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Zurück zur ÜbersichtBriefing Paper 33

Hard facts and envIRONmental impacts

An overview of the global iron and steel sector

Karin Küblböck / Bernhard Tröster / Michael Eigner

Wien, Juni 2022

Iron and steel are key materials for industrial production – the extraction of iron ore has almost tripled in the past 20 years. The sector is highly concentrated: Half of global iron ore extraction takes place in two countries (Australia and Brazil), two-thirds of the iron ore exports are controlled by four companies, and one country, namely China, accounts for more than half of global steel production. Globally, iron and steel represent the largest sector in terms of energy demands and CO2 emissions. This briefing paper gives an overview of those facts and trends: After describing the properties of iron ore, it delineates the geographical distribution of deposits and trade flows. It further explains pricing mechanisms and addresses environmental impacts.

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