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Iron Ore Production in Mexico

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 11:23

According to the Mexican Iron and Steel Industry Chamber (CANACERO), Mexico is a net exporter of iron ore. During 2011 the country exported 4.9 million tonnes of iron ore and imported only 1.5 million tonnes. Production of iron ore in Mexico also grew during 2012, reaching 14.9 million tonnes, an increase of 2.1 million tonnes over 2011, according to INEGI. ArcelorMittal, AHMSA, Ternium, and Peña Colorada (co-owned by Ternium and ArcelorMittal) are Mexico’s main iron ore producers. Last year ArcelorMittal produced 6.3 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate, and the company’s total iron ore reserves in Mexico currently amount to 300 million tonnes from its El Volcán, Las Truchas, and Peña Colorada mines.

AHMSA’s iron ore production came from its Hércules, La Perla, and Colima assets. In 2012 it reached a production of 3.39 million tonnes, of which 3.08 tonnes were iron ore concentrate and the rest lump ore. These are similar to the company’s 2011 figures. Of its total output the company sold 245,563 tonnes of fine iron ore, with different characteristics to those required by AHMSA for its own steel production processes, in the domestic and international market. Ternium’s iron ore production amounted to 4.3 million tonnes from its Las Encinas Subsidiary, which comprises the Aquila, Cerro Náhuatl, and Peña Colorada mines.

The total iron ore pellet production in Mexico was 14.95 million tonnes in 2012, an increase of 8.3% compared to 2011. The main iron pellet producer was AHMSA, with a production of 4.54 million tonnes, a 10% increase on the previous year. ArcelorMittal recorded the second largest production, reaching 4.53 million tonnes, a 14% increase on 2011. Peña Colorada (co-owned by ArcelorMittal and Ternium) was the third largest producer with 4 million tonnes, which was around the same amount that it had produced the previous year. Ternium came last, having produced 1.87 million tonnes.

During 2011 exploration activities for iron ore intensified. AHMSA increased its reserves to 686 million tonnes, while Peña Colorada’s reserves currently stand at 353 million tonnes. ArcelorMittal increased the reserves at its Las Truchas asset using indirect exploration techniques such as aeromagnetometry, allowing the company to increase its reserves total by 98 million tonnes.

According to the World Steel Association China, Japan and the US are the world’s three biggest steel producers respectively; Mexico is placed 13th, but is the fastest growing producer in Latin America. Mexico’s steel production has grown comparatively quickly, with an average annual growth rate of 2.6%, compared to a global average growth rate of 1.4%. Mexico’s steel production also grows faster than that of Brazil (2.2%), Argentina (1.6%), and the remainder of the Latin American countries, which between them have an average annual growth rate of 0.3%.