Mining ores are present all across the globe, but the size differs from one location to another depending on the natural conditions. Minerals keep producing beneath the surface of the earth and have been replenishing to provide the humans with essentials. Of all the natural resources that are produced, iron is one mineral that the world needs in large amounts. Mines for the metal are located in several parts of the planet, and they have been contributing immensely to the total production. Brazil has five big iron ores, making the country the largest producer of iron. Australia and Africa also have massive iron ores that make for a critical part of the total output. Let us have a look at the biggest iron ore mines in the world.
1. Carajas, Brazil
Holding around 7.27 billion tonnes of reserves, Cajaras is a Vale-owned mine in the state of Para. The Serra Sul, Serra Leste, and Serra Norte iron ore deposits are the targeted spots in the Carajas District for the open-pit mining operation. Vale is implementing an expansion project that has been estimated for about $19.6 billion in the Carajas mining complex. The project that focusses on the development of a new mine is named Carajas Serra Sul S11D Iron project. This mine started its operation in 2016 and managed to reach its peak production rate in 2018. Carajas is expected to have a mining life of up to 2065.
2. Samarco Alegria, Brazil
Samarco Alegria is the second-biggest iron ore mine in the world. It is located in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil, and it contains around 2.98 billion tonnes of iron ore. Alegria North and Alegria South are the two active pits for the open-pit mining operation in Samarco Alegria. Both these have been operational since 2000, and they are a joint venture by Vale and BHP Billton. This mine is estimated to produce iron up to 2053.
3. Minas Itabiritos, Brazil
The third biggest iron ore comprises four mines in the state of Minas Gerais. Joao Pereira, Sapecado, Galinheiro, and Segredo are the mines that have been producing around 2.78 billion tonnes since its peak in 2012. Galinheiro and Sapecado have been functional since 1948, and the Joao Pereira and Segredo started operating in 2003. Minas Itabiritos is estimated to have a mine life up to 2047.
4. Vargem Grande, Brazil
This Vale-operated mine site contains 2.53 billion tonnes of iron ore. It is located in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Caitao do Mato, Tamandua, and Aboboras are the three open-pits in the Vargem Grande site. In 2012, the Vargem Grande produced a total iron ore of 22.6 million tonnes. This mine is expected to have a life up to 2058.
5. Zanaga, Republic of Congo
Zanaga is an open-pit iron ore mine that contains around 2.5 billion tonnes of ore. This project was developed in two stages with the first phase having developed 14 million tonnes of iron ore per year and the second phase with a capacity of 30 million tonnes per annum. Zanaga has an estimated mine life of 30 years.