Iron Ore Processing in Mining Industry

Extracting Iron from Iron Ore in a Blast Furnace

The metal iron and its alloy steel is one of the most important substances used by man. Humans have been discovering the metal’s uses science 3500BC. Huge quantities are used in the construction industry to construct of all kinds of vehicles. The most common from of iron known is the oxide. The Iron is extracted from the ore that contains the most amount of iron.

The iron is extracted from its oxide ore called Hematite.

Many things are produced in the extracting or iron from iron ore in a blast furnace. The iron ore is reacted with carbon and oxygen in the furnace to produce carbon dioxide and iron metal. Carbon monoxide is also produced so that it can react with the iron ore to produce the iron. At the end, there is left the molten iron and the slag.

The top of the furnace is filled up with the iron ore, coke (made by heating coal) and limestone.

The coke, iron ore and limestone are dropped down as a blast of hot air from the furnace is sent up. This makes the coke burn. This gives the following chemical equation: C + O2 CO2.

While this chemical reaction is taking place, the limestone is being decomposed in a highly exothermic reaction. Exothermic is a chemical change that is accompanied by a liberation of heat. The chemical equation for this reaction is: CaCO3 CaO + CO2. The carbon dioxide produced from both reactions reacts with the unreacted coke to produce carbon monoxide.

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The chemical equation for this reaction is: C + CO2 2CO. After the carbon monoxide is produced, it reacts with the iron ore to produce iron and carbon dioxide.

This reaction has the following chemical equation: Fe2O3 + 3CO 2Fe + 3CO2. The molten iron settles to the bottom of the furnace where it is tapped off. The last reaction that happens in the furnace is the forming of slag. Calcium oxide and the impurities from the iron ore react to from this slag. The chemical equation for this reaction is the following: CaO+ SiO2 CaSiO3. The slag that is formed, settles at the bottom of the furnace, on top of the molten iron. This molten iron is also tapped off and may be used for road surfacing.

Iron is used for manufacturing of transport such as trains, ships, cars and aircraft. It is also known for an important part of steel making. Iron was used in World War I and II for the making of weapons, vehicles and warships. Iron is a common metal and is in many things around everyone today.

The everyday things that people use have iron in them, like phones, computers, television and many more electronic appliances. Iron is used in construction of houses, buildings and bridges because of its properties. It has a lot of strength, a high melting point, luster and can be resistant to rust and corrosion. Some iron is used as a combustion control additive in fuels and as a heat stabilizer in lubricants and plastics for radiation resistance.

It is not known with accuracy the time of appearance of the first methods to melt the iron ore so that iron could be extracted. But English engineer Henry Bessemer built the first modern blast furnace in 1855. He planted the “Bessemer Convertor” which was an early blast furnace. His invention made it a lot easier to extract iron from iron ore. For previously it had been a laborious process and required skilled workers.


  1.  “Henry Bessemer.” Infoplease. Ed. Highbeam Reasearch. Infoplease, 2005. Web. 22 May 2012. <>.
  2. Clark, Jim. “Iron and Steel.” Iron and Steel. 2005. Web. 22 May 2012. <>.
  3. Environment Engineering Solution. “Minerals, Mines, Metals and Equipments.” : Extraction of Iron Using Blast Furnace and Various Types of Steel:. Blogger, 2008. Web. 22 May 2012. <>.
  4. Museums in Redcar. “What is Iron used for?” date unknown. Web. 22 May

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Iron Ore Processing in Mining Industry. (2017, Feb 22). Retrieved from

Iron Ore Processing in Mining Industry
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