Iron Ore Market Report 2017

Prices and demand for high-quality iron ore increases. Future over capacity could threaten lower quality and high cost iron ore operations.

Iron ore prices have held up surprisingly well in 2017. The strong U.S. dollar in early 2017 helped many miners operating in countries with weaker currencies to additional income. Producers in the high-quality end of the iron ore market further benefitted from large and growing premium paid for these products.

Economic growth strengthened somewhat in developed countries and in China in 2016. World crude steel production also increased in 2016 by 0.6%. The increase in production was an improvement compared to the decline of 3% in 2015. Noteworthy is the increase in crude steel production in India where production rose 7.4%.

Chinese crude steel production decreased in 2015 for the first time in decades, but in 2016, production increased by 0.6%. At 808 million metric tons (mt), China continues to be, by far, the largest producer. In 2016, roughly 50% of total world crude steel was produced in China almost exactly the same proportions as the year before.

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Moving More For Less

The industry is asking for conveyors with higher capacities, lower energy costs and safer, more reliable components, along with less environmental impact. Here’s how system suppliers are meeting those requests.

Conveyor systems offer mine operators a seemingly simple solution to a perpetual problem — getting bulk material from Point A to Point B in the quickest, lowest-cost and most reliable way possible. And at the most basic level, a sufficient number of frames, pulleys, idlers and motors, and a roll of conveyor belting can be arranged to transport just about any type of mined material almost anywhere. But, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details: Simplicity and engineering elegance are not necessarily one and the same, and the frequent need to assign critical production flow to a single conveyor system can elevate the risk of high downtime costs to a level that makes faulty design, component failures or unplanned maintenance unacceptable.

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Meeting the Narrow-vein Challenge

Design improvements provide safer, more productive machines

Equipment manufacturers are constantly looking at ways to improve mining equipment. With underground mining, methods differ based on geology and equipment that works well in one application will not necessarily transfer seamlessly to another mining plan. This holds true especially for narrow-vein mining, where miners need to use robust equipment in a more confined space.

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