China Knowledge reports according to China's new steel industry blueprint for its 12th 5-year Plan estimates it could go as high as 1.13 billion tonnes over the next three years:
Last year, China consumed 920 million metric tons of iron ore. The country imported 618 million metric tons of iron ore from 40 countries last year, which accounted for 67% of the total consumption, up from 35% ten years ago.
In the first ten months, China's iron ore imports grew 10.9% year on year, and its domestic output of the mineral grew at a fast pace of 26.4%.
During October the price of iron ore fell by $60 from record highs above $180 on fears of slowdown in demand from China, the world second biggest economy and number one steel importer, but has since recovered to trade around the $140/tonne level.