Ukraine has some of the world's largest iron ore deposits, and mining companies are currently developing 25 of the 60 explored deposits

Increased production and export of iron ore to foreign markets will provide significant support to Ukraine’s economy in wartime. This conclusion was reached by scientists during the international conference «Iron Ore Deposits of Ukraine: Current Problems and Development Prospects» held on March 21-22 at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, according to a UAprom article.

«The third year of Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s large-scale invasion demonstrates the importance of relying on its own resources. In economic terms, the iron ore industry can act as such a support,» the report says.

It is noted that Ukraine has one of the world’s largest iron ore deposits, and currently mining companies are developing 25 of the 60 explored deposits.

«These are very important deposits for Ukraine, as their own industry is tied to them. But it is also a serious industry that provides a significant share of our state’s exports,» said Serhiy Shnyukov, Head of the Department of Mineralogy, Geochemistry and Petrography at the Institute of Geology of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.

In her turn, Lidia Goroshkova, Professor of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, presenting the results of a study of the dynamics of iron ore production in the world and Ukraine in 2003-2023, as well as world and export prices for ore in Ukraine, noted that most countries with iron ore deposits are trying to reduce the effects of crises by increasing exports. According to her, Ukraine is no exception.

Accordingly, Horoshkova noted that, given the forecasts for the development of the global iron ore market and the needs of the Ukrainian economy for foreign exchange earnings, there is a need to increase iron ore production in Ukraine and increase its exports. It is noted that there are all the prerequisites for this, including a developed infrastructure and sufficient reserves in the fields of existing mining enterprises.

In this context, scientists also drew attention to the need to reassess the quality of ores mined in Ukraine in accordance with modern requirements and improve the quality of magnetite concentrates at mining and processing plants. This will help to solve one of the main challenges for the Ukrainian iron ore industry – the decline in domestic production compared to the growth in global iron ore production and prices, said Sergiy Shnyukov of the Institute of Geology of the Kyiv National University.

He noted that his research has provided data that allows him to propose considering the associated iron ore minerals of the Kryvyi Rih basin and Kremenchuk district within a single idealized system with a simplified scheme.

«They demonstrate the possibility of phase transitions during processing (formation of magnetite in wet magnetic separation concentrates) and wide variations in phase ratios in primary ores, which, in turn, confirms the presence of significant qualitative transformations of the substance at the enrichment stage – crushed ore is transformed into a new product – magnetite by its characteristics (organization of the substance, mineral and chemical composition, structural and textural features, aggregate-phase state, crystal-chemical structure, etc.,» noted Shnyukov.

The scientists concluded that martial law poses significant challenges for the mining industry, but with the right organization of the production process, government support and effective measures, the industry can ensure stability, safety and productivity even in such difficult times.

«The mining industry is undoubtedly important for the country’s economy and security, and its development should be a priority regardless of martial law,» the conference participants concluded.

As GMK Center reported earlier, in 2023, Ukraine reduced iron ore exports by 26% compared to 2022, to 17.75 million tons. Exports of raw materials decreased by 60% compared to pre-war 2021. Revenues of Ukrainian iron and steel companies from iron ore exports decreased by 39.4% y/y – to $1.77 billion.

The major iron ore producers in Ukraine include: Ingulets GOK, Kryvyi Rih Iron Ore Plant, Poltava Mining, Eristovo Mining, Northern GOK, Central GOK, Southern GOK, ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih, Sukha Balka GOK.