We strive to be a leader in the iron ore mining industry.
What is an iron ore?
Iron ore is the earth’s third most common substance or element. As mentioned before, magnetite and hematite are the major iron ore components. The low-grade iron ore is known as taconite.
However, it isn’t strong enoughto support construction and other uses. Therefore, iron is mixed with other elements such as manganese, vanadium, nickel, tungsten, and chromium to form alloys.
Steel made from iron is used in automobile manufacturing, construction and other industrial applications. The U.S. alone has 110 billion tons of iron. This represents 27 billion tons of iron. Taconite makes a good share of Michigan’s district of Lake Superior.
Magnetation, Inc. is a natural resources and iron ore mining company. Our process recovers high-quality iron ore concentrate from previously abandoned waste stockpiles and tailings basins.
We operate two iron ore concentrate plants located in Bovey, MN and Grand Rapids, MN, and an iron ore pellet plant located in Reynolds, IN. The iron ore we produce supplies North American steel mills with the primary raw material used in the steel making process.”
Iron ore is a rock with minerals. Metallic iron is economically extracted from iron ores, which contain high iron oxide content. The oxides range in color from rusty red to bright yellow, dark grey, or deep purple.
Iron exists in iron ores as magnetite, hematite, limotite, goethite, and siderite.
“Direct shipping ore” or “natural ore” contains over 60% iron. They’re rich in high magnetite and hematite quantities. The ores are fed directly into blast furnaces for making iron.
Pig iron is made from iron ore as a raw material. And, 98% of mined iron is also used to make steel.
Iron ore, according to 2011 Financial Times, is more critical to the world’s economy than other commodities except iron.It’s an important part of the iron and steel industries worldwide.
Over 50 countries worldwide mine iron ore. However, Brazil and Australia dominate the exports market share.
Minnesota and Michigan mines contribute the highest percentage of iron ore production in the United States of America. Mines in the U.S. produced over 48 million metric tons of iron ore. Whereas Brazil had 480 million tons of iron ore, Australia produced 930 million tons in 2019.
Additionally, the international iron ore prices averaged $112.15 ores per ton. This was about 21% increase from 93% per ton in 2018. By March 2020, the prices had dropped to $88 per ton.
Concentrates – Upgrading
Iron ore is smelted using crushing and screening mechanical operations. However, some ores need upgrading before they can be smelted.
Concentration allows us to produce ore fractions that contain more iron and less silica than the initial rock. Our processes mostly depend on differences in density to separate heavier minerals from their lighter counterparts.
We crush the ore and then subject it to grinding. This process releases ore minerals from the rest of the gangue.
Our company also uses magnetic techniques to do this separation.
Concentrate (the upgraded iron ore) is a fine powder, meaning it isn’t suitable for use in a blast furnace. Unlike ore fines, its particle size is smaller and hence sintering can’t agglomerate it.
Therefore, we pelletize concentrates to agglomerate them. Although this process was deployed in the 1940s, it was first used between 1912 and 1913 in Germany and Sweden. It was adapted to process low-grade taconite ores that were mined in the Mesabi Range of Minnesota, U.S.
We moisten concentrate before feeding it to an inclined disc or a rotating drum. The tumbling action processes the concentrate into soft, spherical agglomerates.
Available as “green” balls, they’re fired in air to high temperatures ranging from 2,3000 to 2,4400 F (1,2500 to 1,3400 C) to dry and harden them. When done, we cool them slowly.
The resulting products are known as pellets. They’re round with 10-15mm diameters, hence suitable for blast furnaces.
Initially, we used shaft furnaces as our firing equipment, followed by the traveling grate and grate-kiln. The latter two account for over 90% of pellet-count globally.
Shaft furnaces use gravity to move charges down, and counter-flow of hot burning gases supports heating. The grate-kiln uses a combination of a rotating kiln attached to a horizontal traveling grate and a cooler. This ensures that firing, drying and cooling processes occur separately.
Pellets are charged at a single end of the traveling grate. They’re then pre-heated, dried, fired and cooled as they move across different parts of the equipment prior to exiting the other end of the grate.
Grate kilns and traveling grates enable us to produce up to 5 million tons of pellets in a single unit every year. They also have the same capacities.