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Ore miner ends talks over price
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One of the 'big three' iron ore producers has cut China's national ore negotiating body out of the equation, electing to deal directly with steel-makers that want to buy its products.

The move will heap more pressure on the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), which had hoped to reach a deal in June.

Now, there is speculation that the overdue deal may not be reached at all this year.

The chief executive of Brazilian iron ore mining firm Vale, Roger Agnelli, said the company expected to keep offering provisional prices on ore shipments.

Vale agreed to grant Chinese steel mills a 28 percent discount on the 2008 benchmark price in provisional contracts until new term prices are settled, said Hu Kai, a steel analyst from Umetal.

CISA rejected the 28 percent cut when it was offered at the talks in May, when it is pushed for a larger cut. The 28 percent cut was, however, accepted by Japanese and South Korean steel mills.

"The protracted talks seem endless this year," said Xu Xiangchun, a director at Mysteel consultancy. "Since both miners and the CISA are sticking to their guns, the 2009 benchmark price might be suspended and agreement sought next year."

CISA managed to get a 35 percent price reduction from Australia's third iron ore miner, Fortescue Metal Group (FMG), on Aug 17. It called for the same deal from the 'big three' - Vale, BHP and Rio Tinto.

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