2021 is proving to be another surprising year for the iron ore industry. Higher than expected Chinese steel demand and ongoing tightness in the seaborne market has resulted in prices reaching an all time high. Australian operators have been some of the biggest winners from this year’s iron ore price rise with margins reaching a staggering 76%. Despite strong demand, Australian production is expected to remain relatively flat this year at 936 Mt. There are risks facing the Australian market at the moment. Rising trade tensions with China threatens to negatively impact the iron ore market with China looking to diversify its reliance on Australian ore. In addition, Aboriginal Heritage issues are thought to be delaying proposals for new pit development, new projects and expansions. Western Australia is in the process of reviewing its Aboriginal Heritage Act and we expect the new legislation to put a greater onus on operators to come to agreements with traditional land owners.