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Johannesburg - The slump in the iron ore price has kept South African mining stocks on the back foot, according to a local analyst.

Shares in major mining and resources companies were down on Tuesday. The mining index lost 3.66 percent, with gold and platinum miners shedding 3.17 percent and 2.19 percent, respectively.

The resources 20 was down 3.12 percent.

“The iron ore price has been down sharply,” said Sasha Naryshkine of asset management firm, Vestact.

The iron ore price has been falling from the peak of $190 (R2 539) a ton in mid-2010. China’s iron ore price on Monday extended its recent losses, falling 3.7percent to $64.60 a ton.

According to Metal Bulletin, the spot price for benchmark 62 percent fines fell 4.6 percent to $63.20 a ton on Tuesday afternoon, its lowest level since October 27, last year.

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Naryshkine said the iron ore prices had surged on the back of increased demand from China. Iron ore is an ingredient in the steel making process.

China’s steel demand was expected to fall 1.9 percent this year, which would put pressure on iron ore prices, Li Xinchuang, president of the China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute, predicted last month.