What is Iron?
Iron is a shiny white, flexible and soft metal. The color of its surface is usually changed by corrosion, because it is affected by various substances in the air. But in completely dry air, it does not rust.
Why is Iron Ore Trade Important?
About 98% of the world’s iron ore is used to produce steel for construction and manufacturing purposes. Iron ore has a higher economic importance than most other metals.
Also read: Iron Producing and Exporting Countries
What Are the Ores from Which Iron is Extracted?
Iron is extracted from iron oxide ores. Examples of these materials are: magnetite, hematite, and limonite, and it can also be extracted from other materials as well. The percentage of iron in these ores can range from twenty to seventy percent.
Stages of Iron Production
Most iron mining occurs in surface or open mines.
Machines crush ores and separate iron from impurities such as sand and clay. The best types of ores contain 70% iron, and do not require much processing. While materials that do not contain much iron require more treatment. The following methods are used:
- Magnetic separation of iron from sand and clay.
- Turning iron into pellets.
- Heating iron in a semi-molten mass.
Also read: What Are The Different Types of Iron
- Iron is made in smelting furnaces, which have steel and brick structures.
- Iron ore with coke and limestone is poured into the top part of the oven.
- The hot air moves downward and interacts with the carbon in the coke resulting in this process forming carbon monoxide.
- Carbon monoxide interacts with iron ore to produce pure iron and carbon dioxide.
- The molten pure iron goes down to the bottom part of the furnace, while the rest of the materials remain on top. This completes the process of manufacturing iron and separating it from impurities and other materials.
Also read: How is Cement Produced?
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