Global iron-ore production to grow modestly over coming decade, says Fitch Solutions

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Global iron-ore production will grow modestly over the years amid mine expansions in Brazil and increasing output from India, says financial risk management, solutions and insights company Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research (Fitch Solutions).

It expects global iron-ore production to grow from three-billion tonnes this year to 3.7-billion tonnes by 2029. This is an average growth rate of 2 per cent during the decade, which is a significant slowdown from the 3.4 per cent growth rate of the previous decade.

In Australia, Fitch Solutions forecasts, iron-ore production is likely to grow at an average yearly rate of 0.7 per cent, compared with 9.2 per cent growth over the previous decade. This is owing to the mothballing of mines owned by junior miners, while the major players will stick to their production growth targets to crowd out high-cost producers, says the company.

In Brazil, iron-ore production growth will rebound in the coming years following 2019, owing to low operating costs and a solid project pipeline, says Fitch. The country is expected to benefit from producing high-quality iron-ore increasingly being favoured by Chinese steel producers. Fitch expects Brazil’s iron-ore production to increase from 416-million tonnes this year to 546-million tonnes by 2029.

China’s iron-ore production will edge lower over the coming years, as weak iron-ore prices and tightening environmental regulations force higher-cost operations off line, says Fitch Solutions. It notes that the country’s output is likely to decline from 840-million tonnes this year to 791-million tonnes by 2029. China’s iron-ore imports are also expected to slow over the coming years in line with slowing steel production.

Meanwhile, India’s iron-ore production growth will be supported by the removal of export taxes in the Union Budget for low-grade ores and the country’s Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act, which will streamline licensing and reopen closed mines, says Fitch Solutions. It forecasts the country’s iron-ore output to grow from 194-million tonnes this year to 216-million tonnes in 2029.

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