Iron ore hits five-year low

The price of iron ore has fallen to below $US65 a tonne for the first time since 2009, and analysts warn it will drop even lower.

Benchmark iron ore for immediate delivery to the port of Tianjin in China last traded at $US63.30 a tonne, the lowest price since May 2009.

This means the commodity has lost 10 per cent of its value since January 1 after suffering a 47 per cent decline in 2014.

Analysts warn the bottom of the market is yet to be seen, with most predicting the price of iron ore will fall to lows of $US60 a tonne.

At current prices, many iron ore mines are operating at a loss and the casually list is mounting.

Frances Creek mine in the Northern Territory is the latest victim, announcing it plans to shut down due to the collapse of iron ore.

Last week CITIC was forced to writedown the value of its Sino Iron project in the Pilbara by $1.8 billion due the falling prices.

The Chinese company said it expected its February financial results to include an after-tax asset impairment of between $US1.4 billion to $US1.8 billion.

Meanwhile a major shakeup at Arrium will see its Southern Iron mining operation mothballed.

It also announced it will be recording an asset impairment charge of $1.3 billion. 

Other miners are dealing with the fall in price by cutting jobs and capital expenditure, including Atlas Iron and BC Iron which have both slashed jobs.

Major iron ore producers BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto released their December 2014 half year reports last week, revealing record iron ore production and shipping records, and reaffirming goals to further expand output.

This is expected to put even more pressure on the price of iron ore as demand from China wanes.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.