Iron Ore

  • Data is presented from the mine perspective; providing a like-for-like comparison of assets, using carefully defined supply chain system boundaries
  • Physical production parameters are presented, including ore mined, ore grades and strip ratios
  • Includes mines producing ore for the non-seaborne market, for comparison 
  • Users can input their own assumptions for freight distances, iron ore sales destination and vessel emission factors


Emission data is presented as total tonnes of CO2e and kilograms of CO2e per tonne of contained iron production.

For iron ore, E0 and E1 emissions are defined as follows: 

E0: Scope 1 and 2 emissions relating to the mine site.

E1: E0 plus emissions from iron ore freight to port of delivery.


The analysis provides comprehensive coverage of seaborne iron ore. This includes exports from Australia, Mauritania, South Africa, Other Africa, USA, Canada, Sweden, Brazil but excludes production from Russia and China.

All assets are normalised to port at country of import. For mines in Australia, all iron ore exports are to China. For other countries, export destinations are based on a split between Asia, Europe and the Americas based on government / company export statistics.

Emission intensities are on iron ore production basis. Intensities are calculated at each mine by dividing total Scope 1 & 2 emissions by total iron ore production including all product types (fines and lumps). Emissions from pellet plants are pro-rated to applicable % of mine production for partially integrated assets and included in Scope 1 & 2. Emission intensities can be presented on a wet, dry or contained metal basis. Downstream Distribution emissions for iron ore mining are generally reported as Scope 3 (Other Indirect) Greenhouse Gas Emissions. These typically include freighting of iron ore products via rail, barging, pipeline or ocean freight. Estimates for these emissions, where not owned by the iron ore company, have been estimated and included in the analysis. Estimates are based on tonnes shipper per kilometre - appropriate CO2 factors have been applied depending upon the transport method, size of vessel and regional variation. Many producers are making significant efforts to use renewable energy, including electrification of mining fleet and rolling stock and introduction of LNG-fueled ships.

Downstream Processing emissions for iron ore are generally reported as Scope 3 Greenhouse Gas Emission and are associated with energy consumption at the sinter plant / furnace. However, this can vary slightly as a function of a) ore specification and product type, b) whether sintering is required, c) the type of blast furnace (blast vs electic arc) and d) the type and quality of reductant (hard coking coal, semi soft coking coak, PCI and in some cases natural gas). These emissions are currently excluded from our analysis and under review for integration in the future. We note that both types of furnaces (blast / electic arc) can take a blend of products (fines, lumps, pellets) of varying specifications, which essentially means any given iron ore product can be marketed in a multitude of ways. Given there is very little vertical integration in the iron ore /steel market, most miners have no control over the blend of the unput feed into the furnace, including the quality of coking coal / reductant fuel, which could ultimately determine the downstream processing emission intensity.

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