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810
IRON AND STEEL


-barren mineral matter, such as quartz, limestone and clay, collectively called “ the gangue.” In some cases the iron-bearing mineral, such as magnetite or haematite, can be separated from the gangue after crushing, either mechanically or magnetically so that the part thus enriched or “ concentrated ” alone need be smelted. .

50. Geological A ge.-The Archaean crystalline rocks abound in deposits of magnetite and red haematite, many of them very large and rich. These of course are the oldest of our ores, and from deposits of like age, especially those of the more readily decomposed ilicates, has come the iron which now exists in the side rites an red and brown haematite's of the later geological formations.

51. The World's Supply of Iron Ore.-The iron ores of the earth's crust will probably suffice to supply our needs for a very long period, perhaps indeed for many thousand years. It is true that an official statement, which is here reproduced, TABLE Il.-Professor Tornebahmls Estimate of the World's Ore Supply.

C i Workable Annual Annual Conountry

Deposits. Output. sumption.

tons. tons. tons.

United States . . 1,100,000,000 35,000,000 35,000,000 Great Britain . 1,000,000,000 14,000,000 20,000,000, Germany . . . 2,200,000,000 21,000,000 24,000,000 Spain .... 500,000,000 8,000,000 1,000,000

Russia and Finland 1,500,000,000 4,000,000 6,000,000 France .., . 1,500,000,000 6,000,000 8,000,000 Sweden . . . 1,000,000,000 4,000,000 1,000,000 Austria-Hungary . 1,200,000,000 3,000,000 4,000,000 Other countries 5,000,000 1,000,000

Total . 10, o0o, o0o, o0o 100,000,000 100,000,000 l,

Note to Table.-Though this estimate seems to be near the truth as regards the British ores, it does not credit the United States with 0ne-tenth, if indeed with one-twentieth, of their true quantity as estimated by that country's Geological Survey in 1907. given in 1005 by Professor Tornebohm to the Swedish parliament, credited the world with only 10,000, 000,000 tons of ore, and that, if the consumption of iron should continue to increase hereafter as it did between 1893 and 1906, this quantity would last only until 1946. How then can it be that there is a supply for thousands of years? The two assertions are not to be reconciled by pointing out that Professor Tornebohm underestimated, for instance crediting the United States with only 1-1 billion tons, whereas the United States Geological Survey's expert credits that country with from ten to twenty times this quantity; nor by pointing out that only certain parts of Europe and a relatively small part of North America have thus far been carefully explored for iron ore, and that the rest of these two continents and South America, Asia and Africa may reasonably be expected to yield very great stores of iron, and that pyrite, one of the richest and most abundant of ores, has. not been included. Important as these considerations are, they are much less important than the fact that a very large proportion of the rocks of the earth's crust contain more or less iron, and therefore are potential iron ores.

52. What Constitutes an Iran Ore.-Whether a ferruginous rock is or is not ore is purely a question of current demand and supply. That is ore from which there is reasonable hope that metal can be extracted with profit, if not to-day, then, within a reasonable length of time. Rock containing 2%% of gold is an extraordinarily rich gold ore; that with 25% of copper is a profitable one to-day; that containing 2§ % of iron is not so to-day, for the sole reason that its iron cannot be extracted with profit in competition with the existing richer ores. But it will become a profitable ore as soon as the richer ore shall have been exhausted. Very few of the ores which. are mined to-day contain less than 25% of iron, and some of them contain over 60%. As these richest ores are exhausted, poorer and, poorer ones will be used, and the cost of iron will increase progressively if measured either in units of the actual energy used in mining and smelting it, or in its power of purchasing animal and vegetable products, cotton, wool, corn, &c., the supply of which is renewable and indeed capable of very great increase, but probably not if measured in its power of purchasing the various mineral products, c.g. theother metals, coal, petroleum and the precious stones, of which the supply is limited. This is simply one instance of the inevitable progressive increase in cost of the irrecreatable mineral relatively to the re creatable animal and vegetable. When, in the course of centuries, the exhaustion of richer ores shall have forced us to mine, crush and concentrate mechanically or by magnetism the ores which contain only 2 or 3% of iron, then the cost of iron in the ore, measured in terms of the energy needed to mine and concentrate it, will be comparable with the actual cost of the copper in the ore of the copper-mines of to-day. But, intermediate in richness between these two extremes, the iron ores mined to-day and these 2 and 3% ores, there is an incalculably great quantity of ore capable of mechanical concentration, and another perhaps vaster store of ore which we do not yet know how to concentrate mechanically, so that the day when »a pound of iron in the ore will cost as much as a pound of copper in the ore costs to-day is imrneasurably distant. 53. Future Cost of Ore.-The cost of iron ore is likely to rise much less rapidly than that of coal, because the additions to our known supply are likely to be very much greater in the case of ore than in that of coal, for the reason that, while rich and great iron ore beds may exist anywhere, those of coal are confined chiefly to the Carboniferous formation, a fact which hasled to the systematic survey and measurement of this formation in most countries. In short, a very large part of the earth's coal supply is known and measured, but its iron ore supply is hardly to be guessed. On the other hand, the cost of iron ore is likely to rise much faster than that of the potential aluminium ores, clay andiits derivatives, because of the vast extent and richness of the deposits of this latter class. It is possible that, at some remote day, aluminium, or one of its alloys, may become the great structural material, and iron be used chiefly for those objects for which it is especially fitted, such as magnets, springs and cutting tools.

In passing, it may be noted that the cost of the ore itself forms a relatively small part of the cost even of the cruder forms of steel, hardly a quarter of the cost of such simple products as rails, and an insignificant part of the cost of many most important finished ob]ects, such as magnets, cutting tools, springs and wire, for which iron is almost indispensable. Thus, if the use of ores very much poorer than those we now treat, and the need of concentrating them mechanically, were to double the cost of a pound of iron in the concentrated ore ready for smelting, that would increase the cost of rails by only one crparter. Hence the addition to the cost of finished steel objects whic is due to our being forced to use progressively poorer and poorer ores is likely to be much less than the addition due to the progressive rise in the cost of coal and in the cost of labour, because of -the ever-rising scale of living. The effect of each of these additions will be lessened by the future improvements in processes of manufacture, and more particularly by the progressive replacement of that ephemeral source of energy, coal, by the secular sources, the winds, waves, tides, sunshine, the earth's heat and, greatest of all, its momentum.

54. Ore Supply of the Chief I ron-making Countries.-The United States mine nearly all of their iron ores, Austria-Hungary, Russia and France mine the greater part of theirs, but none of these countries exports much ore. Great Britain and Germany, besides mining a great deal of ore, still have to import much from Spain, Sweden and in the case of Germany from Luxemburg, although, because of the customs arrangement between these last two countries, this importation is not usually reported.” Belgium imports nearly all of its ore, while Sweden and Spain export most of the ore which they mine. '-55. Great Britain has many valuable ore beds, some rich in iron, many of them near to beds of coal and to the sea-coast, to canals or to navigable rivers. They extend from Northamptonshire to near Glasgow. About two-thirds of the ore mined is clayey siderite. In 1905 the Cleveland district in North Yorkshire supplied 41 % of the total British product of iron ores; Lincolnshire, 14-8?/0; Northamptonshire, I3-9%; Leicestershire, 4'7 752 Cumberland, 8-6%; North Lancashire, 2-7 %; Staffordshire, 6~1 %; and Scotland, 5-7 %. The annual production of British iron ore reached

18,031,957 tons in 1882, but in 1905 it had fallen to 14,590,703 tons,