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Abstract

An attempt to summarize the primary iron raw materials and steel market’s hundred years history as well as influence of economic indicators on the iron ore deposit qualification for extraction has been undertaken in the paper. Steel products are crucial to the world economy, and their production has a major impact on the environment. The main factor is the huge scale of the production and growth rate, unprecedented among minerals. Iron ore and concentrates production has increased more than thirty times over the past century, and the geological resource base at the current level of consumption has provided almost 250 years of sufficiency. There have been tremendous changes in the world geography of the ore and steel industry. The iron ore mining industry is the driver of other economic activities (land transport, freight, metallurgy) and involves huge capital and human resources. The consumption of iron raw materials is also considered as an important indicator of the countries development and current or even future economic situation. Population growth remains one of the key stimulating factors. The prices of ore and iron concentrates depend on the quality of the raw material, delivery conditions, market balance and the weight of the ordered cargo. They are usually the subject of negotiations. In the past, they were long-term contracts, while short-term (yearly, quarterly) and current spot transactions are now significant. The prices of ores and concentrates in relation to steel prices are showing a strong correlation. The average iron content of the reserves has been reduced in the largest producers in the 21st century, however it does not translate into the quality of mining output. Exploitation of the richer parts of the mineral deposit is usually carried out. The high content of iron in the output is a response to the technological requirements of the metallurgy where the blast furnace charge should contain at least 56% Fe and 5–8% FeO. The current surplus of geological-mining supply (large resource base) justifies that a mineral deposit choice, destined for excavation, is economic profit maximization as well as social and environmental considerations.
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