China’s iron ore discoveries totalled five billion tons in 2009, according to China’s Ministry of Land and Resources.

In the Liaoning province more than three billion tons of iron was discovered, while more than one billion tons of minable ore was discovered in Hebei.

Shandong, Sichuan and Anhui also boasted notable iron ore finds.

In 2009, China’s iron ore imports totalled 628 million metric tons, a 41.6% increase compared to 443.45 million tons imported in 2008.

The rising figures highlight China’s push to produce greater volumes of domestic steel.

The China Iron and Steel Association said the country’s steel output in the first nine months of 2009 amounted to 618.6 million tons.

Chinese steelmakers each year enter into negotiations with the world’s top three mining companies – Brazil’s Vale, Australia’s Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton – over iron ore prices.