Albany, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/02/2014 -- Iron is one of the most abundant elements on the earth and the widely used metal across various applications. It is commonly found in oxide form in its ores. Some of the ores of iron are magnetite, hematite, goethite, limonite and siderite. Hematite and magnetite are the iron rich ores (greater than 60% iron) and are used for extracting iron commercially. Iron can be classified, based on the carbon content, into three types, viz., pig iron, wrought iron and cast iron. Pig iron is the most commonly produced type. It is further converted into other types by further purification though reduction and other processes. Wrought iron is now obsolete and has been substituted by steel.
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Globally, majority of the iron produced goes into steel production. Steel is an iron alloy with carbon (2% of the weight) and other hardening elements such as boron, chromium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, niobium, titanium and vanadium. Steel is harder, less ductile and has more tensile strength than pure iron. These properties have allowed the use of steel for structural purposes and applications where material strength is very important. Steel is a vital product used in almost all sectors in the modern industrial era.
The market is driven by increasing demand from the recovering construction activities, particularly in developed regions of North America and Europe. However, depleting iron ore mines and degrading ore quality is expected to hinder the market growth. Iron & steel market can be classified based on its end-user industries into five segments as building & construction, automotive, transportation, machine & equipment and others. Building & construction is estimated to be the largest as well as the fastest growing end-user market for iron & steel industry. Rapid growth in automotive and transport end-user market is expected to further aid the iron & steel market growth over the next six years.
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Iron is largely obtained from mining of its ores. A significant volume in the market is recovered from scrapping activities. Rising awareness about the harmful effects of excessive mining activities is increasing adoption of iron recovery from scrap. Rising prices of metal scrap is also helping this channel of iron supply. Major iron producing countries include China, Australia, Brazil, India, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, South Korea and Germany.
In terms of geography, Asia Pacific is estimated to be the leading market attributed to the fast growing industrial applications as well as rapidly growing mining activities. The region is witnessing major growth in China, India and other South East Asian countries. China is the largest consumer of steel worldwide and is anticipated to remain so in the near future. Other BRICS countries are also showing significant growth in consumption of iron & steel in various industries riding on the above average GDP growth.
Some of the key players in the iron and steel market include ArcelorMittal S.A., Bridon International Ltd., Insteel Industries Inc., Kobe Steel Ltd., Leggett & Platt Incorporated, N.V. Bekaert SA, POSCO, Steel Authority of India Ltd., Tata Steel Ltd., and Tree Island Industries Ltd., among others.
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