View of the Styrian iron ore mine “Erzberg” from above, with mountain panorama in the background
Photo: S. Strobl

The fourth-most occurring element of the Earth’s crust is the metal iron (Fe). Iron is a freely mineable mineral resource and is mainly used as a basic material for the production of steel. Steel in its simplest form is a mixture of iron and carbon.

The world’s largest siderite deposit is located in Austria. Siderite is an iron-carbonate mineral which has been explored at the Styrian iron ore mine “Erzberg” in the town of Erzberg for more than 1300 years. Historical investigations have shown that the iron ore was not only exploited in open-cast mining, as is presently done, but was also extracted in underground mining.

The current production data for Austria and the world can be found in the Austrian Montan-Handbuch and in the international statistics on raw materials, WORLD MINING DATA.