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Miners' billions at stake as China's peak steel nears

World Steel Association sees output reaching its zenith in three years, prompting plant closures

London

CHINESE President Xi Jinping obviously wasn't speaking for the world's iron-ore producers when he pronounced this month that the risks from his country's slowing growth "aren't that scary".

Mining giants have wagered US$120 billion on belief that steel production in China won't peak until as late as 2030.

As the price of the key steel-making raw material continues its descent, it increasingly looks like they got that wrong. It's a miscalculation that could have huge consequences for companies led by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Group.

"I've always taken the view that the miners had the best intelligence on this as large investment decisions are based on it," said Richard Knights, a mining analyst...

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