South Africa replaces India as China's No 3 iron ore supplier
South Africa provided 40.6 million tonnes over the year, up 12 percent compared to 2011, while Indian imports declined 54.74 percent to 33 million tonnes.
Indian authorities have been cracking down on chaotic and illegal iron ore production, with the state of Goa -- one of the country's biggest suppliers -- imposing a blanket ban on all mining activities last October.
Supplies from India amounted to 10.6 percent of China's total imports in 2011, but were already disrupted by a mining ban in Karnataka, India's biggest iron ore producing state.
India's share of total imports into China has been in steady decline for several years, falling from 23 percent in 2006 to just 4.4 percent last year.
The biggest beneficiary of the Indian supply crunch has been Australia, China's top supplier by far. It delivered 351.5 million tonnes, or 47 percent of China's total imports over the year, up from 43 percent in 2011, and its dominance is likely to increase further in 2013.
"This year should be the year of Australia taking an increasing market share on the global iron ore market," said Graeme Train, commodities analyst with Macquarie in Shanghai.
"Brazil is not going to see any growth with Vale guiding for negative volumes -- the vast majority of growth on the seaborne market is coming from
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