Iron ore production in the US totaled 37 million mt in 2020, down 21.1 percent from the 46.9 million mt produced in 2019, according to a report from the US Geological Survey (USGS) National Minerals Information Center.
Shipments of iron ore in the US totaled 34 million mt, down 27.7 percent from the 47 million mt shipped in 2019. Iron ore exports in 2020 totaled 10 million mt, down 12.3 percent from the 11.4 million mt exported in 2019.
In 2020, iron ore mines in Michigan and Minnesota shipped 98 percent of the usable iron ore products, which were consumed in the steel industry in the United States with an estimated value of $4.1 billion, a decrease from $4.4 billion in 2019. The remaining 2 percent of domestic iron ore was produced for non-steel end uses.
Seven open pit iron ore mines (each with associated concentration and pelletizing plants), and three iron metallic plants—one direct-reduced iron (DRI) plant in Louisiana and two hot-briquetted iron (HBI) plants in Indiana and Texas—operated during the year to supply steelmaking raw materials. The United States was estimated to have produced 1.5 percent and consumed 1.1 percent of the world’s iron ore output.
The USGS report said significant decreases in production, shipments, and trade in 2020 were due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which lowered steel production and consumption globally.