Iron ore is used primarily in the production of iron. Iron is used in the manufacturing of steel. Steel is the most used metal in the world by tonnage and purpose. It is used in automobiles, airplanes, beams used in the construction of buildings and thousands of other items.
Iron ore are the rocks or minerals by which metallic iron is derived. Iron ores that carry a high quantity of hermatite or magnetite can be fed directly into blast furnaces in the iron production industry.
The business of mining iron ore is a high volume, low margin industry because of the low value of iron. The transport of iron ore by way of railway or freight requires a highly stable infrastructure for the mining production to be economically feasible. As a result, the mining of iron ore has remained in the control of a few major companies.
Iron ore is the main ingredient in steel, which makes up 95 percent of the metals used in the world per year. Two billion metric tons of raw iron ore are produced in a year. The world's largest single producer of iron ore is Brazilian mining company Vale, which produces over 350 million tons of iron ore annually.