Iron Ore

Iron Ore

Iron ore is the main raw material for making steel. In turn, steel is used to make many of the things we see all around us such as cars, domestic appliances, buildings and infrastructure.

Rio Tinto’s iron ore mines are in Western Australia and eastern Canada. In the Pilbara area of Australia, we have 16 mines, four port facilities, and 1,700 kilometres of railway. The ore mined is exported to countries including Japan, China, and South Korea. In 2016, Rio Tinto produced a total of 348 million tonnes of iron ore from its operations in Australia and Canada.

Japan imports approximately 130 million tonnes of iron ore each year, of which Rio Tinto is the largest supplier. It is processed into steel products that support our daily lives, such as steel plates for vehicles, pipes for pipelines, and construction materials. Japanese companies are business partners in a number of our operations.

Find out more about our Iron Ore business in Australia, as well as the Iron Ore Company of Canada 


Rio Tinto Marine, part of the Iron Ore group, was established in 1996 to provide ocean freight services to the Rio Tinto Group. As a critical supply chain partner, Rio Tinto Marine adds value for our business by providing global shipping services and contributing extensive maritime expertise.

Safety is our top priority for the Rio Tinto Group, and likewise for Rio Tinto Marine. Our most important mission is to safely and stably deliver our products to our customers.

Many of the vessels that we charter and operate were built in Japan.

Find out more about Rio Tinto Marine