Hematite gets its name from the Greek word for blood, haima, because of its reddish color. Hematite ore has very high iron content, and although the iron content of hematite itself is lower than that of magnetite, the mineral sometimes occurs in higher-grade deposits, often referred to as direct-shipping ore (DSO). This means that, due to its high iron content, such hematite ores may be mined and extracted with a fairly simple crushing and screening process before it is exported.
As Australia’s Magnetite Network explains, “[d]irect shipping ores, when mined, typically have iron (Fe) content of between 56% Fe and 64% Fe … By comparison, magnetite ore typically has a much lower iron content when mined of between 25% and 40% Fe and in this form is unsuitable for steel making.”
Hematite ore is found in abundance throughout the world, but the most utilized deposits are in Brazil, Australia and Asia.
Hematite ore has been the primary type of ore mined in Australia since the early 1960s, according to Geoscience Australia. Approximately 96 percent of the continent’s iron ore exports are high-grade hematite, and the majority of its reserves are located in the Hamersley province of Western Australia. The mountainous Hamersley Range is at the center of hematite ore exploration and development because it sits on a banded iron formation.
Brazil is another one of the world’s main sources of hematite ore. Its Carajas mine is the largest iron ore mine in existence, and is operated by Brazilian mining company Vale (NYSE:VALE). Vale is the third-largest mining company in the world and the largest producer of iron ore pellets. Vale’s headquarters are in Rio de Janeiro and its primary iron ore assets are in the Iron Quadrangle region of Minas Gerais.
In Asia, a great deal of mining for hematite ore is done in China. Known reserves include the Tung-Yeh-Chen hematite ore deposit and the Dongye hematite ore deposit.
IMX Resources (ASX:IXR) said today that the initial round of hematite exploration at its Mt Woods Project in South Australia, located near its operating Cairn Hill iron ore mine, has supported the potential for the project to host direct shipping hematite ore.