Iron, I know, is now mostly produced from low-grade ore (at least, so sayeth answers.com). What I want to know, mostly because I have a slightly disturbing desire to write a really disturbing bit of dystopian science fiction: How much is left, and what (theoretically) could happen when we run out? Is iron currently an easy-to-recycle material, and if not, is progress being made?
I do know from the prelim research I’ve done that most iron that’s mined is converted into steel: does this change the recyclability (which I’m certain is not a word) of the metal? I’m also guessing, but I don’t know, that the vast majority of iron is used in, say, heavy machinery and such, while most of the steel is used in buildings, structures, and cars - I imagine that this would add to the problem of recycling, as buildings aren’t really thrown out very often. Sample question of mine: what did they do with the metal rubble from the WTC wreckage? Was it just carted off and dumped with the rest of the stuff, or is there some way to melt it down into reusable form?