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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005-1254

Mineral Commodity Profiles--Iron and Steel

Published 2005
Online only
Version 1.0

By Michael D. Fenton


Iron and steel, which are the basic metals of any industrial society, are vital to the United States for national security and economic well-being. No practical substitutes exist on a large scale for iron and steel because of the relatively high cost of’ alternative materials.

An iron and steel industry comprises steel mills, iron and steel foundries, and the suppliers of ferrous scrap and iron ore. Iron ore mines provide the major raw material from which iron and steel products are made. Iron and steel scrap raw materials are collected and distributed by brokers, collectors, and dealers in the ferrous scrap industry to steel mills and foundries. Steel mills can be divided into integrated mills, which produce pig iron from iron ore and refine the pig iron to steel, and nonintegrated mills, which use scrap as their primary raw material. Steel mills produce relatively simple steel shapes that adjoining finishing mills roll or hammer into finished products, such as bar, sheet, or structural shapes. Foundries pour molten cast iron or steel into molds to produce castings with the approximate shapes of the final products.


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Open-File Report 2005-1359 [2.2-MB PDF].

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For scientific questions or comments concerning this report, contact Michael D. Fenton.

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