The current industrial landscape of the world is heavily dependent upon the use of iron. Steel, fabricated from iron, is the primary building block used in the construction of nearly everything. From office buildings to personal transportation, iron is integral to the success of any large-scale economy. Fortunately, iron is produced all around the world with a few countries more prolific than others. Here are the top ten countries that produce the most iron in the world, as of 2023.
Topping the list is China, which produces over 866 million metric tons of iron yearly. This figure has been on the rise since the early 2000s, thanks to a booming economy and growing population. The government of China has made large investments in iron mining, and is now the highest producer of the material. China’s iron ore industry accounts for nearly 78% of their national iron production.
Second on the list is Australia. This country is the largest exporter of iron ore and produces 727 million metric tons annually. This is largely in part to the abundance of iron ore deposits throughout the country. The iron mining industry in Australia is highly competitive, and it is estimated that nearly two-thirds of their iron is exported to other countries.
Brazil is third on our list, producing 531 million metric tons of iron annually. Most of Brazil’s iron production is processed locally, and then exported to other parts of the world. This large producer is seeing steady growth due to their increasing investments in infrastructure.
The fourth country on our list is India. This developing nation has seen massive growth and progress since it began exploring its iron resources in the early 2000s. It now produces 310 million metric tons of iron every year. The industry is gaining a great deal of attention in the country due to the government’s commitment to mining and processing iron.
The fifth largest producer of iron is Russia, who produces 144 million metric tons per year. Russia has long been associated with iron—the Ural Mountains were a key supplier of the material during the 19th century Iron Rush. The country has a widespread network of iron mines, with most of their industry focusing around the city of Kursk.
The sixth and seventh largest producers of iron are the United States and South Africa. The United States produces 96 million metric tons of iron each year from a wide variety of mines throughout the country. South Africa has the eighth highest production rate, producing 66 million metric tons each year.
The production figures for the eighth and ninth places are almost identical. Canada and Ukraine both produce just under 40 million metric tons of iron each year. Canada alone has over 50 iron ore deposits, with much of their production capacity being pushed towards their steel industry. Ukraine is an emerging iron producer, having increased its output by nearly 25% over the past decade.
The tenth and final spot on our list goes to Iran, which produces 22 million metric tons of iron each year. This Middle Eastern country has seen a large surge in its production in recent years, thanks to the country’s modernization of their iron mining industry.
This list showcases just how integral iron is to the global economy. These top ten countries are responsible for the majority of the world’s iron production, and as such, are the driving force behind the continued industrial development of the world. As technology progresses and economies evolve, the demand for iron will undoubtedly rise.