Price of iron ore dips to a new low

As major players in the iron ore sector gathered in Perth for a conference centred around the commodity, the price of iron ore hit a new six-year low.

Benchmark iron ore for immediate delivery in China was last trading at $US57.70 a tonne, down 1.4 per cent.

The price of iron ore hasn’t traded this low since the first half of 2009.

The price fall came as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton defended strategies to send more iron ore into a flooded market at the Global Iron Ore & Steel Forecast conference, while others at the conference blamed the pair for the plummeting price.

Head of Cliff Resources Lourenco Goncalves says Australia is at risk of going out of business because of the iron ore strategy being employed by the majors, describing the plan as one of “self-destruction”.

"Let's assume that iron ore prices that are now at $US57 go to $US30, it's possible, you're going to have Australia going out of business as a country,” Goncalves said.

But Rio’s iron ore boss Andrew Harding rubbished suggestions that it should curtail its iron ore output in an attempt to usher in a price increase describing the strategy as “economically nonsensical”.

“If we don’t supply it, somebody else will,” Harding said.

Speaking at the same conference, the president of the China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute Li Xinchuang said the price of iron ore would average around $US60-$US65 a tonne over the next few years.

Li said annual steel production in the country had peaked at 823 million tonnes last year and would fall to 567 million tonnes by 2030.

Locally, undiversified miners have been hammered by investors as the price decline continues.

Fortescue Metals Group, Atlas Iron, BC Iron, and Mount Gibson are all trading at near multi-year lows.

Meanwhile FMG is being reviewed by analyst group Morningstar in light of the depressed iron ore price.

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