Iron Ore Distribution: World and India

Iron ore is the most important mineral that is used to extract metallic Iron by Iron and Steel Industry. Extracted metal is widely used by secondary industries for manufacturing of machines, machine tools, construction of buildings etc. It is the most widely used metal because of its certain qualities like hardness, strength and durability. Further, iron is malleable and possess magnetic properties. Hence, Iron, because of its significance in manufacturing and development of infrastructure has wide economic importance.

Iron Ore Distribution: World and India

The iron ore is found in following four types:

  1. Magnetite: It is the most important and best kind of iron ore. It contains about 72 percent metallic iron in it. It is black in colour.
  2. Hematite: It is also an important source. It contains about 60-70 percent metallic iron in it. It is red and brown in colour.
  3. Limonite: It contains about 30 to 40 percent metallic iron in it. It is mostly yellow in colour. It is a low-grade iron ore.
  4. Siderite: It has more impurities. It contains about 48 percent metallic iron content in it. It is brown in colour. It contains a mixture of iron and carbon. It is a low-grade iron ore.


Distribution of Iron ore across the world

Iron ore is widely distributed around the world. China is the world's largest producer of iron-ore followed by Brazil and Australia at the second and third position respectively.

Majority of the world's total reserves of iron ore of 3,20,000 million tonnes is located in North America, Russia, United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa and India.

Figure showing iron ore production across the world


It has one of the largest proven reserves of iron ore. Important iron-producing regions of Russia are the Ural region, Kuzkas region in Siberia, Angara and Krasnoyarsk.


Good quality ore with high iron content is found in Kirvoj Rog region of Southern Ukraine, Kursk Magnetic Anomaly(KMA) and Kerch peninsula.


Sweden is an important region where good quality iron ore is found. Major areas of iron-ore mining in Sweden include Kiruna, Gallivare and Danmora. Another important region is Lorraine in France. Apart from this, Normandy, Pyrenees, Selsia and Phalia region of Germany, and Cleveland, Midland and Scotland region of United Kingdom are major mining ore areas of Europe.

North America

The major iron ore mining areas are the Lake Superior region including Mesabi, Vermillion, Marquette, Cuyana, Manomimi and Gogebic; Alabama state including the Birmingham and Red Mountain region of South Applatians; and in Canada including the Wright, Sept Isles and Schefferville regions.

South America

Brazil is known for its one of the largest reserves of iron ore in the world. Other important regions of iron ore mining are Orinoco Valley of Venezuela and La Sarena area of Chile.


The major iron ore mining areas of Africa are Liberia, South Africa, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. The iron and steel industry of Africa is still under-developed. As a result, most of the iron is exported.


Pilbara region, Mt. Goldsworthy, Mt. Tom Price, Mt. Newman, Tailoring peak, Kalanooka region, Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania are important iron ore bearing areas of Australia.


China has large iron ore reserves in Shenyang region of Manchuria; Muhar and Tahyeh region of Xinjiang valley. The Philippines has also good quality iron ore deposits in Mindanao.

Distribution of Iron Ore in India

India is one of the richest countries of the world in iron ore deposits, particularly the hematite ore. According to the latest Indian Year Book, 95 percent of the hematite resources are distributed in Odisha, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Goa. Magnetite resources are estimated at around 10,619 million tons out of which only 59 million tons is situated mainly in Goa, Rajasthan and Jharkhand. The rest 10,560 million tons or the 99 percent of the magnetite resource is in 'Remaining Resources' category which is mainly found in Karnataka (74 percent) and Andhra Pradesh (14 percent).

iron ore

Iron Ore reserves (in descending order)

  1. Karnataka
  2. Odisha
  3. Jharkhand
  4. Chhattisgarh

Iron Ore production (in descending order)

  1. Odisha
  2. Goa
  3. Karnataka
  4. Chhattisgarh

The iron ore is widely distributed in the country:


The iron ores here exist as hill masses which are close to coal fields. The iron ore generally occurs at the top of the hills, iron ore mining companies use aerial ropeways for bringing down the ore and pumping it into the railway wagons standing near the foot of the hills. The major iron ore mining areas in Jharkhand are Noamudi, Gua, Jamda and Kiriburu.


Exploitable rich iron deposits are located in Dalli-Rajhara region of Durg district (close to Bhilai Steel Works), Bailadilla region of Dantewada district, Arindogi region and Raoghat region.


The major iron ore mining centre is in Singhbhum district. The districts of Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj and Sundargarh also form the richest reserves of quality iron ore. The iron ore available here is Hematite which has about 60-70 percent metallic iron content. The iron ore from these sites is supplied to the iron and steel factories located at Rourkela, Jamshedpur, Asansol and Durgapur. The ore is also exported to different countries through the Paradip port.


The major iron ore mining centres are Sanguem, Safari, Ponda, Sahqualim, Bicholim and Quepem. The iron ore found in Goa is of high quality. The mining centres are located close to the port of Marmagao. The mines are worked by open-cast methods. They are close to rivers which enter the sea near the port. The iron ore is brought by road to jetties on the navigable rivers from which it is taken away to port for onward journey.


In Karnataka, the major iron ore mining areas are Baba Budan Hills, Kudremukh region, Hospet, Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur district. Iron-ore mined in Bellary and Hospet area is transported to Hospet from where it is sent to the ports of Chennai and Marmagao through railways for export to other countries.


Maharashtra produces a very small amount of iron ore. Major mining ore areas include Chandrapur, Ratnagiri and Bhandara districts.

Andhra Pradesh

Iron ore is mined in small quantities in districts of Karimnagar, Warangal, Cuddapah, Kurnool, Adilabad and Anantapur.

Tamil Nadu

In Tamil Nadu, the areas where iron ore is mined are Tirthamalai Hills in Salem district and Yadpalli and Killiomalai areas in Nilgiris.

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