Is it iron curtains for small producers?

The iron ore game is turning … and only the big boys can play.

Saved by the dollar. That’s the kindest comment that can be made about Australia’s iron ore industry, which is reverting to its traditional status as a business where only big, low-cost producers prosper – and the small are crushed.

The warning bells signalling the end of the iron ore boom have been ringing for more than a year (see Iron ore’s harder times), and will only grow louder as a once-in-a-lifetime global shortage of the steel-making material morphs into a glut.

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