Iron Mining

By Jaden Trowell

Where is Iron most abundant?

Iron is very abundant within the earth's crust.

How is it mined?

There are two processes Iron must go through...

Iron ore must go through a smelting process. Smelting involves the melting of ore by exposing it to continuous high levels of heat while mixing it with coke and limestone. The melting extracts iron from other molecules and components that would affect its solidity, and this process is often done at temperatures in excess of 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Separating Iron
After being smelted in the blast furnace, the ore becomes a chemical-laden soup, and the isolated iron must be separated from the impurities, such as phosphorous or sulfur. Thanks to the limestone, the impurities conveniently rise to the top of the cooked soup, and they are removed to uncover the purified iron at the bottom. This pure, isolated iron can be dried into cakes, which are shaped for use as steel or in other forms. Also, tungsten, manganese and nickel are all used to stiffen ore, making it even stronger.

Why is it in demand?

Iron is one the elements needed to create steel. Alot of our society is dependant upon steel to function.

Environmental Impact of Mining Iron..?

* It destroys forest and wetlands.
* It may mean that you have to cut down lots of trees just to get to the spot that has all the gold or iron ore.
* Many mine require tailings dams to prevent waste being washed into the rivers. Unethical miners can dispense with the dams, to save costs, resulting in massive pollution downstream. In other cases, the tailings dam can overflow, and even breach, during periods of heavy rain.
* Underground coal mining can require the removal of almost an entire layer of material deep under the surface. When the timber supports collapse, this can lead to subsidence. The subsidence can mean economic loss to people above or damage to natural areas. It can even cause cracks in river beds, leading to loss of river flow.
* Some mining involves the inadvertent dispersal of heavy metals, such as lead, into the atmosphere. This can have serious health effects, including mental retardation in children.

Will Iron Diminish soon or is it here to stay..?

Iron Ore supplies are currently in abundance which is actually inflating the steel industry.

How long has Iron been mined? Have the methods changed?

Land Reclamation?

Reclamation is part of the active mining process and takes place through sculpting the land according to predetermined plans and includes tree planting, seeding of tailings basins embankments, recirculation of water, additional wetlands development, recreational uses, and more.


Brattice: partition used in mining


Kettle bottom: