Natural Resources Research

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 317–327 | Cite as

Projection of Iron Ore Production

  • Steve MohrEmail author
  • Damien Giurco
  • Mohan Yellishetty
  • James Ward
  • Gavin Mudd


A comprehensive country-by-country projection of world iron ore production is presented along with alternative scenarios and a sensitivity analysis. The supply-driven modelling approach follows Mohr (Projection of world fossil fuel production with supply and demand interactions, PhD Thesis,, 2010) using an ultimately recoverable resource of 346 Gt of iron ore. Production is estimated to have a choppy plateau starting in 2017 until 2050 after which production rapidly declines. The undulating plateau is due to Chinese iron ore production peaking earlier followed by Australia and Brazil in turn. Alternative scenarios indicate that the model is sensitive to increases in Australian and Brazilian resources, and that African iron ore production can shift the peak date only if the African Ultimately Recoverable Resources (URR) is 5 times larger than the estimate used. Changes to the demand for iron ore driven by substitution or recycling are not modelled. The relatively near-term peak in iron ore supply is likely to create a global challenge to manufacturing and construction and ultimately the world economy.


Iron ore Projected production Resource depletion 



Part of this research was undertaken as part of the Minerals Futures Collaboration Cluster, a research initiative comprising the Australian CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation); The University of Queensland; The University of Technology, Sydney (UTS); Curtin University; CQUniversity; and The Australian National University. This research was also supported by the Wealth from Waste Cluster, a collaboration between UTS, The University of Queensland, Swinburne University of Technology, Monash University, Yale University and CSIRO. The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution of each partner and the CSIRO Flagship Collaboration Fund.

Supplementary material (40.4 mb)
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Copyright information

© International Association for Mathematical Geosciences 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steve Mohr
    • 1
    Email author
  • Damien Giurco
    • 1
  • Mohan Yellishetty
    • 2
  • James Ward
    • 3
  • Gavin Mudd
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute for Sustainable FuturesUniversity of Technology, SydneyUltimoAustralia
  2. 2.Division of Mining & Resources Engineering, Department of Civil EngineeringMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  3. 3.School of Natural & Built EnvironmentsUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Civil EngineeringMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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