Iron ore miners brace for a structural shift

The tumbling iron ore price may signal the start of the market's structural adjustment to a massive expansion of supply, with uncertain prospects for all but the lowest-cost producers.

The big question for smaller iron ore miners is whether the current slump in the price below $US100 a tonne is a re-run of September 2012 or something different and more structural.

In 2012 the iron price plummeted below $US90 a tonne as China’s growth rate slowed and sent the smaller miners, most notably Fortescue, scrambling desperately for stability.

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