Iron oxides are chemical complexes which occur naturally, comprising iron and oxygen. Here, together, 16 types of iron oxides and oxyhydroxides have been identified. These two components of oxides are widely spread naturally. They are vital to humans and useful in most geological and biological activities. In addition, they are useful as pigments and catalyst in industries and hemoglobin in blood circulation. The interplay and conversion of these components from one form to another are essentially controlled by bacterial species. These contain 70 and 72% iron, respectively. Furthermore, iron ores are classified in terms of occurrence. Banded iron formation (BIF) comprises 15% iron, comprising minerals of iron that are bedded besides silica. Beneficiation processes of iron ore generate dust in the atmosphere, acid mine drainage in the ecosystem and metallic iron for steelmaking. Beneficiation process requires dissolution of minerals surrounding the ore and the release of metals and cement matrix into water courses. These generates acid leading to acid mine drainage. Therefore, there is a need for impact assessment of the environment in the planned beneficiation cycle. Sustainable beneficiation must be done to reduce impact on the natural, social or economic environment.
Part of the book: Iron Ores and Iron Oxide Materials