Iron ore market report 2019–2020

M. Ericsson1, A. Löf2, O. Löf2 
1 Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden
2 RMG Consulting, Stockholm, Sweden

Russian Mining Industry №1 / 2021 р. 74-82

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Abstract: Preliminary figures of global iron ore and steel production in 2020 show a slight decline. The article reviews iron ore production by global companies (Vale, Rio Tinto, BHP, FMG, Anglo American, etc.) in 2019 and 2020, as well as production figures by the leading steel producing countries (China, India, Japan, Russia, USA, South Korea) in 2020. Iron ore imports and exports are also analyzed. It is noted that the global iron ore exports had increased by around 43% over the previous decade, however, they went down by 1.7% in 2019, and this decline in exports continued in 2020. Australia is the largest iron ore exporter with a market share of 55%; this share increased by one percentage point in 2020 compared to the previous year. Green-field projects by global producing companies are presented in Brazil, Australia and other countries. A conclusion is made that despite a 3.5% decline in the global economy forecast by the International Monetary Fund in 2020, it is possible to acknowledge that the iron ore market is well balanced. However, if steel demand and steel production volumes increase unexpectedly and some of the planned new mines are not commissioned, the surplus can quite promptly turn into a deficit. In the long term, the plans to produce steel without using fossil fuels, without coke and therefore without CO2 emissions, could revolutionize the iron ore market and increase the demand for products with a high iron content.

Keywords: iron ore, steel, iron and steel industry, raw materials, iron ore pellets, producing countries, imports, exports

For citation: Ericsson M., Löf A., Löf O. Iron ore market report 2019–2020. Gornaya promyshlennost = Russian Mining Industry. 2021;(1):74–82. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.30686/1609-9192-2021-1-74-82.

Article info

Received: 10.02.2021

Revised: 15.02.2021

Accepted: 27.02.2021

Information about the author

Magnus Ericsson – Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden.

Anton Löf – RMG Consulting, an independent consultancy firm based in Stockholm, Sweden.; ORCID:; e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Olof Löf – RMG Consulting, an independent consultancy firm based in Stockholm, Sweden. .