Iron – Geography Notes

  • Makes up 5% of the earth’s crust.
  • Has been worked since pre-historic times.
  • Most widely distributed.
  • An important commodity in world trade
  • Scrap iron can be recycled to produce steel. This has decentralized iron industry. 


  • Does not occur as native metals but as compounds.
  • Magnetite Fe3O4: Iron content up to 70%. Exceptional magnetic properties and hence used in electrical industry. Arctic Sweden, Liberia, Magneto Gorsk. 
  • Hematite Fe2O3: Lower iron content than magnetite (50-60%). Red ores derived from sedimentary rocks. Lake Superior region in US, Labrador and Quebec in Canada. Venezuela, Minas Gerais in Brazil, Guiana Highlands.
  • Limonite 2Fe2O3.H2O: Brown ore occurring in thick beds in sedimentary rocks. Also occur in swarms known as bog Iron. Formed from weathering of iron bearing rocks. Iron content less than 50% with many impurities.
  • Siderite FeCo3: Ash grey in color. Found Interbedded with sedimentary rocks especially with carbonaceous rocks, in coal fields. It is also a residual ore like limonite. Most important deposits are of Jurassic age. Occurring in beds between limestone layers in England, France and in Luxemburg. 


  • Found in every continent.
  • China > Australia > Brazil > India > Russia > Ukraine > South Africa > US
  • China: Shen Yang in Manchuria, Wu Han, Tai-yeh, Shan Dong peninsula, Hand Zhong, Cha-char, and Chai Nan island regions. ISI established is almost all major cities. Shanghai, Guang Zu, Manchuria.
  • Australia: Mainly concentrated in West Pilbara region, Mounts Gold worthy etc. New South Wales and Tasmania have also some deposits.
  • Brazil: World’s largest deposit of high-grade ore. In Caracas region. Minas Girias in southern part of the Brazilian highlands. Some deposits in Chile and Venezuela region.
  • India: Major producing states are Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Rich Hematite in Singhbhum region with support industries in Damodar basin. 
  • Russia: Kursk region, earlier number one because of Ukraine. 
  • Ukraine: Karivoy Rag region in Ukraine was the largest region.
  • South Africa: Transvaal 
  • US: Lake Superior region and Mesabi range in North Minnesota
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