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Iron Ore Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Type (Hematite, Magnetite, and Others), By Application (Steel Production and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2024-2032

Last Updated: May 13, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI108698



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The global iron ore market size was valued at USD 279.35 billion in 2023 and is projected to grow from USD 290.25 billion in 2024 to USD 397.98 billion by 2032, exhibiting a CAGR of 4.0% during the forecast period.

Iron ore is a natural mineral substance typically mined from the Earth’s crust, containing iron in the form of iron oxides, primarily hematite and magnetite. It serves as a crucial raw material used in the production of iron and steel. Typically, it undergoes processing to extract the iron content and eliminate impurities, resulting in various grades of iron ore. These grades find application in the manufacturing of steel products for various industries. The market is driven by escalating demand for steel, propelled by rapid industrialization and urban development in emerging economies such as China and India.

During the initial phases of the pandemic, lockdowns and decreased economic activity caused a downturn in steel demand, resulting in a temporary reduction in product need. Additionally, pandemic-related disruptions affected the supply chain, causing delays in ore shipments and decreased production at certain mines. Trade disturbances and evolving global trade dynamics influenced product flow, necessitating alterations in import and export patterns. Moreover, product prices fluctuated due to rapidly changing market dynamics brought about by the pandemic. Prices initially decreased; however, they subsequently rebounded as steel production resumed and stimulus measures were enacted.

Iron Ore Market Trends

Growing Government Infrastructure Projects in Developing Regions to Provide Beneficial Market Opportunities

Infrastructure projects, especially in developing regions, have the potential to stimulate demand for steel and iron ore. Government expenditure on extensive infrastructure ventures, such as constructing or enhancing roads, bridges, airports, railways, ports, and other public facilities is anticipated to fuel market growth. These projects necessitate substantial amounts of steel for construction purposes. As these projects require large quantities of steel for construction, the demand for iron ore, the primary ingredient in steel production, tends to rise correspondingly. This increased demand can lead to higher prices and increased production in the iron ore market, presenting beneficial opportunities for suppliers and investors involved in the industry.

Steel plays a crucial role as a primary material in the framework and components of infrastructure, thereby serving as a major catalyst for product demand. As infrastructure projects advance, they result in heightened steel consumption, thereby escalating the demand for the product.

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Iron Ore Market Growth Factors

Global Urbanization and Industrialization to Encourage Market Growth

As countries undergo urbanization and industrialization, there's an increased demand for steel. Steel, a versatile material, is crucial for construction, infrastructure development, and various consumer goods. Urban areas heavily rely on steel for building construction, bridges, and other essential infrastructure. The swift urbanization necessitates the construction of residential and commercial buildings, contributing to substantial steel consumption. Furthermore, industrialization involves the growth of industries and manufacturing activities within urban and suburban areas. This expansion leads to the construction of factories, warehouses, industrial parks, and other facilities for producing goods and services. Industrialization also drives the demand for machinery, equipment, and vehicles. The industries and factories in urban centers utilize machinery and equipment predominantly made of steel. The expansion of manufacturing industries leads to a heightened requirement for steel, consequently driving up the demand for the product.

Moreover, the increased demand for iron ore stimulates market growth by driving up prices, encouraging investment in mining operations, and fostering innovation in extraction and processing technologies. Additionally, it creates opportunities for suppliers of iron ore, steel producers, equipment manufacturers, and investors to capitalize on the expanding market and meet the growing needs of urbanizing and industrializing regions worldwide.


Technological Shifts and Availability of Alternative Methods to Hamper Market Growth

The steel industry is continually exploring and adopting new technologies to enhance efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and environmental sustainability in steel production. These innovations have the potential to impact the consumption of steel products. One significant technological shift involves the development and adoption of alternative steelmaking methods such as Electric Arc Furnaces (EAFs) and hydrogen-based reduction processes. These methods often require different raw materials and may utilize scrap steel as feedstock, reducing reliance on traditional blast furnaces and primary iron ore. This shift is expected to influence the iron ore market growth.

As environmental concerns intensify, steel producers are exploring Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) technologies. These methods capture carbon emissions from the steelmaking process and convert them into useful products. The adoption of CCU has the potential to alter the environmental impact of steel production, potentially affecting the demand for these products.

Iron Ore Market Segmentation Analysis

By Type Analysis

Hematite Segment is likely to Hold the Largest Share Due to its Superior Properties

Based on type, the market is segmented into hematite, magnetite, and others.

The Hematite segment is expected to hold a major share of this market during the forecast period, also emerging as the fastest-growing segment. This growth can be attributed to its higher reducibility and porosity compared to magnetite ore, allowing reducing gases to penetrate it more effectively. Economically and in terms of quantity used, hematite stands as the most important industrial ore and is more abundant than other ore types. However, it possesses a slightly lower iron content than magnetite. Hematite ore typically contains iron between 50-60%, whereas magnetite, the highest quality ore, boasts an iron content of up to 70%. Moreover, magnetite possesses superior magnetic properties as they are more valuable in the electrical industry.

By Application Analysis

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Steel Production Segment Dominated the Market Due to Rising Global Industrialization

Based on application, the market is segmented into steel production and others.

Steel production constituted the largest market share in the global market. Iron ore serves as the primary raw material in steel production. The rising global demand for steel, particularly in regions characterized by robust industrial and construction sectors, is expected to drive global steel production, consequently influencing market growth. Innovations in steelmaking technology hold the potential to enhance product utilization efficiency. Novel methods and technologies can result in more efficient utilization of these products within the steel production process. Other applications of iron ore include the production of radioactive iron, powdered iron, iron blue, and black iron oxide. Within the medical industry, radioactive iron is utilized as a tracer element for biochemical and metallurgical research.


Geographically, the market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa.

Asia Pacific Iron Ore Market Size, 2023 (USD Billion)

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Asia Pacific accounted for the largest share of the global market in 2023 and remains the fastest-growing region. The rapid growth in steel production is driving demand for the product in this region, which stands as the largest steel producer worldwide. Key countries such as China, India, and Japan play significant roles in steel production, with China and India also being dominant in product consumption due to the presence of major steel manufacturers.

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Europe held the second-largest regional market share by volume. The industrial sector is projected to witness positive growth during the forecast period. Steel products are highly sought after in various industrial sectors, including construction, automotive, medical, and others. North America is expected to experience substantial growth driven by the rapid expansion of the building & construction and automotive sectors.

Latin America is poised for significant market development, particularly in Brazil, one of the region's most crucial economies. Rapid industrialization and increased usage of the product in steel production are expected to drive market growth in the country. The Middle East & Africa region will witness market growth fueled by increased steel demand in other industries such as pulp and paper, chemicals, and medical sectors.

List of Key Companies in Iron Ore Market

Market Players Are Engaged in Expansion and Research & Development to Raise Market Share

Producers in North America and Europe are intensifying their efforts to expand their presence in various countries, aiming to bolster their market position and foster organizational growth. These key players have built robust regional presences, distribution channels, and diversified product offerings.

Major market players are actively involved in research and development endeavors to enhance the quality and features of their products. Moreover, these companies are forming strategic partnerships to strengthen their R&D efforts. Businesses are placing significant emphasis on expanding their service areas to augment market share and boost overall revenues.


  • Vale (Brazil)

  • Rio Tinto (U.K.)

  • BHP (Australia)

  • Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (Australia)

  • ArcelorMittal (Luxembourg)


  • Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (U.S.)

  • Ternium (Luxembourg)

  • Anglo American (U.K.)

  • Tata Steel (India) 


  • October 2023: Rio Tinto announced plans to increase its Gudai-Darri iron ore mine production capacity to 50 million tons per year. The capacity increase would be achieved through upgrades, including improvements to conveyor belts and chutes, as well as utilization of an existing crushing and screening facility on site.

  • February 2023: Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., through its incorporated joint venture company Ivindo Iron SA (Ivindo Iron), signed the Mining Convention for the Belinga Iron Ore Project (Belinga Project) in Gabon with the Gabonese Republic. This agreement opened growth opportunities for Fortescue Metals and Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) throughout Africa.

  • June 2022: Rio Tinto and the Salzgitter Group signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to work together toward carbon-free steelmaking. They are studying the optimization of Rio Tinto’s high-quality Australian and Canadian iron ore products for use in Salzgitter’s SALCOS green steel project in Germany. Under the MOU, the company would explore the potential for iron ore pellets, fines, and lumps in hydrogen direct reduction steelmaking. The two companies also explored the potential for greenhouse gas emission certification across the steel value chain.


An Infographic Representation of Iron Ore Market

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The global iron ore market research report offers both qualitative and quantitative insights. Quantitative insights include market sizing measured in value (USD Billion) and volume (Kilotons) for each segment, sub-segment, and region covered in the study scope. Additionally, it provides market analysis and growth rates for segments, sub-segments, and key countries across each region. Qualitative insights encompass a comprehensive analysis of key market drivers, restraints, growth opportunities, and industry trends related to the market. The competitive landscape section includes detailed company profiles of key players operating in the industry.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period


CAGR (2024-2032)

CAGR of 4.0% from 2024-2032


Volume (Kiloton), Value (USD Billion)


By Type

  • Hematite

  • Magnetite

  • Others

By Application

  • Steel Production

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (By Application and Country)

    • U.S. (By Application)

    • Canada (By Application)

  • Europe (By Application and Country)

    • Germany (By Application)

    • Italy (By Application)

    • U.K. (By Application)

    • France (By Application)

    • Rest of Europe (By Application)

  • Asia Pacific (By Application and Country)

    • China (By Application)

    • India (By Application)

    • Japan (By Application)

    • South Korea (By Application)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Application)

  • Latin America (By Application, and Country)

    • Brazil (By Application)

    • Mexico (By Application)

    • Rest of Latin America (By Application)

  • Middle East & Africa (By Application and Country)

    • Turkey (By Application)

    • UAE (By Application)

    • South Africa (By Application)

  • Rest of the Middle East & Africa (By Application)

Frequently Asked Questions

According to Fortune Business Insights, the market size stood at USD 279.35 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach USD 397.98 billion by 2032.

Growing at a CAGR of 4.0%, the market will exhibit steady growth during the forecast period.

By application, the steel production segment is expected to lead the market during the forecast period.

The rising building & construction industry is a key factor driving market growth.

Asia Pacific accounted for the largest market share in 2023.

Vale, Rio Tinto, BHP, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd, and ArcelorMittal are a few of the leading players in the market.

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