Rio’s West Angelas Expansion Recommended for Environmental Approval

Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority has approved Rio Tinto’s proposed West Angelas iron ore expansion.

May 13th, 2019

Why Consider Investing in Iron Ore?

Wondering how to invest in iron ore? Here's a brief overview of the market, including supply...

May 8th, 2019

BHP, Vale Face Further Iron Ore Woes in Brazil

Vale and BHP's iron ore businesses have both had a tough week as each company faces...

May 7th, 2019

Havilah Gets US$100 Million Boost for Iron Ore, Copper...

Havilah Resources has entered a share subscription agreement with Simec Mining to receive up to US$100...

May 2nd, 2019

MinRes to Boost Koolyanobbing Iron Ore Output

Mineral Resources has developed plans to boost production and shipping rates at its Koolyanobbing iron ore...

April 30th, 2019

Koolan Island Comes Back to Life with Iron Ore...

After two years of redevelopment and refurbishment work, Mount Gibson Iron has resumed iron ore sales...

April 24th, 2019

Rio Tinto Reduces Yearly Iron Ore Guidance for 2019

Following the impact of Cyclone Veronica, Rio Tinto has made a downward revision to its iron...

April 16th, 2019
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Iron is one of the Earth’s most abundant elements, and, because of its strength and low cost, it has many applications. However, the metal’s top use by far is in the production of steel. Rocks and minerals from which iron can be economically extracted are called iron ores. These ores are usually rich in iron oxide and come in a range of colors. The iron in such ores is usually found in the form of magnetite or hematite, but can also be found in other forms. Obtaining iron from iron ore is a complex process, and companies that mine iron ore tend to sell the material they mine as it is. Prices for iron ore have suffered in recent years,...

Iron is one of the Earth’s most abundant elements, and, because of its strength and low cost, it has many applications. However, the metal’s top use by far is in the production of steel.

Rocks and minerals from which iron can be economically extracted are called iron ores. These ores are usually rich in iron oxide and come in a range of colors. The iron in such ores is usually found in the form of magnetite or hematite, but can also be found in other forms.

Obtaining iron from iron ore is a complex process, and companies that mine iron ore tend to sell the material they mine as it is. Prices for iron ore have suffered in recent years, but some investors remain optimistic about the base metal and wonder how they can enter the market to benefit from its advantages. Read on to learn more about the space and how to start investing in the metal.

Investing in iron ore: Supply and demand

Australia is the largest producer of iron ore by far, with Western Australia’s Pilbara region being a notable hotspot for the commodity. Its output came in at 900 million metric tons (MT) of usable iron ore in 2018, or 560 million MT of iron content, says the US Geological Survey’s most recent report on iron ore.

Other major producers in the iron ore mining industry include Brazil, China and India.

Unlike most commodities, the majority of iron ore trades under contracts in which major counterparties negotiate annual changes in prices. In recent years, oversupply paired with lower than expected demand from the Chinese steel industry has made things difficult for the industry and has put major downward pressure on the iron ore price.

In fact, activity in China has traditionally been the key driver of global iron prices, given that it is the world’s largest producer, user and exporter of steel. Along with concerns about a slowdown in Chinese growth, ongoing and seemingly escalating global trade disputes have weighed on the price of iron ore.

While the iron ore market has been weak for the past year, there is no doubt that there will always be demand for steel, as it is used heavily in infrastructure, transportation and manufacturing, and is necessary for economies worldwide to remain productive and function.

As the population grows, demand for steel will likely make a comeback and even out the current supply glut. Of course, this equilibrium will also rely on what the big miners do moving forward.

Investing in iron ore: Consider stocks

Investing in iron ore producing companies is the main way investors gain iron ore exposure. In recent years, smaller iron ore producers and iron ore exploration companies have struggled to stay afloat due to low prices for the commodity.

As a result, investors have gravitated toward the world’s largest iron ore mining companies, such as Vale (NYSE:VALE), Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,NYSE:RIO,LSE:RIO), BHP (ASX:BHP,LSE:BHP,NYSE:BHP) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG,OTCQX:FSUGY).

For those considering iron ore investment opportunities, these majors may be a good place to start.

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