With no let up in the acrimonious negotiations in iron ore benchmark price setting for the next year, China has now bought in new rules into play for the next year's iron ore price settings, while global mining giants maintain a rigid stance on not selling ore at discounted rates.
The China International Steel & Raw Materials Conference, which began last week in the coastal city of Qingdao, is regarded as the unofficial start of the benchmark price negotiations for next contract year between global mining giants and China's steelmakers.
This conference, which had the attendance of global miners like Vale of Brazil and Anglo Australian miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, was sponsored this year by the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), which had taken the lead in the failed negotiations for fixing 2009 iron ore benchmark price.
The conference took place under the backdrop of not only the unprecedented collapse of the 2009 iron-ore talks between global miners and Chinese steel mills, but events that followed soon after the collapse of the talks.
China arrested four Rio Tinto's Shanghai-based employees in July including Australian citizen Stern Hu, Rio's lead negotiator on iron ore talks on initial charges of espionage, bribery and stealing commercial secrets, but the Chinese later dropped the espionage charge. (See: China arrests four Rio Tinto employees)
It also came on the shadow after Rio Tinto dumped Chinalco's proposed $19.5-billion investment in June in favour of a $15.2-billion rights issue (See: Rio terminates Chinalco deal; to raise $15.2 billion through rights issue) and teamed up with rival BHP Billiton for a 50:50 joint venture to develop Western Australian iron ore mines. (See: Rio-BHP team up for mining venture)