Iron and Manganese

Iron ore is the key component in steel, the most widely used of all metals. It is used in the construction of buildings and bridges, in vehicles and many household appliances. Iron ores are rocks and minerals from which metallic iron can be economically extracted. The ores are usually rich in iron oxides and vary in color from dark grey, bright yellow, deep purple, to rusty red. The iron itself is usually found in the form of magnetite, hematite, goethite,  limonite or siderite. Ores carrying very high quantities of hematite or magnetite (greater than ~60% iron) are known as “natural ore” or “direct shipping ore”, meaning they can be fed directly into iron-making blast furnaces. Most reserves of such ore have now been depleted. Iron ore is the raw material used to make pig iron, which is one of the main raw materials to make steel. 98% of the mined iron ore is used to make steel.Indeed, it has been argued that iron ore is “more integral to the global economy than any other commodity, except perhaps oil”.

Manganese is a chemical element, designated by the symbol Mn. It has the atomic number 25. It is not found as a free element in nature, it is often found in combination with iron, and in many minerals. Manganese is a metal with important industrial metal alloy uses, particularly in stainless steels.