragile in winter. Evidence from Medieval demonstrates that rich people had swords with high phosphorous for summer and with low phosphorous for winters!

Controlling the exact amount of phosphorous in the casting process has many advantages. Phosphorous reduces the temperature of liquid so that iron remains in melting state for a longer time and improves its fluidity. Only 1% increase in phosphorous content may double the fluidity range of melted iron. The maximum effect appears in the approximate temperature of 500℃ in a 10.2% concentrate. It was found out that an ideal iron ore for the casting job must have 0.02~0.55% phosphorous. Therefore the mold which is filled with this iron has fewer cavities and shrinkage. Some decorative sculptors in the 19th century would use an iron with up to 5% phosphorous as its high fluidity helped them build very complicated and intricate sculptures however they could not bear weight due to not being resistant enough.

There are two alternatives for iron with high phosphorous content. The old method is to simply avoid it! Iron ore suppliers, iron ore mining companies and all the ones active in iron ore production should avoid this kind of iron. The second procedure that is either conducted at Amoot Iranian Trading Company is to add iron oxide in ground level and oxidize the phosphorous. This technique was implemented by applying mud on the ores in the 19th century which might have been was probably unknown before that.

Phosphorous is an undesired element which makes the iron fragile. Even a concentrate of merely 0.6% phosphorous content cannot be separated by melting or in melting stage. Hence it is strongly recommended to use iron ore with low phosphorous content, which influences iron ore spot price.

Aluminum

Often there is a low amount of aluminum in iron ore and limestone. In the past, it was separated by washing the iron ore before melting it. Till the introduction of furnace that was covered by bricks, the amount of aluminum was so low that has no effect on iron. However, as bricks were used in internal walls and floors of high furnaces, pollution to aluminum increases a lot. It is made because of erosion of furnaces’ coverage by the melted iron.

The aluminum reduction is very difficult hence iron ore’s aluminum contamination is not considered as a problem. However, it does make the slag sticky. Dense slag decreased the flow and makes the process longer. Moreover, high aluminum content makes the process of discharging liquid slag hard and somehow in its severe state solidifies the furnace.

There are some solutions regarding slag with high aluminum content. The first is to simply avoid it by using low aluminum content iron ore! The second method is increasing Calcareous lubricants to it, the process conducted in Amoot Iranian iron ore production.

Sulfur

Sulfur is a frequent contamination in coal. Its low quantities are also available in many ores which can be separated by calcination. Sulfur can easily be dissolved in solid or liquid iron with the furnace temperature. Even low amount of sulfur content makes severe and significant influences so it is of high importance to be considered and cared by iron ore manufacturers. Sulfur is the cause of iron being red or its short heating stage.

Iron with a short heating stage becomes fragile when it is warm. This was a concerning issue for most of iron used in beams or other iron products in 17th and 18th centuries. The processed iron is formed by repeated air blowing and hammering when it is warm. The piece of iron made through a short heating stage will crack by hammering. Whenever a piece of iron or steel cracks, the surface in contact with air becomes oxidized spontaneously.  The oxidized layer prevents welding to from repairing the cracks and the big cracks cause the steel or iron to break. The more the sulfur content, the more the heating stage is shortened. Today applying iron with more than 0.03% sulfur content is banned.

Iron with short heating stage may be applied but it should be processed in lower temperatures which needs more effort by the experts. Hence, the metal is harder and needs more hammering to achieve the same result. A beam with low sulfur content may also be used but it needs a lot of time and effort.

In casting process of cast iron, sulfur increases the formation of white iron. Its low content up to 0.5% may eliminate the effects of temperature reduction and high silicone content. White cast iron is more fragile and also harder. It is often not usual to be used in different applications as it is difficult to process, except in China where cast iron with high sulfur content (0.57%) is used.  It is said that the casting iron shall contain no more than 0.15% of sulfur. In other countries, cast iron with high sulfur content may be used in making sculptures however they would be so fragile.

There are multiple treatments for sulfur contamination. The first one which has always been used since ancient era is avoiding it! Unlike China, coal was not used as fuel in Europe as it contains sulfur and shortens the iron heating stage. Using raw coal was initially applied in 1829 with the introduction of Thermal furnaces.

Sulfur can be separated from iron ore by using water and fire. Fire oxidizes sulfur and forms sulfur dioxide which can be easily washed or evaporated in the air. In regions with warm weather, it may form pyrite. The combination of rain, bacteria, and heat oxidizes the sulfate to sulfite which is soluble in water. However although iron sulfite was a normal mineral historically, it was not used to produce iron. In Sweden air eroded stones were used. This process happened for Gusan limonite ore over time.

The increasing iron ore price with low sulfur content in Sweden, Russia, and Spain in 16th to 18th centuries implies the significance of low sulfur content in the iron ore price chart. Today sulfur content in iron ore is not an issue anymore since it has got a modern cure, adding manganese to it. Our experts at Amoot Iranian Trading Company try to calculate the exact sulfur content of the ore and add at least five times more of manganese in order to neutralize it. Some iron ores show manganese content but it is very less than the required amount for neutralization target.