Sep 3, 2014

Top 10: Iron Ore Mines Based on Proven and Probable Reserves

4 min
Top 10: Iron Ore Mines
One of most commonly mined minerals in the world is iron ore. The three biggest pr...

One of most commonly mined minerals in the world is iron ore. The three biggest producers of the precious metal include Vale, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto with the vast majority of mines in Brazil, Australia and Africa.

Although the price for the metal has fallen in recent years, the demand is never ending. We examine the top 10 iron ore mine in the world based on proven and probable reserves. 

10.) Karara (Australia)

Located in Western Australia, the Karara mine is the tenth biggest iron ore mine in the world. Although the site has only been operational since 2013, the mine is expected to produce more than 30 million tons per year for over 30 years. The project is a joint venture with Karara Mining Limited, Gindalbie Metals, Anshan Iron and Steel Group Corporation.

9.) Minas-Rio (Brazil)

Making our list at number nine of the top iron ore mines is the Minas-Rio project in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The $8 billion complex, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2014, will produce approximately 27 million tons of iron ore annually over a 28 year mine life. Once completed, the site will include open-pit mines, a beneficiation plant, a 535km slurry pipeline, filtering plant and an export terminal.

8.) Chichester Hub (Australia)

Owned and operated by the world’s fourth biggest iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), the Chichester Hub mine in Western Australia contains 1.51 billion tons of proven and probable iron ore reserves. As the eighth largest iron ore mine, the site is comprised of two open-pit iron ore mines – Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek -- producing 90 million tons per annum.

7.) Hamersley Basin (Australia)

Located north of Perth in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, the Hamersley mine is the seventh largest iron ore mine in the world. Owned and operated by Rio Tinto, the mine contains an estimated 1.72 billion tons of proven and probable iron ore reserves. The site covers the Brockman, Marra Mamba and Pisoliten iron ore deposits in the Australian region.

6.) Simandou (Africa)

The controversial Simandou mine in Guinea, Africa is the world’s sixth largest iron ore mine with an estimated 1.84 billion tons of iron ore. Although still under construction, Rio Tinto in partnership with Aluminum Corporation of China (CHALCO) and the International Finance Corporation is developing the site to consist of open pit mines, a railway and a port. Once developed, the site is expected to produce 95 million tons per annum.

5.) Zanaga (Republic of Congo)

Situated in Southern Congo, the Zanaga iron ore mine is estimated to contain 2.5 billion tons of the precious metal. The project, which is being developed by Glencore and the Zanaga Iron Ore Company, is being constructed in two phases. Once completed, the first phase will produce 14 million tons of iron ore per year and the second stage will expand the annual production capacity to 30 million tons. The project is scheduled to finish its feasibility study by the second quarter of 2014.

4.) Vargem Grande (Brazil)

The Vargem Grande mine is the fourth largest iron ore mine in the world. Located in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil, the mine is estimated to contain 2.53 billion tons of proven and probable iron ore reserves. Operated by Vale, the site is comprised of three open-pit mine: Tamandua, Capitao do Mato, and Aboboras. In 2012, the mine produced 22.6 million tons of iron ore.

3.) Minas Itabiritos (Brazil)

One of the many iron ore mines in Brazil, the Minas Itabiritos makes our list at number three with a proven and probable iron ore reserve of 2.78 billion tons. The mine, which is also operated by Brazil-based Vale, consists of four mines: Segredo, Joao Pereira, Sapecado, and Galinheiro. During 2012 the mine produced 31.8 million tons of iron ore.

2.) Samarco Alegria (Brazil)

With an estimated 2.97 billion tons of proven and probable iron ore, the Samarco Alegria mine in Brazil is the second largest iron ore mine in the world. The open pit mining operation, which is a joint venture with BHP Billiton and Vale, consists of two active pits – Algeria South and Alegria North – and has been in operation since 2000. Iron ore production of the mine reached 21.8 million tons in 2012 and the mine life is expected to reach 2053.

1.) Carajas (Brazil)

The title for biggest iron ore mine in the world belongs to the Vale-owned Carajas mine with an estimated 7.27 billion ton. The site, which is comprised of an open pit operation in the Carajas District of northern Brazil, is currently undergoing a $19.6 billion expansion to develop an additional mine on site, helping extend the mine until 2065. Once fully operational, the new mine is expected to reach a production capacity of 90 million tons per year.


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Jan 30, 2019

Deloitte predicts industry transformation - Tracking the Trends 2019 report

Daniel Brightmore
3 min
Deloitte reveals top ten trends transforming mining in annual Tracking the Trends report
Deloitte has published the eleventh edition of its an...

Deloitte has published the eleventh edition of its annual report on the mining industry. Tracking the Trends identifies the top ten trends transforming the future of mining in 2019

The Deloitte report endeavours to provide the mining industry with insights it can leverage to support its continued quest for productivity, capital discipline, strategic development and sustainable growth.

Philip Hopwood, Deloitte’s Global Leader - Mining & Metals, commented: “It appears that the mining industry is poised for greater growth than it’s seen in a decade, but today’s market realities are very different than those of the past. We’re now dealing with geopolitical tensions in the form of trade wars and tariff concerns, as well as looming asset shortages. Rising commodity prices should fuel expansion, but could also result in a return of inflation and the costs that go with it, eventually eating into margins. 

Disruption and volatility has become the new normal and the pace of change is outpacing our ability to adapt. This makes it imperative for mining companies to clarify how they plan to drive value into the future and how they intend to respond when prices inevitably drop again.” 

Related stories:

EY survey finds losing 'licence to operate' is the biggest risk to the industry in 2019

Predicting the disruptors of tomorrow’s mining industry: Deloitte’s tracking the trends 2018

Renewables the key to energy cost savings and competitive edge says Deloitte

Here are the key messages provided by the 2019 report:

  • Disruption and volatilitymake it imperative for mining companies to clarify how they plan to drive value into the future and how they intend to respond when prices inevitably drop again. To thrive into the future, mining companies will need to challenge the status quo by soliciting a diversity of opinions and taking the risk to do things differently. 


  • Technology and artificial intelligence (AI) will play akey role, not only in helping companies envision future scenarios, but in identifying risks at an enterprise level and transforming the supply chain. Moreover, advances in finance platforms, sensor technology, autonomous vehicles, cloud- based solutions, and analytics are paving the way for the design of a digital mine. 


  • Understanding the needsand perceptions of people both inside and outside the organization will be critical. Companies must build amore diverse workplace and address succession planning, while fostering loyalty and retention among existing employees. At the same time companies must do more outreach to local communities, governments, and consumers so they can be more transparent and receptive. 


Top Ten Trends Transforming the Future of Mining:

  1. Rethinking mining strategy - Embedding the discipline to deliver measurable value across the cycle 
  2. The frontier of analytics and artifcial intelligenceMoving up the maturity curve 
  3. Managing risk in the digital era - Exploring a new approach to controls and risk management 
  4. Digitizing the supply chain - Why innovation requires integration 
  5. Driving sustainable shared social outcomes - Finding value beyond compliance 
  6. Exploring the water-energy nexus - Making the case for a systematic approach 
  7. Decoding capital projects - Learning from past mistakes
  8. Reimagining work, workers, and the workplace - A blueprint for the future 
  9. Operationalising diversity and inclusion programs - From theory to practice 
  10. Demanding provenanceEVs and battery minerals provoke the desire for provenance 

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