Which are the major iron ore producing regions in the world? Discuss the factors that influence the location of the iron and steel industry.

What are Iron ores?

Iron ores are minerals substance from which metallic iron can be economically extracted. Iron ores are sedimentary rocks found in the Dharwar rock systems such as Cuddapah (India). It forms the basic industry (primary) to other industries and requires smelting to produce the end products.

Image: major iron-ore producing regions in the world. The factors that influence the location of the iron and steel industry.
Image: Iron and steel industry

Factors influencing the location of the iron and steel industry:

  1. Raw material availability: Minerals such as silicon, coal, manganese, tin, phosphorus, etc need to form various iron products and also in blast furnace smelting.
  2. Weight losing nature of the iron ore makes it necessary for the industry to be located near the fields. E.g. TISCO iron and Steel plant near Bailadila iron ore mine.
  3. Labour availability: Near crowded areas of Bengal, Chhotanagur, Manchuria low-cost mining labour.
  4. Proximity to markets: Near the coastal areas such as in Vishakhapatnam, Japan (Osaka) close to the sea trade.
  5. Favorable Policy regime: Greater FDI investment, Infrastructural support also enables the location. Eg. Sian region of China, Kochi in India.
  6. Energy supply: Power plants in proximity to the uninterrupted power supply.
  7. Financial infrastructure: Like banking facilities.
  8. Transportation and other infrastructure like rail, road, ports and etc.

The government of India has recently undertaken National Mineral Policy (NMP) to double the mining area potential to 20 percent from the existing 10 percent (according to Niti Aayog @ 75) with the goal to utilize an abundant quantity of iron ores in the country.

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