iron aluminum mining

fallout 76 best mining locations for aluminum farming ariden kane

Aluminum is a precious and useful resource. It is used to craft and repair a lot of your gear. Aluminum is one of the resources that I always found myself running out of before I researched and wrote this guide.

The best way to get a lot of aluminum quickly is to clear out Big Bend Tunnel and mine the eleven aluminum veins there while wearing Excavator Power Armor. Then smelt the ore in a chemistry workbench while using the Super Duper perk card.

Big Bend Tunnel is in the southern part of the map. Its got two entrances, one on the west end and one on the east. The western entrance is east of Lewisburg Station and north of both the Garrahan and Hornwright Estates. The eastern entrance is southeast of Lucky Hole mine and west of Watoga.

It doesnt matter which end you choose. Youre going to face a lot of high leveled Scorched in this area. So come prepared to defend yourself as they can be tough, and if youre not careful, they can gang up on you.

Whichever end you choose, move through the main tunnel until you come to the main cavern. Youll know it by the fact that it has some infrastructure built up. Instead of continuing through the main tunnel, there will be another tunnel through the south wall.

Go through the southern tunnel and start keeping your eyes peeled for aluminum veins. There will be a total of eleven aluminum veins throughout this relatively short tunnel. Its a dead-end, so keep moving. You cant get lost.

Nice haul, right? So it gets better. Server hopping still works here. You can hop servers and then rinse and repeat. I did like six times while writing this post because I couldnt believe it. I ended up with hundreds of aluminum ore. So much in fact that now I have to write a guide on getting acid now.

Abandoned Mine Shaft 1 is in the far southwest corner of the map just south of Welch Station. It is also one of my favorite aluminum farming locations because its just dead-easy, and you get a lot of aluminum for it.

From the spawn point on the southside, you should be able to see the small metal mining shack and stairs leading up to it. Head towards the stairs, but dont go up instead, circle around the rock wall to the left (west). You should quickly see a cluster of four aluminum veins in the cliff wall.

Now head up to the shack and then to the east towards the backside of the mine shaft. On the wall facing the back of the mine shaft, are a cluster of six aluminum veins. A couple of them are a little temperamental, but all are minable.

Thats ten aluminum veins for killing a few mole miners or Scorched. If you mine that in your Excavator Power Armor, thats an absolute minimum of forty aluminum ore and more like eighty to one hundred. When you smelt that down at a chemistry workbench, youre looking at an aluminum scrap yield of eighty-plus if you equip the Super Duper perk card while doing it.

Harpers Ferry is on the far east side of the map and north of Camp Venture. From the spawn point, you should run west across the bridge following the railroad tracks. Once across, start to move off to the left a little and look over the edges of the cliff. You will see a cluster of three aluminum veins.

Now head directly west and make your way to the road. Continue to follow the road west. Note the buildings on your right and the rock wall. Youll see what looks like a church on your right climb the wall on the south side of the church. You should see another cluster of three aluminum veins.

If you mine all six aluminum veins in Excavator Power Armor, that should net about forty-eight aluminum ore. Smelt that down at a chemistry workbench while running the Super Duper perk card, and youre looking at about forty-two aluminum scrap.

With just these three locations, you should easily be able to maintain a significant aluminum scrap stockpile. The only one that required any significant combat was Big Bend and those we just Scorched.

10 biggest mining companies

The mining industry is comprised of companies that explore and mine for precious and nonprecious metals and minerals, as well as energy commodities like coal and petroleum. They are used in the manufacturing of a broad range of industrial products, capital goods, and consumer items including machines, computers, clothing, buildings, and automobiles. Some companies in the mining sector even produce agricultural commodities. Mining is a global industry, but five of the largest companies are headquartered in China, the world's second-largest economy. Other big mining names are based in the U.K., Switzerland, Australia, and Brazil.

Below we look at the 10 biggest mining companies by 12-month trailing(TTM)revenue. Some companies outside the U.S. report profits semi-annually instead of quarterly, so the 12-month trailing data may be older than it is for companies that report quarterly. Data is courtesy of, unless otherwise noted. All figures are as of September 11.

This list is limited to companies that are publicly traded in the U.S. or Canada, either directly or throughADRs. However, we note that two of these companies trade at such low volumes that they should be avoided even though they have publicly listed ADRs: Jiangxi Copper Co. Ltd. (600362) and Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Ltd. (600188). Due to their size and importance they have been included on the list, but with the ticker symbol associated with their respective listings on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE).

Some of the stocks below are only tradedover-the-counter (OTC)in the U.S., not on exchanges. Trading OTC stocks often carries higher trading costs than trading stocks on exchanges. This can lower or even outweigh potential returns.

Glencore is a Switzerland-based multinational commodity trading and mining company. It produces metal, mineral, energy, and agricultural commodities. The company serves the automotive, steel, power generation, battery manufacturing, and oil sectors globally.

BHP is an Australia-based international resources company. It explores and mines minerals, including coal, iron ore, gold, titanium, ferroalloys, nickel, and copper properties. It also offers petroleum exploration, production, and refining services. The company serves customers worldwide.

Rio Tinto is a U.K.-based multinational metals and mining company. It explores and mines for aluminum, borax, coal, copper, gold, iron ore, lead, silver, tin, uranium, zinc, titanium dioxide feedstock, diamonds, talc, and zircon. The company serves customers in various industries worldwide.

Jiangxi Copper is a China-based copper mining company. It engages in the extraction and processing of precious and scattered metal, as well as sulphuric chemistry. The company's products include copper cathode, gold, silver, sulphuric acid, copper rod, copper tube, and copper foil.

Vale is a Brazil-based multinational mining company. It produces iron ore, pellets, manganese, iron alloys, gold, nickel, copper, bauxite, alumina, aluminum, potash, and coal. The company also owns and operates railroads and maritime terminals. The company operates in approximately 30 different countries.

China Shenhua is a China-based producer of coal and electricity. The company operates coal mines, produces various coal products, and generates power and electricity. It also operates transportation railways for coal and non-coal commodities, and provides logistics and vessels for coal and non-coal cargo.

Yanzhou is a China-based coal mining company and produces a broad range of products ranging from fine coal to power coal. The company also manufactures coal mining and excavating equipment, and operates power generation, railway transport, and heating businesses.

Anglo American is a U.K.-based mining company. It engages in the exploration and mining of precious metals, base metals, and ferrous metals. The company produces iron ore, manganese, metallurgical coal, copper, nickel, platinum, and diamonds. It has operations throughout the world.

Aluminum Corporation of China is a China-based manufacturer of aluminum products. The company produces aluminum ores, aluminum, bauxite, coal, and other products. It also operates an energy segment that engages in power generation, including conventional coal-fire power generation and renewable energy generation such as wind power and photovoltaic power.

Zijin Mining is a China-based multinational mining company. It engages in the exploration, mining, and smelting processing of gold, copper, zinc, and other metal mineral resources. The company also conducts metal trading and investment businesses globally.

iron ore price surges to record high

The northwest Shaanxi province recently urged local departments, as requested by Chinas state planner and other authorities, to verify local steelmakers crude steel output in 2020 and explain those whose production exceeded designated capacity or didnt meet it.

Aluminum is surging and copper jumped to a 10-year high as commodities advance toward the highs of the last supercycle. Metals are benefiting as the worlds largest economies announce stimulus programs and climate pledges as they rebuild from the coronavirus shock.

Bidens new climate promises and at least lip service by China to greener domestic policies are keeping the demand picture rosy, Tai Wong, head of metals derivatives trading at BMO Capital Markets told Bloomberg.

Certain quote is derogatory and camouflaged under the guise of newsreporting is detrimental to the world in all aspect. The quote at least lip service by China is intended to inflict bad China without ant substantiated proof eventhough China has every intention to fulfil. Your way of reporting has lost shine.

how to invest in iron stocks | the motley fool

Founded in 1993 by brothers Tom and David Gardner, The Motley Fool helps millions of people attain financial freedom through our website, podcasts, books, newspaper column, radio show, and premium investing services.

Iron is vital to the global economy because it's an essential ingredient in making steel. Overall, about 98% of the iron mined each year goes into the production of steel. That metal is a crucial building block of global infrastructure like bridges, buildings, and pipelines. It's also in a variety of other items like cars, ships, appliances, tools, and wind turbines. In 2018, about 51% of the steel produced went into buildings and bridges, with another 12% used to make automobiles.

Steel's vital role in building the backbone of the global economy is why iron is the mining industry's largest metals market by volume as industries demand more of it than copper or aluminum. Overall, iron typically ranks as the third biggest commodities market by dollar value behind oil and gold.

The iron industry mines iron ores and processes them so that the steel industry can use them to manufacture various forms of steel. Iron producers extract the ore from rocks that typically contain other elements like nickel. The mining process starts with digging up ore-rich rocks, which the industry crushes into smaller pieces. The iron-rich ore then goes through several refinement steps, which use water to separate it from other materials. This process helps transform it into coarse-grained clumps that the steel industry can use. The steel sector takes the processed iron and mixes it with pure carbon that it extracts from coal. It melts this mixture in a blast furnace to produce a molten iron known as pig iron. The steel industry uses pig iron to manufacture steel.

Given the vital role iron plays in building the global economy, many of the world's largest mining companies produce this raw material. In addition to that, some major integrated steel producers also mine and process iron ore. Here are the five biggest players in the iron market, as ranked by theirmarket capitalization(a company's total available shares multiplied by its stock price):

Investors who are interested in the iron industry need to understand the language that mining companies use to communicate with investors. That starts with getting to know some of the metrics that the sector uses to measure its performance. Three of the most important ones for investors to know are:

By-product credits: These are cash payments that mining companies receive for producing raw metals in association with their main target, which is iron ore in this case. Instead of spending the money needed to process these raw metals into finished products, miners will sell them to other producers for further processing. They then use the payments received to reduce the cost of mining iron ore. Some iron ore mines, for example, contain small quantities of gold and other precious metals that the iron mining company will sell to others focused on those metals rather than producing them as part of their operations.

C1: Iron ore mining companies use several metrics to help investors understand how much it costs them to produce one ton of marketable ore. One of the most common is their unit costs or net direct cash costs, which many refer to as C1. This metric measures the actual cash costs an iron ore mining company incurs at each processing stage -- from mining to delivering metal to the market -- minus any by-product credits. As such, it measures what it actually costs to produce marketable iron ore before factoring in indirect corporate costs like interest expenses and accounting costs such as depreciation and amortization.

EBITDA:EBITDA is an acronym that stands for earnings before interest, taxes,depreciation, and amortization. It's a non-GAAPmetric, which iron ore miners use to provide their investors with the underlying earnings-generating capability of their ore business. They use this metric because they typically record largedepreciation expensesas they deplete a mine's reserves, which reduces their reportednet income. Because of that, iron ore miners often seem like they're not making much money, which might not be the case.

Economic growth is the lifeblood of the iron industry. As the global economy expands, it drives demand for more steel to construct new buildings, bridges, vehicles, and appliances. Because of that, one of the biggest potential headwinds facing the sector is an economic slowdown. If the global economy goes into recession, it will cause the demand for steel to decline, which will negatively impact the price of iron ore. That would cut into the profitability of companies that mine that metal, likely causing their stock prices to plunge.

While countries all around the world use iron and steel, China is by far the biggest consumer. In 2017, that one economy used 45% of all the steel produced. Because of that, if China's economy slows down, it would have an outsized impact on demand for steel and the iron ore market.

Several other factors can also impact iron demand, including rising interest rates and a slowdown in a key steel-consuming industry like automotive. Rising interest rates, for example, make it more expensive for companies to borrow money, which can cause them to invest in fewer building projects, thus impacting steel demand. Meanwhile, the U.S. automotive industry accounts for 27% of the country's demand for steel. As such, when fewer American consumers are buying cars, it can negatively impact the iron sector.

Tariffs on imported steel can also impact iron demand and prices. In 2018, the U.S. imposed a 25% tariff on imported steel to help level the playing field for American steel companies versus their global competitors. Those higher steel prices, however, negatively impacted demand, which weighed on iron ore prices.

Another issue that mining companies can run into even during periods of strong economic growth is overcapacity. The steel industry can overestimate demand and produce more than the economy needs, which will then reduce that sector's demand for iron ore. Likewise, iron ore producers have routinely built more mining capacity than needed to supply the steel sector's demand. Both of those issues can weigh on iron ore prices and mining company profitability, which can cause iron ore stocks to lose value.

An emerging headwind for the iron industry is climate change. The global iron and steel industries are responsible for 7% to 9% of direct carbon emissions, according to a report by the Financial Times. Meanwhile, those two sectors contribute about 24% of the industrial sector's total emissions. Because of that, these industries need to reduce their carbon footprint so that they're part of the solution, not the problem.

One company, for example, that's working to become part of the solution is industry-leader Vale. The Brazilian iron giant ships its iron ore to global markets on Valemax ships instead of the traditional Capesize vessels. These larger ships carry 400,000 metric tonnes of iron ore apiece, which is 2.3 times more than Capesize vessels. Because of that, they emit 35% less carbon dioxide per ton.

Steel is vital for building the infrastructure needed to support economic growth. Both governments and the private sector use it to construct transportation networks such as bridges, tunnels, and railways as well as transport-related facilities like gas stations, train terminals, ports, and airports. Utilities, likewise, use lots of steel to build infrastructure such as pipelines for distributing water and natural gas as well as for electricity transmission systems.

The global economy needs to invest a staggering amount of money into building new infrastructure in the coming decades to both replace aging assets as well as to construct more capacity. The U.S. economy alone needs to invest an estimated $4.6 trillion on infrastructure by 2025, according to The American Society of Civil Engineers. Meanwhile, the global investment requirement is a jaw-dropping $69 trillion by 2035, according to a report by McKinsey & Company. Those estimates suggest that iron demand should remain healthy in the coming decades.

Steel is also vital to the energy industry. Oil and gas companies, for example, use lots of it to drill new wells and for pipelines to move hydrocarbons from production regions to end-users. While climate change concerns will likely cause demand for oil and gas to eventually plateau, the International Energy Agency expects the consumption of these fossil fuels to continue rising through at least 2040, which will fuel that sector's need for more steel.

The renewable energy industry also uses lots of steel. The solar industry, for example, uses it as a base to hold solar panels, while hydroelectric systems use it to reinforce concrete dams. Meanwhile, it's the main material used to build wind turbines as well as for wave and tidal energy systems. Because of that, as the renewable energy sector expands, it will consume even more steel, driving incremental demand for iron.

While China is the world's largest iron and steel market, other Asian economies consumed a combined 22% of the world's steel in 2017. That percentage should rise as Asian economies like India, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines continue growing. This region's rising steel consumption could provide new growth opportunities for iron companies that focus on supplying mills in those countries.

One of the biggest non-regional growth opportunities for iron producers is renewable energy. Iron and steel, for example, are in nearly every part of a wind turbine, including the tower, rotor, and foundation. Overall, the average wind turbine is about 80% steel and uses roughly 140 tonnes of that metal. Because of that, the continued growth in wind development is a major opportunity for the iron sector.

Steel is also an important component for emerging renewable energy technologies such as wave and tidal energy, which use the ocean's currents to produce clean energy. A steel pile, for example, is the primary part of a tidal turbine. Meanwhile, the metal is also used to make wave energy devices. Because of that, as the renewable energy sector begins to commercialize these emerging technologies, it'll provide the iron ore industry with a new growth opportunity.

Not only will new technologies drive additional demand for steel, but innovation can also make the industry more profitable by helping reduce costs. Leading iron ore producers like BHP Group and Rio Tinto, for example, are utilizing autonomous trucking technology to increase safety and productivity, which is also helping reduce costs. As the industry accelerates its adoption of technology, it can reduce downtime, which should increase the sector's production and profitability.

Because iron ore is a commodity, its price tends to be highly sensitive to changes in supply and demand. If the global economy slows down or mining companies produce more iron than the steel sector needs, the price of iron ore can plummet. The decline in price will have a direct impact on the profitability of iron ore producers and their stock prices.

Iron miners use lots of water to separate the ore from rocks. The left-over water often contains small mineral particles and toxic materials such as arsenic and mercury, known as tailings. The industry stores these tailings in large ponds that they build to prevent them from running off into the environment. These tailing ponds, however, pose a significant risk. Should a dam supporting these ponds fail, it would release that toxic mixture into the environment.

The iron ore industry has experienced two notable dam failures in recent years. In 2015, a dam supporting a tailings pond for the Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil -- which is jointly owned by Vale and BHP Group -- collapsed. The disaster killed 19 people and buried a village. That tragedy cost the mining partners dearly as they've spent $5 billion to settle a civil claim with local authorities as well as to establish a clean-up fund.

Meanwhile, another of Vale's iron ore tailing ponds in Brazil failed in early 2019. That catastrophic dam collapse killed nearly 250 people. It also caused shares of the company to tumble 24% on the news, which wiped away $19 billion of its market value. The company had spent or set aside $6 billion to remediate the damages that mine caused as of mid-2019.

On the one hand, the iron ore sector can be a challenging one for investors due to the industry's headwinds and risks. However, it also holds lots of promise due to its importance to the global economy and renewable energy. That upside makes it one that investors will at least want to consider including in their portfolio.

They have three main ways to do that. First, they can invest in a company that mines iron ore. Some like Vale and Rio Tinto, make a majority of their money from mining that commodity. Others like BHP Group and AngloAmerican, meanwhile, are more diversified and therefore get less than half of their income from mining that commodity. Because of that, investors need to dig into a mining company's portfolio to see whether iron is the main driver before buying shares.

The final option is to consider investing in an exchange-traded fund (ETF) or amutual fundthat focuses on holding the stocks of companies that produce iron ore. While there aren't any noteworthy ETFs focused exclusively on iron, the iShares MSCI Global Metals & Mining Producers ETF, for example, holds shares of roughly 200 companies that operate in the metals and mining sector. Among its top-ten holding as of October of 2019 where iron ore miners BHP Group, Rio Tinto, Vale, and AngloAmerican and steel producers POSCO and Nucor. As such, investors in this ETF gain broad diversification across the entire mining industry, including a large focus on iron and steel.

Iron ranks right up there with crude oil as being among the most crucial commodities to the global economy. That importance could grow in the coming years, given that steel is an essential component for renewable energy, especially wind power. That upside to economic growth, as well as the renewables sector, is why investors should dig into this industry to see whether adding an iron-focused stock might make sense in building their portfolio.

aluminum processing | history, mining, refining, & facts | britannica

Aluminum, or aluminium (Al), is a silvery white metal with a melting point of 660 C (1,220 F) and a density of 2.7 grams per cubic cm. The most abundant metallic element, it constitutes 8.1 percent of Earths crust. In nature it occurs chemically combined with oxygen and other elements. In the pure state it is soft and ductile, but it can be alloyed with many other elements to increase strength and provide a number of useful properties. Alloys of aluminum are light, strong, and formable by almost all known metalworking processes. They can be cast, joined by many techniques, and machined easily, and they accept a wide variety of finishes.

In addition to its low density, many of the applications of aluminum and its alloys are based on its high electrical and thermal conductivity, high reflectivity, and resistance to corrosion. It owes its corrosion resistance to a continuous film of aluminum oxide that grows rapidly on a nascent aluminum surface exposed to air.

Before 5000 bce people in Mesopotamia were making fine pottery from a clay that consisted largely of an aluminum compound, and almost 4,000 years ago Egyptians and Babylonians used aluminum compounds in various chemicals and medicines. Pliny refers to alumen, known now as alum, a compound of aluminum widely employed in the ancient and medieval world to fix dyes in textiles. By the 18th century, the earthy base alumina was recognized as the potential source of a metal.

The English chemist Humphry Davy in 1807 attempted to extract the metal. Though unsuccessful, he satisfied himself that alumina had a metallic base, which he named alumium and later changed to aluminum. The name has been retained in the United States but modified to aluminium in many other countries.

A few years later Friedrich Whler, a German chemist at the University of Gttingen, made metallic aluminum in particles as large as pinheads and first determined the following properties of aluminum: specific gravity, ductility, colour, and stability in air.

Aluminum remained a laboratory curiosity until a French scientist, Henri Sainte-Claire Deville, announced a major improvement in Whlers method, which permitted Whlers pinheads to coalesce into lumps the size of marbles. Devilles process became the foundation of the aluminum industry. Bars of aluminum, made at Javel Chemical Works and exhibited in 1855 at the Paris Exposition Universelle, introduced the new metal to the public.

Although enough was then known about the properties of aluminum to indicate a promising future, the cost of the chemical process for producing the metal was too high to permit widespread use. But important improvements presently brought breakthroughs on two fronts: first, the Deville process was improved; and, second, the development of the dynamo made available a large power source for electrolysis, which proved highly successful in separating the metal from its compounds.

The modern electrolytic method of producing aluminum was discovered almost simultaneously, and completely independently, by Charles Martin Hall of the United States and Paul-Louis-Toussaint Hroult of France in 1886. (By an odd coincidence, both men were born in 1863 and both died in 1914.) The essentials of the Hall-Hroult processes were identical and remain the basis for todays aluminum industry. Purified alumina is dissolved in molten cryolite and electrolyzed with direct current. Under the influence of the current, the oxygen of the alumina is deposited on the carbon anode and is released as carbon dioxide, while free molten aluminumwhich is heavier than the electrolyteis deposited on the carbon lining at the bottom of the cell.

Hall immediately recognized the value of his discovery. He applied July 9, 1886, for a U.S. patent and worked energetically at developing the process. Hroult, on the other hand, although he applied several months earlier for patents, apparently failed to grasp the significance of the process. He continued work on a second successful process that produced an aluminum-copper alloy. Conveniently, in 1888, an Austrian chemist, Karl Joseph Bayer, discovered an improved method for making pure alumina from low-silica bauxite ores.

Hall and a group of businessmen established the Pittsburgh Reduction Company in 1888 in Pittsburgh. The first ingot was poured in November that year. Demand for aluminum grew, and a larger reduction plant was built at New Kensington, Pennsylvania, using steam-generated electricity to produce one ton of aluminum per day by 1894. The need for cheap, plentiful hydroelectric power led the young company to Niagara Falls, where in 1895 it became the first customer for the new Niagara Falls power development.

In a short time, the demand for aluminum exceeded Halls most optimistic expectations. In 1907 the company changed its name to Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa). Until World War II it remained the sole U.S. producer of primary aluminum, but within a half-century there were 15 primary producers in the United States.

Neuhausen, Switzerland, is the nursery of the European aluminum industry. There, to take advantage of waterpower available from the falls of the Rhine, Hroult built his first aluminum-bronze production facility, which later became the Aluminium-Industrie-Aktien-Gesellschaft. The British Aluminium Company Limited, organized in 1894, soon recognized the wealth of cheap electric power available in Norway and became instrumental in building aluminum works at Stongfjorden in 1907 and later at Vigeland. In France the Socit lectromtallurgique Franaise, also based on Hroults patent, was started near Grenoble about 1888. An aluminum smelter was started up in Lend, Austria, in 1899. Little aluminum was produced in Germany before 1914, but World War I brought an urgent demand, and several smelters went into production employing electricity generated by steam power. Later the U.S.S.R. began producing substantial amounts of aluminum in the Ural industrial complex, and by 1990 primary metal was produced in 41 nations throughout the world. The largest aluminum smelter in the world (capacity one million metric tons per year) is located in the Siberian city of Bratsk.

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the 7 biggest iron stocks | the motley fool

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Iron is crucial in supporting the growth of the global economy. That's because the metal is a critical ingredient in making steel, which we use to build everything from commercial buildings to bridges to pipelines. It's also a key component of many products, such as automobiles, appliances, and wind turbines.

Given steel's important role in building the critical infrastructure of the global economy, the iron market is the largest one in the mining sector by volume. It's also the third-largest commodities market overall by dollar value behind oil and gold.

While iron is the most used metal in the world, only a handful of companies focus on this key industrial metal due to the high costs of producing it economically. In fact, just four companies -- Vale (NYSE:VALE), Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO), BHP Group (NYSE:BHP), and Fortescue Metals Group (OTC: FSUMF) -- control 70% of the global iron ore export market.

While several other companies vie for that remaining share, many are either privately owned or government-controlled. Many others, meanwhile, have market capitalizations (the sum of the company's total available shares multiplied by its stock price) of less than $200 million. Those factors trim the list of noteworthy iron stocks down to seven:

BHP Group is the largest mining company in the world by market capitalization. In addition to being one of the biggest iron ore miners, it also produces copper, nickel, zinc, oil, and natural gas. In BHP's fiscal 2019, iron ore contributed 48% of the group's underlying EBITDA. Copper, meanwhile, accounted for 19% of its earnings while coal followed at 17%, and oil and gas provided 16% of its profits.

BHP Group has iron ore assets in two regions: Australia and Brazil. Its key iron ore operation is Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO), which is an integrated system of four processing hubs and five mines focused on the Pilbara region of northern Western Australia. More than 600 miles of railroads connect these mines and hubs to port infrastructure, which exports iron to global markets. In fiscal 2019, WAIO -- which is made up of four joint ventures 85%-owned by BHP -- produced 238 metric tons of iron ore attributable to BHP Group.

The company's Brazilian iron ore business consists of the Samarco mine, which it co-owns with Vale. The companies, however, suspended operations from that mine in 2015 following a tragic dam failure, which killed 19 people. The partners spent several billion dollars cleaning up the disaster and received approval to resume production at the mine in October of 2019. They expect it to start producing again toward the end of 2020, aiming to bring it back online slowly. The initial plan is for output to be at about one-third of the mine's previous capacity of nearly 25 million tons per year, with a target to get production up to 14-16 million tons within six years of restarting the mine.

In addition to bringing Samarco back online, another of the big drivers of BHP's iron ore business in the future is its more than $3 billion investment in South Flank. This mine will replace the output of Yandi, which is nearing the end of its useful life. South Flank should come online in 2021 and produce about 80 MT per year, offsetting Yandi's current output.

The company makes most of its money on iron ore. In 2018, that product group supplied 59% of its underlying EBITDA. Aluminum was next at 16%, followed by copper & diamonds at 14% and energy & minerals at 11%.

Like BHP, Rio Tinto is a major iron producer in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, where it operates the world's largest integrated portfolio of iron ore assets, which also boast industry-leading margins. Overall, it has 16 mines, four port facilities, and more than 1,000 miles of rail. This business produced 281.8 million tonnes of iron ore for Rio Tinto in 2018, up about 4% year over year.

Rio Tinto approved three new iron ore projects in 2018 designed to sustain its existing operations. The largest is a $2.6 billion investment in the Koodaideri mine that should start-up in 2021 and produce 43 million tonnes of ore per year. The company also approved a $44 million investment for a pre-feasibility study into Koodaideri Phase 2, which could expand this mine's capacity up to 70 million tonnes per year. Finally, the company and two joint venture partners will invest $1.55 billion to sustain the production capacity at the Robe Valley and West Angelas mines in a project that should also start-up in 2021.

Brazil's Vale is the world leader in producing iron ore as well as nickel. The company also mines manganese, ferroalloys, coal, and copper. In addition to mining, the company operates a large-scale logistics business, which includes railroads, ports, terminals, and a shipping fleet, an electricity-generating business, and has joint-ventures that make steel.

In 2018, Vale's ferrous minerals group, which includes its iron ore, manganese, and ferroalloys operations, generated 89% of its adjusted EBITDA (nearly all of which came from iron-ore related activities). The company's base metals group, which includes nickel and copper, produced 15% of its earnings. Coal also contributed to its earnings while all its other businesses recorded losses.

Brazil is the center of Vale's iron ore mining business. The company operates 22 mines in the country, with the bulk located in the Carajas region in Northern Brazil, which contains some of the highest quality iron ore in the world. On average, rocks found in Carajas contain 67% iron ore, which is the most concentrated level on earth.

The company's mines produced 307.4 million metric tons of iron ore in 2018. That's a 6.5% increase from 2017's level. The company also produced 56 million metric tons of iron ore pellets at its plants in Brazil, Oman, and China.

Vale has invested a lot of money over the years to become the leading iron ore producer. One of its largest investments was in building the S11D mine in Brazil, with spending totaling $14.3 billion to bring it online. That mine, which produced 55 million tons in 2018, should reach its current capacity of 90 million tons by 2020. The company, however, is investing another $770 million into that mine to boost its annual production capacity to 100 million tons per year by 2022. That's one of several projects the company has under way to improve its iron ore operations by not only increasing output but also reducing costs and improving product quality. These investments should ensure that Vale remains the global iron ore leader in the coming years.

AngloAmerican is a diversified mining company headquartered in the UK. It produces diamonds, copper, platinum group metals, coal, iron ore, nickel, and manganese from mines in Africa, North and South America, and Australia.

Coal was the company's biggest money-maker in 2018 at 35% of its underlying EBITDA. Copper came in second at 20%, followed by its investment in the De Beers diamond business at 14%. Its iron ore operations, meanwhile, contributed 13% of its underlying profitability.

AngloAmerican's iron ore operations consist of two assets. It holds a 69.7% interest in Kumba Iron Ore in South Africa and has developed the integrated Minas-Rio mining operation in Brazil. Those assets produced 46.5 million tons of iron ore in 2018. That was down nearly 25% from 2017's total due to third-party rail constraints at Kumba and a long suspension of Minas-Rio due to two iron ore pipeline leaks.

AngloAmerican doesn't currently have any plans to invest in growing its iron ore business. While it aims to invest $1.5 billion to $2 billion per year in the 2020 to 2021 timeframe on mining growth projects, that will mainly go toward expanding its copper, diamonds, and metallurgical coal operations. That's because those projects offer the highest margins and returns, as well as fast paybacks. Given this focus elsewhere, AngloAmerican will likely remain a second-tier player in the iron ore market in the future.

Fortescue Mining Group, FMG, is one of the four main global leaders in the iron ore industry along with Vale, Rio Tinto, and BHP Group. Like those latter two, it focuses on operating world-class infrastructure and mining assets in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The company mined 206.7 million tons of iron ore in its fiscal 2019, up 12% year over year. FMG's production should continue rising in the coming years, given the amount of money it's investing in new iron ore projects. The $1.275 billion Eliwana project, for example, will enable it to boost production by 30 million tons per year when it comes online at the end of 2020. The Iron Bridge Magnetite project, meanwhile, is a $2.6 billion investment by the company and its joint venture partners. It will supply 22 million tons of ore per year when it starts up in mid-2022.

FMG is working to ensure it remains a major force in the iron ore market by continuing to explore for new resources. It's the largest landholder in the Pilbara, where it continues to look for new resources. It's also searching for iron ore deposits in places like Ecuador, Argentina, and Colombia. That combination of visible growth and exploration upside potential should enable FMG to remain a leader in the iron ore sector in the decades to come.

ArcelorMittal is the world's leading integrated mining and steel company. It's one of the largest global steel producers, including being the biggest one in North and South America, Africa, and the European Union. The company also operates a world-class mining business with a global portfolio of 13 mines. It produces both iron ore and coking coal, which are the two main ingredients for making steel.

The company engages in iron ore activities in Brazil, Bosnia, Canada, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Mexico, Ukraine, and the U.S. These operations produced 58.5 million tons of iron in 2018, which supplied about 49% of the company's total need. Arcelor Mittal's mining business contributed about 12.5% of its EBITDA in 2018, with its steel operations accounting for the rest of its earnings.

In many ways, ArcelorMittal uses its iron business as an offset to its steelmaking operations. It ships about 35% of the iron ore its mines produce directly to its steel mills on a cost-plus basis, which adds a markup to the direct mining costs to arrive at a price for the material. It sells the rest of its ore at the going market price to external customers as well as internally. As such, it sources some of its ore at potentially below market prices while the rest at the prevailing market price, enabling it to offset a large portion of its iron input costs.

Given that ArcelorMittal's iron ore operations primarily support its steelmaking business, its focus isn't on becoming a leader in that industry. Instead, it's pouring the bulk of its growth-focused capital into expanding its steel business. Because of that focus, it's not growing its iron ore production, which means it will likely remain in the sector's second tier.

Cleveland-Cliffs is North America's largest iron ore producer. It operates three mines in the Great Lakes region and is also a minority partner in another mine in that area. Those locations combined to produce 20.3 million tons of ore for the company in 2018.

Cleveland-Cliffs is a niche player in the iron ore industry. It primarily supplies ore and other iron-based materials to steel mills in the U.S. Further, it focuses on producing high-grade, custom-made pellets that its steelmaking customers can feed directly into a blast furnace. These products sell for a premium price compared to the ore sold by rivals. While this focus enables it to earn a higher profit margin on the iron it produces, it's highly susceptible to changes in the North American steel sector. As such, if industry conditions weaken due to an economic slowdown in the U.S. or increased competition from global steel producers, it can negatively impact Cleveland-Cliffs operations.

The company, however, remains focused on meeting the needs of its core market. It took another step toward supplying customers with high-grade iron materials in 2017 when it announced the construction of an HBI (hot briquetted iron) plant in Ohio. That material is a specialized, high-quality iron alternative to scrap metal, which enables steel manufacturers to produce more valuable grades of steel. The company expects to finish the $830 million plant in 2020. It should produce 1.9 million metric tons per year, which should replace the 3 million metric tons of ore that the Great Lakes region's steel producers need to import each year to support their operations.

Because Cleveland-Cliffs focuses on supplying iron to the North American steel market, it has limited its upside to that one region. That can prove problematic. In 2019, for example, steel demand in the U.S. was on track to fell by about 1% compared to 1.3% growth in global steel consumption. That puts the company at a disadvantage to its global rivals, which could have more growth potential as they supply the more rapidly expanding Asian economies with iron ore. As a result, Cleveland-Cliffs will likely remain a second-tier iron producer.

Many regard iron ore as the second most important commodity to the global economy behind oil. However, it's an expensive metal to mine, which is why only a handful of companies focus on it, with the market dominated by four main players. Because of that, investors who are interested in this market should focus their attention on those leaders. They're best positioned to profit from the metal's importance in helping support economic growth, which means that iron could provide the biggest boost to their stock prices.

recycling & the future of mining | the business of mining

For thousands of years the mining industry has supplied the world with the raw materials the growing population needed for ever increasing consumption. However, mining is not the only supplier of these raw materials. Next to the primary mining industry a secondary mining industry is growing: urban mining. The existing stock of materials in the urban environment is recycled more and more. 38% of iron input in the steel making process comes from scrap. The average new copper cable contains some 30% recycled material. The more we recycle, the less we need to mine. As mining costs increase because easy mineral deposits are becoming scarcer and as technological improvements make recycling more competitive, the impact of urban mining on the traditional mining sector grows. How does this change the perspectives of the mining industry in the long term? And which factors will play an important role in shaping this future?

Most people see metal recycling as something additional to mining. Some view recycling more as a competing source of raw materials. However, the right way to look at the combination of mining and recycling is that mining fills the gap between demand and recycled supply. Recycled metal is fundamentally cheaper and more sustainable than mined metal. In an ideal, stable world, all used metal will be recycled at low cost, leaving no need to mine any new metal. In 2006 the International Council on Mining & Metals published a declaration endorsed by its members, including all major mining companies and the associations of producers of all major metals, stating as a fact: Primary metal production fills the gap between the availability of secondary material and total demand.

Obviously this gap between demand and availability of secondary material is different for each material. Recycling coal is fundamentally impossible, making us fully dependent on mined coal. The same goes for many industrial minerals. Diamonds, gold, and other investment goods do not have a consumption cycle similar to iron, making the market dynamics of recycling of these resources totally different. The most direct impact of recycling on the mining industry can thus be seen for consumption metals.

Recycled supply of metals is more sustainable than mined supply. Recycling does not require the destruction of natural environments, however good miners manage to restore natural environments after mining. Probably more important in a time of growing concern about and need for action against climate change: recycling requires significantly less energy than mining. Re-melting and casting an existing metal is simply a lot easier than having to extract the metal from an ore. Even though separating joined and mixed materials poses a challenge for recycling, the total energy requirement for recycling a ton of iron is some 20% lower than for mining and processing it. For copper the energy saving is approx. 60% and for aluminium even 90%. Expressed in saved carbon emissions these numbers look even better.

Recycled supply is not only more sustainable, but it is also fundamentally cheaper than mined supply. That is, if the collection and recycling processes are managed well. With the lower energy demand and demand for other input materials processing with recycled inputs is cheaper than processing with mined inputs. If regulated well the collection and separation of waste streams serving as input to recycling is much cheaper than mining the same amount of material too.

If recycling is fundamentally more sustainable and cheaper than mining, than why do we still need to mine? If market capitalism works well the recycling industry would have totally replaced the mining industry by now, wouldnt it? Unfortunately the answer to that question is negative. Apart from the fact that the lack of capability of most societies to deal with the negative externalities of waste could be seen as classic market failure which makes that only a small part of the metal available for recycling makes it to the furnace again, the fact that demand is growing forces us to add to the stock of metals in the world by mining. As long as the global demand for metals grows, we need mining. In a world without growth and with perfect recycling the resources cycle would be closed: no new metal is needed, and no metal is disposed of: the environmentalists dream. But growth means that recycling alone is not enough to satisfy demand. Growth, either caused by population growth or by consumption growth, implies that we need more of the metals than what we used before. This gap is filled by mining.

Another reason we still need mining is that recycling is not perfect. Even if we would manage to collect all the metal that is out there to recycle it, the process to recover the metal is imperfect. Especially for complex materials like alloys and glued products it is simply impossible to perfectly separate and recover all basic ingredients. The term used for the deterioration of metal quality over time is dissipation. To illustrate this concept: Recycled steel is used mainly to create bars; the purity of recycled steel is typically too low to be able to create good sheet products. In summary, we lose a lot of the above the ground stock by never collecting it for recycling, and we lose some of it because our metallurgical and chemical recycling processes are imperfect.

The United Nation Environmental Programs International Resource Panel is working on an extensive study to get a grasp of the key numbers in this equation, analyzing current recycling rates, available stocks of metal, and resource intensity. Most of these parameters are amazingly unknown. We do know how much old scrap is used as input in production processes, but the estimates about how much metal is available in the world, either in use or in landfills, vary wildly. The organization uses a number of key terms to describe the fundamentals of recycling.

With need for mining defined as the gap between global demand and recycled supply, how much mining do we need at the end of the century? It is not too hard to describe the key drivers of the answer to that question, but it is much harder to forecast how those drivers will change over the rest of this century. The estimates of global demand for mined resources as presented in this article are derived from a basic model combining estimates of the key drivers described below. Only deterministic analysis using high level estimates by the UN, metal producer associations, and major mining companies has been performed. A valuable addition to this analysis would be a more probabilistic approach, which would demonstrate the wide range of uncertainty of these forecasts. However, the results below most likely fall somewhere in the middle of this range, providing a basis for discussion and helping to set a framework for design of the industry over the very long term.

The first set of determinants of the future of the mining industry is the drivers for global demand: the number of people (population) and the need for metals per person (resource intensity) are the key drivers of demand. The latest forecast of the United Nations for global population growth forecasts a growth to 9.3bln people in 2050 and 10.1bln in 2100. Most of this growth will take place in countries with a low current development level, playing into the second driver of resource intensity. The large iron ore miners dont get tired of stressing that the fundamental demand growth for their products in the next decades comes from increasing resource intensity in China and India. With other less developed countries following on the ladder of development the global resource intensity is expected to grow by over 1% per year up to 2040, with growth slowing to some 0.3% annually thereafter. Other drivers playing into global demand that are hard to predict are technological innovation and the shift of consumption patterns from one type of metal to another or to different types of materials.

UNEP IRP's Recycling DefinitionsThe second set of drivers impacts our global recycling performance. The key determinants of success in this area are the ability to collect metals for recycling at the end of their useful life (old scrap collection rate), the ability to collect the scrap created upon manufacturing of goods (new scrap collection rate), and the efficiency of the recycling process. Of these parameters the most important future improvements should be expected in the old scrap collection rate, which is currently below 50% for both copper and aluminium. The old scrap recycling rate and the process efficiency together form the End of Life Recycling Rate (EOL-RR), promoted by the ICMM as the most important metric for measuring recycling success. A recent United Nations study shows that End of Life Recycling Rates vary wildly per metal, but that aluminium, copper, and iron all score above 50%. A proof of the difficulty in estimating these numbers is the inconsistency in the UNs report with regard to Old Scrap Collection Rate and End of Life Recycling Rate for various metals. Old Scrap Collection Rate for aluminium and copper is presented to be lower than End of Life Recycling Rate; even though it is fundamentally impossible to have a higher End of Life Recycling Rate than Old Scrap Collection Rate (i.e. you cant recycle more than you collect).

The final factors to be aware of here are the extent and availability of above the ground stocks, both actively used or passively stored somewhere, and the time the metals are actually in use before begin disposed and being available for recycling (the recycling time lag). If a metal is typically in use for 30 years, the amount of material available for recycling now equals what was produced 30 years ago. Because demand has been growing rapidly, this recycled supply satisfied only a small part of demand.

As discussed before, any long term forecast of demand and supply is highly speculative, but putting together the data above for iron, copper, and aluminium in a time series model a likely pattern for recycling and the future of mining emerges. Many developments could change this view of long term demand, but if the business of mining and recycling continues without major wildcard events, the most likely scenario for the mining industry is depicted in the graphs below.

Global demand for almost all mined metal will increase rapidly for the next decades, despite all the improvements in scrap collection and recycling rates. The rapid growth of population and resource intensity will put pressure on miners to bring more capacity on line up to approximately 2040. But then the changing landscape becomes evident: population growth and resource intensity growth slow down and start to be outstripped by improved recycling performance. Although global demand for metals continues to increase, demand for mined supply actually starts to decrease slowly, with mining only accounting for 30-40% of total supply in 2080 versus 50-80% in the current situation. The initial rapid increase and the consecutive slowdown and decrease of mined supply lead to a situation in which demand for mined copper and aluminium in 2080 is only slightly higher than current demand. Demand for iron ore will even be back at the current level of demand.

For most people involved in the current mining boom the idea of zero growth over a period of 70 years might be a surprising thought. The future of mining is not only a story of mining lower and lower grade ores in more and more remote places with increasingly instable social and political environments. It is also a story of the mining industry moving from being the major supplier of raw materials to being a less important player on the global stage, plugging the supply shortage of the recycling industry. This fundamental change will force mining executives to rethink the business of mining, rethink the investment selection criteria, redesign organizational structures, rebuild marketing organizations, reassess acquisition strategies in a consolidating industry, and even reconsider vertical integration with recycling companies. Whichever way the industry will turn, it is going to be an interesting ride.

Very interesting that the metal worth examining as an example of recycling and future dynamics was not mentioned; lead. Over 65% of the current worlds lead supply is from secondary sources and a great model to look at how markets, both primary and secondary function including raw material prices, smelting, trading, environmental etc. The often quoted line technological improvements is really in scrap handling/sorting not the metallurgy, which is the same for both primary and secondary lead smelting.