UPDATE 1-Rio Tinto sees iron ore mines closing at slower pace in 2015
* Rio Tinto sees 85 million tonnes of iron ore exiting
* Bulk of loss will come from Chinese mines
* Iron ore plumbs record-low price due to oversupply (Adds comments, details)
By James Regan
PERTH, Australia, March 10 (Reuters) - Global miner Rio Tinto expects some 85 million tonnes of iron ore capacity to be taken out of the world market in 2015 because a price slump has made it too costly to produce, on top of an estimated 125 million tonnes last year.
Chinese mines - among the least efficient globally - will absorb most of the losses, according to Rio Tinto iron ore chief Andrew Harding. However, some of that will be offset by the likely start-up this year of the Roy Hill mine in Australia.
"We estimate that around 85 million tonnes of existing production will exit the market in 2015," Harding said on the sidelines of a conference in Perth on Tuesday. "This will come from China as well as seaborne suppliers."
The resistance of higher-cost Chinese miners to bowing out has been largely blamed by Rio Tinto and rivals BHP Billiton and Vale for the collapse in iron ore prices.
Analysts say the big miners have actively ramped up output to squeeze the smaller, higher-cost producers. Continuación...