What is Hematite?

Hematite is an ore of iron. It is a dark red rock from which we get iron. It has a red or brown colour with an earthy lustre. It is a heavy and usually hard oxide mineral that constitutes the most important iron ore. It is derived from the Greek word "blood" in allusion to its red colour. 


It is the most important iron ore in the world. It is the most abundant minerals on Earth's surface and in the shallow crust. It is a rock type of mineral found in sedimentary rocks and igneous rocks. 


Hematite can also occur as a result of volcanic activity. It is paramagnetic in nature. The crystals of hematite which have a steel grey colour and metallic lustre are known as specular iron ore. The scaly ore which is thin is known as micaceous hematite. It has opaque transparency and uneven fractures. Hematite is harder than pure iron ore.

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In your daily life, you will find the use of iron in one way or another around yourself from small products to larger ones. It is one of the most important and widely used minerals on the Earth which has huge economic importance. Because of its hardness and strength, it is used for various purposes and by different iron and steel industries. Iron ore is extracted from the Earth and it is found in different kinds of iron ores and here, we will be talking about one of the important iron ores of the finest quality ie. Haematite. This topic will be beneficial for you while studying Geography, Earth Science or Chemistry etc. 


Hematite Ore

The elements are natural substances. Iron is also an element. It is a kind of metal. The most common chemical element on the Earth by mass and it is used widely. This metal is strong and hard and also used by manufacturing industries at larger because of its great strength and hardness whereas it also has magnetic properties. It has a great economic importance that we can not imagine the development of the economy without it. It is basically found in four major types i.e. Magnetite, Hematite, Limonite and Siderite. 


These types have different percentage of metallic iron in them. The first one has around 72% of iron and is black in colour which is considered as the best quality iron whereas the hematite ore contains 60 to 70% iron, red & brown and also considered as the finest quality. Hematite ore also contains a small amount of silica. It is in pure form and rapidly corrodes on exposure to moist air and high temperature.  


If we talk about the third and fourth ones i.e., Limonite and Siderite, they are considered as low-grade iron ore where the former is yellow in colour and contains 30 to 40% of iron whereas the latter has the most impurities with 48% iron and brown in colour.


Haematite Properties

The various properties of iron ore of hematite are mentioned below:

  • The chemical properties of this mineral say that it falls under the chemical classification of "Oxide Minerals" and its chemical composition is " Fe2O3 ".

  • The physical properties of this mineral describe it as metallic grey or red in colour, having a streak of bright red to dark red whereas lustre of metallic to splendent. Its diaphaneity describes it as opaque whereas it has a Mohd hardness of 6.5 and specific gravity of 5.26 whereas its density is 5.26 g / cm³ (Measured) and 5.255 g / cm³ (Calculated). Besides these, it is a brittle, irregular or uneven, trigonal mineral where its diagnostic properties say it is magnetic after heating.

  • The optical properties of this mineral are that it is a type of Anisotropic with the colour varying from brownish red to yellowish-red whereas its penetration twins at {0001} or {1010} at the composition plane. Besides these, its optic sign is Uniaxial, has very high relief and birefringence of δ = 0.280. 

Hematite Uses

Let's have a look at hematite uses:

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  • It is one of the finest iron ores in the world and one of the most important pigment minerals as well.

  • It is a dense and inexpensive material.

  • It is also used for ballasts for ships.

  • It is used as gemstones or in making jewellery as well.

  • It can be used for its calming and protective properties.

  • It is used as polishing compounds.

  • Hematite is also kept in the homes because it gives great energy and the ability to get the mind to focus.

Distribution

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This map shows the top countries that produce iron ore. Brazil and Australia were considered as the major producers but now China is leading the race and now is the world largest producer of iron ore followed by Brazil and Australia. Besides these, the majority of the iron ore can be found in the North American continent, United Kingdom, Russia, South Africa and India or Ukraine. The important regions of the distribution of iron ore in different continents are mentioned below:

  • In Europe, the major countries where the fine quality of iron is found are Sweden, France, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Germany. 

  • In North America, it is found in the USA and Canada which includes the regions of Lake Superior, Alabama State, Wright, Sept Isles regions, etc.

  • In South America, Brazil is the most famous and known producer. Besides this, it can be found in some regions of Venezuela and Chile such as the Orinoco Valley and La Sarena region respectively.

  • In Africa, the major areas are South Africa, Liberia, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. 

  • Australia as a country is one of the leading producers of iron ore in the world which includes regions like Pilbara, Tailoring peak, Mt. Goldsworthy, Mt. Tom Price, Kalanooka region,  Mt. Newman, and besides these it is also found in Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania.

  • In Asia, the major regions include Russia, China and India. Besides these, the Philippines is also one of the regions where iron ore is found.

Conclusion

To conclude, we can say that hematite is the most important and one of the finest quality of iron ore in the world. It is harder than pure iron. It occurs from volcanoes. As such, the colour of this ore is red.


It is the most abundant minerals on the Earth surface. Hematite has a wide variety of other uses. It is used to make jewellery, polishing, for heavy media separation, to produce pigments and put in homes for positive energy. Besides these, it also has healing powers. On this page, we have covered comprehensively this mineral such as what is haematite, its various properties, hematite uses, distribution in the world, etc. This article will help you in covering one of the major and widely used minerals in the world and will increase your knowledge as well. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What is Hematite? What is it Good for?

Answer Hematite is the ore of iron that we get from volcanic activity. It is a dark red rock. It is harder than iron and it is a heavy oxide mineral. It is widely found in rocks and soil. This is known as "Hematite". It is good for many reasons. As they have so many uses. It is used for producing pigments, polishing, making jewellery and it also keeps in the home for good and positive energy. It is said that hematite helps to absorb negative energy and calms the person in stress. It has healing powers. Hematite is also good for working and manufacturing purposes. It comes under the chemical classification of "Oxide minerals" and its chemical composition is "Fe2O3".

Q2. What are the Major Physical Properties of Haematite Ore and Where is it Found?

Answer. It has different kinds of properties such as physical, chemical and optical. The physical properties of this are that it is metallic grey or red, having the lustre of metallic to splendent and streak of bright red to dark red.  Its diaphaneity is opaque and it has a Mohd hardness of 6.5 and specific gravity of 5.26 whereas its density is 5.26 g/cm3 (Measured) and 5.255 g/cm3 (Calculated). Besides these, it is a brittle, irregular or uneven, trigonal mineral. It is found in majorly all the continents besides Antarctica. The major producers of this mineral are China, Brazil and Australia. Besides these the famous regions where it is found includes India, Ukraine, South Africa, America and United Kingdom as well as Russia.