Iron Ore Outlook: Facing a Slow Climb Out of the Pit

Iron Ore Outlook: Facing a Slow Climb Out of the Pit

Our review of 2008–2009 market developments concludes that an oversupply situation will continue for the remainder of this year and into the next, when prices could begin to stabilize in preparation for a possible upturn in 2011

By Magnus Ericsson and Anton Löf

Steel is a key input in the construction, mechanical engineering and transport vehicle industries—all sectors that are among the hardest hit in the current global economic recession. Consequently, the steel industry is currently facing the worst demand downturn since the oil crisis of 1974-1975 and the iron ore market has, of course, been affected. Iron ore is used almost exclusively to produce pig iron and direct reduced iron (DRI), the main raw materials, along with coke, that are used in production of crude steel.

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Xstrata’s New Pilot Plant is Designed for High-Capacity Processing

Xstrata’s New Pilot Plant is Designed for High-Capacity Processing

The new Xstrata Process Support (XPS) minerals crushing and blending pilot plant in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, converts a wide range of ores into samples for process testing. It is significantly larger, more productive, more easily cleaned, and more automated than prior manually operated laboratory scale facilities. The unit crushes and screens up to 150 kg/h (330 lb/h) of ore, compared with about 100 kg/d (220 lb/d) for the company’s former manually operated facility. “As far as we know, there is nothing else like it,” said XPS metallurgist and project manager David Middleditch.

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Ground Control Challenges at Depth

Ground Control Challenges at Depth

As miners pursue deeper ore bodies, engineers will need to find new approaches to effectively develop headings

By Steve Fiscor, Editor-in-Chief

Some of the deepest mines in North America are located in eastern Canada. Many of them have operated comfortably for years in what would be typically referred to as good geology. Today they are experiencing a paradigm shift in rock mechanics as they access deeper ore bodies.

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Mesh Technology Knits Tighter, More Flexible Mine Communication Networks

Mesh Technology Knits Tighter, More Flexible Mine Communication Networks

The latest mesh networking systems offer faster throughput, higher reliability, almost unlimited scalability—and the potential for saving millions in mine operational costs

By Russell A. Carter, Managing Editor

In certain respects, a modern surface mine has some of the same characteristics as a battlefield—people and machines are constantly on the move, the topography can be complex and changeable, and there is ever-present danger from explosions, unintended encounters with massive mobile machinery, and other hazards such as fires originating from high-voltage electrical or highly pressurized hydraulic systems, for example.

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