Projection of Iron Ore Production

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Journal Article
Natural Resources Research, 2015, 24 (3), pp. 317 - 327
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© 2014, International Association for Mathematical Geosciences. A comprehensive country-by-country projection of world iron ore production is presented along with alternative scenarios and a sensitivity analysis. The supply-driven modelling approach follows Mohr (Projection of world fossil fuel production with supply and demand interactions, PhD Thesis,, 2010) using an ultimately recoverable resource of 346 Gt of iron ore. Production is estimated to have a choppy plateau starting in 2017 until 2050 after which production rapidly declines. The undulating plateau is due to Chinese iron ore production peaking earlier followed by Australia and Brazil in turn. Alternative scenarios indicate that the model is sensitive to increases in Australian and Brazilian resources, and that African iron ore production can shift the peak date only if the African Ultimately Recoverable Resources (URR) is 5 times larger than the estimate used. Changes to the demand for iron ore driven by substitution or recycling are not modelled. The relatively near-term peak in iron ore supply is likely to create a global challenge to manufacturing and construction and ultimately the world economy.
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