Iron Ore: Energy, Labor, and Capital Changes with Technology

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Science  15 Dec 1978:
Vol. 202, Issue 4373, pp. 1151-1157
DOI: 10.1126/science.202.4373.1151


Resource gathering is depending on leaner crude ores. Iron ore mining typifies this trend. To make lean taconite iron ores useful required a technologic breakthrough—pelletization. The shift to iron ore pellets has the advantage that they require less energy and labor per ton of molten iron than high-grade naturally concentrated ores. Increased reliance on pellets causes a geographic shift of some jobs and environmental effects from blast furnaces to iron ore mines.