Magnetite vs Hematite
Traditionally, the Australian iron ore industry has been based on the mining, production and export of high-grade hematite ores which currently account for approximately 96% of Australia’s iron ore production.
High-grade hematite is often referred to as “Direct Shipping Ore” or “DSO” because it is mined and beneficiated using a relatively simple crushing and screening process before being exported for use in steel mills.
Magnetite ore has lower iron content and must be upgraded to make it suitable for steelmaking.
Magnetite ore is suitable for processing into iron ore pellets for use in modern steel production and currently accounts for approximately 50% of global iron ore production. The magnetic properties of magnetite enable it to be readily refined into an iron ore concentrate.
While magnetite is generally a lower-grade deposit, it is globally accepted as a viable and high-quality feedstock for the production of premium quality, low impurity steel.
The processing route for magnetite requires crushing, screening, grinding, magnetic separation, filtering and drying. The final product is a high iron grade magnetite concentrate (+65% Fe), with typically very low impurities.
Further processing involves the agglomeration and thermal treatment of the concentrate to produce pellets, which can be used directly in a blast furnace or direct reduction steel-making plant.
The additional processing cost for the production of magnetite concentrate can be offset by the premium price which it attracts from steel mills because of the high iron content compared to benchmark DSO hematite products.
Please visit Magnetite Network to learn more about magnetite and magnetite projects in Western Australia.
*Karara Process Flow Sheet