S.Korea steel body joins iron ore price protests

[miningmx.com] — The Korea Iron & Steel Association said it has joined European and Chinese steel bodies to oppose recent raw material price increases, proposed quarterly pricing revisions, and a possible joint venture between two major iron ore miners.

“Raw material price rises will lead to steel product price increases, which will be an unavoidable cost burden for the automobile and shipbuilding industries,” South Korea’s steel industry body, whose members include POSCO, said in a statement on Monday.

The South Korean and Japanese governments on Tuesday would hold their 11th steel meeting in Tokyo to discuss industry issues, including recent iron ore and coking coal price rises, a Korean government source said, without elaborating.

Eurofer, whose members include ArcelorMittal, said last month that it would ask European Union antitrust regulators to look into whether the world’s No.1 iron ore supplier Vale was abusing its dominant market position.

Vale said earlier this month that it had moved most of its iron ore sales to quarterly contracts, matching a move by Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton and upping pressure on Rio Tinto to move off the benchmark as well.

The Chinese industry body urged licensed importers to boycott the big three iron ore miners in the next two months to fight back against their “monopoly behaviour”.

Separately, the European Commission has launched a probe into whether a planned $116 billion iron ore venture between BHP and Rio would curb competition.