Iron ore prices have dropped below $US100 per tonne for the first time since early November 2020, bringing promising Australian projects to unfeasible standstills.
After topping $US200 per tonne in mid-July 2021, the price for 62 per cent iron ore fell to $US92 per tonne during the third week of September.
The slump in demand from major steel manufacturer China has left major mining states such as Western Australia with a surplus of product and nowhere to ship it.
Shipping costs at some Chinese ports were tripled in recent weeks as port congestion left cargo stranded, while miners in Australia were told to wait out the turbulence.
GWR Group became the latest victim to suspend operations at its C4 iron ore mine in Wiluna, Western Australia.
After setting monthly haulage records of 139,422 tonnes at the relatively new operation, GWR put a 30-day stop on operations from September 19.
GWR chairman Gary Lyons said it was a temporary obstacle at a promising operation.
“Whilst it is disappointing that mining operations have temporarily ceased at the C4 iron ore mine, it is important to note GWR remains in a strong position to resume operation as the mine will be left in a production ready state in order to take advantage of a recovery in iron ore prices,” Lyons said.
“I am extremely proud of the achievements our team has delivered, setting both a production and haulage operations record of 139,422 tonnes of ore transported from site to the Port of Geraldton in August. It is evidence of the ability of our team to resume operations with improved iron ore markets.”
Earlier in September, UBS stated it expected the commodity’s prices wouldn’t climb above $US100 per tonne for some time, expecting an average of $US86 per tonne in 2022.