Global iron ore production is expected to decline by 1.2% in 2020 to 2,230.8 million tonnes (Mt), says analytics company GlobalData.

According to the company, this is due to weather-related disruptions, auction adjournments and mine closures due to Covid-19. 

In Australia, the world’s largest producer of iron ore, production is forecast to increase by 0.9%, with growth limited by the impact of cyclone Damien, which caused extensive damage to Rio Tinto’s rail, road and mining infrastructure. However, the other major producers, BHP and Fortescue Metals Group, were not affected and none of the three main producers expect any reduction output due to Covid-19, GlobalData said.

In Brazil heavy rains in the Southeastern parts in early 2020 severely impacted production at Vale’s operations during the first quarter, and the spread of the coronovirus led to reduced shipments from the country. As a result, the company has reported;y reduced its guidance for 2020 by up to 30Mt. 

‘Brazil will still record a growth of 4.5% in its iron ore output for 2020 with the country recovering from the sharp fall in output due to the Brumadinho disaster in 2019,’ said Vinneth Bajaj, senior mining analyst at GlobalData. ‘The production dropped by 12% to 404.9Mt during this time. Meanwhile, delays in the auctioning of mines in the Indian state of Odisha, which were to be held in March 2019, are expected to damage India’s iron ore output in 2020, which is expected to fall to 205.7Mt – a 12.5% decline compared with 2019.’

GlobalData suggests that there will be a recovery of production between 2021 and 2024 at a CAGR of 3.5%, to reach 2,553.8Mt, with Australia, Brazil, Russia and India being the main contributors towards this growth. The combined production in these countries is expected to increase from a forecasted 1,721.0Mt in 2021 to 1,927.7Mt in 2024. 

This story uses material from Global Data, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.