Disappointing figures from commodities giants Glencore Xstrata and BHP Billiton sparked heavy losses across the sector, while oil services provider Wood Group fell 8% after warning over profits in its engineering division.
The FTSE-100 shed 12.3 points to 6453.5, while there were also falls on the Dax in Frankfurt and the Cac 40 in Paris.
Investors are bracing themselves for more signs that the US Federal Reserve plans to taper quantitative easing (QE), with minutes of the central bank's interest rates meeting due today.
It is feared the Fed could start scaling back QE as soon as next month.
On the currency markets the pound was up slightly against the dollar at 1.57, but fell against the euro to 1.17.
Miners were under pressure after commodities and trading giant Glencore Xstrata revealed a $7.7 billion (£4.9bn) writedown on weaker growth in China, which has hammered the price of metals.
Underlying half-year earnings slumped 28% to $3.2bn (£2bn) in its maiden set of results since its record-breaking merger in May.
Australia's BHP Billiton added to the gloom after it posted a worse-than-feared 22% slump in underlying annual profits to $21.1 bn (£13.5bn) during the year to the end of June. BHP was hit by six months of weaker-than-expected growth in emerging markets.
Glencore's shares fell 1.6% or 4.8p to 297.2p, while BHP dropped 32.5p to 1923.5p.
Aberdeen-based Wood Group led the day's declines, down 72p to 831p, after lowering its profits forecast due to project delays and a weaker market in Canada.
There was better news from York-based housebuilder Persimmon as it reported a 40% leap in half-year underlying earnings to £135.3m and pledged to step-up new home construction.
Boosted by the Government's Help to Buy scheme, Persimmon said forward orders were now 21% ahead of a year earlier.
The housing market was also given a lift by mortgage lenders reporting their strongest month in almost five years in July, with an estimated £16.6 billion worth of mortgages advanced to borrowers, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
But shares in Persimmon failed to hold on to early session gains, falling 17p to 1150p.
A broker upgrade helped catering giant Compass make gains, closing up 1.5% or 12.5p to 870p, with bookmaker Ladbrokes also benefiting from an upgrade in the FTSE-250 Index, up 3.1% or 6p to 197.5p.
The biggest risers on the FTSE-100 were Fresnillo up 27p to 1184p, BT Group up 6p to 328.2p, ITV 2.9p ahead to 161.9p, Compass 12.5p firmer to 870p.
The biggest fallers were Wood Group down 72p to 831p, Prudential 38p weaker to 1148p, Standard Chartered 42p lower to 1479p and Vedanta Resources down 27p to 1173p.