SINGAPORE Chinas steel demand will peak at about 1 billion tonnes in 2030, according to an executive at Rio Tinto Plc.
"Despite near-term volatility, the fundamental drivers of Chinese steel demand growth remain strong," Alan Smith, president of Rio Tinto Iron Ore Asia, said May 8 at the Singapore Iron Ore Forum, organized by the Singapore Exchange and e-commerce website Custeel.
The country will see demand grow at an average of 3 percent per year toward the end of this decade, he said.
The mining major shipped a record 147 million tonnes of iron ore to China in 2012, with a new record expected to be set again this year, Smith said. "After 2030, we expect growth from India increasingly taking a new role as a major importer (of iron ore)," he said.
Rio Tinto is optimistic about growth in India in the late 2020s, as well as in southeast Asia, Smith added.
Urbanization, industrialization and infrastructure development will all contribute to the rise in iron ore imports.
"There are good growth stories to be told. The steel story is by no means over," he said.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.