Indian & world foundry news




September 19, 2014



Chinese domestic galvanized steel HDG price remain flat on September 18



Bosnia's Aluminij agrees USD 80 million debt settlement



Chinese domestic pig iron price remain flat on September 18



Record high aluminium premiums lift 2015 cost outlook



Chinese domestic steel beam price scenario on September 18



Chinese domestic steel Angle price on September 18



Chinese domestic steel billet price movement on September 18



Chinese domestic steel wire rod price update on September 18



US crude production climbs 28 year high - EIA



Brazilian crude steel output down by 1.4pct in August



Taiwan's CSC wire rod prices dropping



China steel mills face strict green laws - Baosteel



West Africa welcome Mr Obama's decision to commit additional US resources to the fight against Ebola





City wants urgent meeting with province over US Steel bankruptcy - September 19


Worried Hamilton politicians are calling on upper levels of government for help after news that one of its largest employers, US Steel, has filed for bankruptcy protection.


City councillors voted to ask the province for an urgent meeting around the steel giant's announcement, which caught them off guard. It's also asked staff to rush on a report evaluating the economic impact on the city if US Steel was to close its Hamilton plant altogether.


The announcement raised questions about what the move will mean to the city, particularly as it pertains to the hundreds of jobs and thousands of pensioners who live in Hamilton.


US Steel’s stock has soared since the company announced it would be filing for bankruptcy protection in Canada, a move that caught the City of Hamilton off guard.


But in Hamilton, the move has again raised questions about what the move will mean to the city and it unleashed another round of criticism both over how the company has behaved since buying up Stelco and how Canadian governments have handled the US steelmaker.


Hamilton Mayor Mr Bob Bratina said that he was shocked to learn the news US Steel, formerly Stelco, filed for bankruptcy protection with the Superior Court of Ontario under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act after the market closed. The company also cancelled more than USD 800 million (US) in capital investments south of the border, in Indiana and Minneapolis.


Mr Andrea Horwath leader of Ontario NDP said that “The Premier has many options to make sure steel jobs stay in Hamilton instead of throwing up her hands. New Democrats have long proposed a job creator tax credit, getting sky high electricity prices under control, and an industrial investment tax credit, all of which could help keep industry in Hamilton and in the province.”


Mr Duvall, a Ward 7 councillor, said that US Steel is following a pattern of dumping losses on Canadian operations to make the foreign operations look good, while receiving bailouts north of the border. Big companies and corporations are taking advantage of this loophole.


He said that "They get themselves into so much debt. They're foreign owned. They suck that (Canadian) company dry and then they their (foreign owned) company can look good and then they call for creditor's protection. After everybody's been honest, giving them credit, doing what they've got to do, and saying, 'Well to get back on our feet we've got to rob you a little bit.”




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Outokumpu showcases its expertise in surface finishes for building and infrastructure projects - September 18


Outokumpu showcased its high quality offering in surface finishes in simultaneous events in Germany and China and demonstrated why stainless steel is used increasingly in demanding building and infrastructure projects.


At both events, Outokumpu exhibited three of its latest products; 2R2 a highly reflective, smooth finish in high volume production; GritLine a bright surface with improved properties through rolling; and Laser a new surface finish with random pattern that depicts a homogeneous surface, ideal for large façade elements.


Mr Mika Seitovirta CEO of Outokumpu said that “Stainless steel is the preferred material for modern building and construction due to its high mechanical strength, resistance to corrosion, aesthetics and cost efficiency. It performs well in extreme climate conditions and needs little maintenance.”


In both Dillenburg and Shanghai, China, Outokumpu displayed its broad range of surface finishes, many of which adorn some of the world’s most famous buildings, from the Chrysler building and One World Trade Center in New York, to the new headquarters of the Ping An Finance Center in Shenzhen, China. On September 15, Outokumpu announced the delivery of over 800 tonnes of special surface stainless steel for the creation of the facades of Baosteel’s head offices in Shanghai (48,000 m2 of facade) and Guangzhou, China.


Mr Seitovirta said that “These landmark buildings are more than just beautiful architectural masterpieces. They also tell about the advantages of high quality stainless steel and underscore Outokumpu’s position as one of the world’s leading innovators in advanced materials.”


The Chrysler building is a great example of low maintenance. It was built in 1930 and except of few panels which have been replaced, the stainless steel roof is original and has been manually cleaned only twice. For the One World Trade Center, Outokumpu designed a brand new surface with random patterns to fit in with the critical surface demands of the architect. The Marina Bay Helix bridge in Singapore features high strength and corrosion resistant duplex to ensure low maintenance and continuing beauty in hot and humid maritime conditions.


Mr Seitovirta stressed the importance of technical expertise and support for customers that “The requirements for cost-efficient, high performing, sustainable buildings are growing and those stainless steel suppliers that can offer technical expertise, innovation and end to end project support will lead the pack. Outokumpu is one of the suppliers; one which takes building and infrastructure to new heights.”




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Mexican and Turkish rebar producers argue against US duties - September 17


Reuters reported that US producers of steel rebar undercut each other on price and are not hurt by imports from Mexico and Turkey, foreign firms told the US International Trade Commission as they fought a push to slap duties on their steel.


US based producers have complained of a doubling of imports between 2010 and 2012 and launched a trade dispute that could end in import duties as high as 67% on reinforcing bar used to reinforce concrete.


Companies giving evidence in the final stage of the case said cheap, subsidized imports endanger a recovery in the US industry, which was hard hit by a collapse in construction during the recession.


But lawyers for the foreign producers said most imports were aimed at small scale projects, while US rebar was concentrated in large scale construction like roads and bridges, where US mills dominate the market and aggressively compete on price.


Market leaders Nucor Corporation, Commercial Metals Company and Gerdau Long Steel North America sold rebar cheaply to their in house operations marketing to contractors for big projects.


Mr Jay Campbell, of White & Case, a representative for the Mexican producers said that "Nucor and Gerdau are the price leaders and undersold other U.S. producers and each other. Imports did not suppress the US mills' profitability; the big three did this to themselves."


Mr Wiley Rein lawyer Alan Price, representing the US mills' Rebar Trade Action Coalition, said that unfair competition from imports cut operating margins to 3.7% in 2013. That was down from 4.3% in 2011 and 5.5% in 2012.


Mr Jim Darsey, Nucor executive vice president of bar products, said that Nucor cut prices to compete with imports, hurting the company's bottom line but imports just got cheaper and cheaper. Recovery remains elusive, in large part because of dumped and subsidized imports.


Mr Jim Kerkvliet, Gerdau Long Steel vice president of sales, said that his company had been forced to idle several mills, reduce staff at others and lay off 550 workers at one facility. Production, sales and financial performance took a significant hit. Construction was not expected to return to pre-recession levels until 2017.




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Kobe Steel licenses tin plating technology for copper and alloy terminals - September 16


Kobe Steel Limited announced that it has licensed Germany's Wieland Werke AG to use its New Reflow Plating process on copper sheet and strip for terminals and connectors. Wieland is Europe's leading manufacturer of copper sheet and strip for these applications.


The arrangement with Wieland is not a first for Kobe Steel. In April 2009, Kobe Steel provided Wieland with a license to make its SuperKFC series of copper alloys for semiconductor leadframes. In November 2012, Kobe Steel licensed the Germany firm to produce its CAC 5 copper alloy for terminals and connectors.


For manufacturers, the latest licensing agreement will help establish a global supply network for copper alloys, especially for automotive applications. It also addresses customer needs to procure materials from multiple sources.


Kobe Steel already supplies Asia with this material, but the licensing arrangement with Wieland will enable Kobe Steel to expand its supply to two major world markets: Europe and the United States.


Terminals and connectors are connecting components that join electrical wires to electrical devices in cars. A connector contains many terminals. Depending on the application, the surface of the terminal is plated.


With cars using more electrical components in recent years, the number of terminals and connectors needed has been increasing. In contrast, joining the terminals and connectors to electrical components is done by hand during automobile assembly. This increases the burden on workers, leading to lower productivity during assembly.


In 2007, Kobe Steel developed a plating process called New Reflow Plating to meet the need for terminals with a low insertion force. In this plating process, the partial exposure of the hard copper-tin intermetallic compound, which forms between the copper alloy sheet and soft tin-plated surface, results in good slidability and low insertion force.


Depending on the shape of the connector, terminals and connectors with New Reflow Plating can have an insert reduction force 30% lower, in comparison to conventional reflow tin-plated terminals and connectors. Copper alloys with New Reflow Plating contribute to load reduction during connection work and improved productivity in the assembly process.


As electrical components become bigger, automotive terminals and connectors are becoming increasingly diversified. Kobe Steel anticipates that the use of the New Reflow Plating process will increase in the future due to the lower insertion force of terminals and connectors that undergo this innovative treatment process.




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SMS Siemag revamped second 400 tonne converter at Duisburg Bruckhausen works of ThyssenKrupp - Sep 15


The 400 tonne converter at ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG, Germany, in the Duisburg Bruckhausen works went into production immediately after the successful revamp by SMS Siemag Germany, in July 2014.


The new converter vessel is one of the largest of its kind worldwide. The design developed by SMS Siemag has enabled the construction of a much larger converter vessel: With an unchanged quantity of up to 400 tonnes of material charged, the internal volume of the converter has been increased by 24%.


Thanks to the lamella suspension system developed by SMS Siemag, the existing mounting space can now be used more efficiently. The lamella suspension comprises a maintenance-free converter suspension for arranging the converter vessel in the trunnion ring without restraint.


The additional volumetric capacity enables a more environment-friendly process control and a more efficient energy recovery. This expansion will be done for reasons inherent to the production process and it is not associated with increasing volumes.


Mr Tim Moscheik, Project Manager of the converters revamp, ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe in Duisburg Bruckhausen said that “We would like to thank all parties involved for their performance and commitment. The project is a very good example of the fact that precise agreements, an open attitude towards one another, good communication and close cooperation between the subsuppliers, our specialist departments and the Oxygen Steelworks I have paid off.”


Mr Wolfgang Schulte, Senior Engineer of the Plant development department, ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe said that “Converter I, which has been on stream again for almost one year, delivers good results and fulfils our high level requirements. For Converter II, we have already awarded acceptance after a 14 days period. We are very satisfied.”


SMS Siemag supplied the converter, the supporting ring, the vessel fastening with its patented lamella suspension system of the latest generation, the trunnion bearings and the bearing supports. The solution developed by SMS Siemag makes it possible to retain and continue to use the existing converter tilt drive.


SMS Siemag has also been responsible for the dismantling of the existing converter plant, the installation of the plant components as well as the erection of a new converter platform. The revamp has been carried out by the ThyssenKrupp MillServices & Systems GmbH, Duisburg, Germany.




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Esmark to convert Ohio steel mill to serve shale boom - September 12


Reuters reported that an idled steel facility in the heartland of the United States is gearing up for a revival as an energy services provider due to surging production from the US shale revolution.


Esmark Inc said that it is converting the former Ohio Cold Rolling Company steel manufacturing plant in Yorkville, Ohio, into a transportation and logistics hub to serve the Marcellus and Utica shale plays of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.


Esmark acquired the Yorkville facility about two years ago from a defunct steelmaker but kept the facility idled due to poor market conditions. The move to refit the plant comes amid a shale boom that has set the United States on course to become the world's largest producer of oil and gas.


The new facility, renamed Yorkville Energy Services Terminal, will provide oil and gas related infrastructure services such as fresh water off take, dry storage, as well as rail, barge and truck access.


Esmark said that a number of large and mid sized energy services companies have expressed interest in the terminal, including companies engaged in material handling, transloading and rail switching. It did not name the companies.




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Ukraine's KVV Group to buy Latvia's insolvent steelmaker - September 11


Reuters reported that Ukraine's KVV Group has offered to buy Latvia's insolvent steelmaker Liepajas Metalurgs for EUR 107 million.


Liepajas Metalurgs, the only producer of rolled steel in the Baltic countries filed for bankruptcy last year, blaming weak demand in Europe.


Mr Haralds Velmers the insolvency administrator said that “The KVV Group has provided a clear plan for re-launching the plant's operations. KVV Group is going to pay the sum over 10 years.”


Latvia's government, which had to repay EUR 74 million under a loan guarantee to Italian bank UniCredit after the company could not cover its liabilities, has welcomed the offer.


Mr Laimdota Straujuma PM of Latvia said that "It's important that (the buyer) wants to invest in the company and to resume production."




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Collapsing steel prices in China - Another ominous sign for iron ore - Mr Andy Home - September 10


Mr Andy Home, a noted columnist with Reuters wrote that “Everyone knew this was going to be a difficult year in the iron ore market. Expansions by existing producers such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton and ramp ups by newer players in Australia and West Africa were widely expected to generate a wall of supply in the sea borne market. The timing was always going to be problematic, given the equally widely expected slowdown in China, the world's biggest buyer of iron ore.”


He wrote “The combination of supply surge and slowing demand growth has already unleashed a battle for survival among iron ore producers. The latest victim of this brutal new iron age is fledgling Australian producer, Western Desert Resources, which has just gone into administration.”


He said “But at least Chinese steel production has been growing, even if the rate of growth has braked sharply to 2.7% in the first 7 months of 2014 from 12.1% in the year earlier period. However, it is getting harder to ignore the building pressures in the Chinese steel sector and the rising risk of some sort of demand shock along the raw materials chain.”


He wrote “The surest sign of tension in China's massive steel market is the steady decline in domestic prices. On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, the most active steel rebar contract slumped to another record low last week, extending a price decline that has run uninterrupted since the beginning of August. The SHFE's hot rolled coil futures contract has fared no better, also closing the week at its lowest level since it was launched in April this year. The two Shanghai steel contracts have tracked each other closely since April, but as the graphic below shows, rebar has fared significantly worse. That's a clue as to what lies behind this accumulating price implosion, since rebar is the form of steel most widely used in construction.”


He said “Property sales and new starts have both been falling across China with no end in sight to the downturn. Local governments have been quietly easing previous restrictions on property purchases and the central government continues to drive investment into affordable housing, but neither is sufficient to offset the profound malaise in China's previously white-hot construction sector.”


He wrote “The fact that HRC prices are also falling, even if not as fast, suggests that steel demand weakness is spreading into the broader manufacturing sector. That chimes with the latest purchasing managers indices. Both official and unofficial surveys for August painted a worrying picture of deceleration in the engine-room of global manufacturing.”




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Australian iron ore price fall starts to hurt smaller miners - Sep 9


SMH reported that the iron ore price collapse is starting to claim victims, with one exporter bound for administration and USD 250 million takeover deal under increasing doubt.


This year's 38% fall in the benchmark iron ore price continued late on Friday night, with the price slipping to USD 83.60 per tonne.


The price pressure became too much for pokie king Bruce Mathieson's Western Desert Resources, which was forced to appoint KordaMentha as voluntary administrators on Friday.


Western Desert had been trying to renegotiate funding arrangements with Macquarie for its Roper Bar export operations in the Northern Territory but was told that no support would be forthcoming.


Western Desert named the low iron ore price among the reasons for its failure, which will also hurt engineering group Thiess, which was contracted to work as the company's mining contractor until January 2017.


The collapse comes despite Western Desert having the financial firepower of Mr Mathieson and former Coles and AMP director Rick Allert behind it.


The sliding price could also cause trouble for media mogul Kerry Stokes, whose ASX listed iron ore vehicle Iron Ore Holdings is subject to a takeover offer from BC Iron. Under the terms of the acquisition bid, the deal can be terminated if the iron ore price falls below AUD 90 per tonne for 20 consecutive days during the offer period.


Friday night's fall to USD 83.6 per tonne translated to AUD 89.14 per tonne, and represents the first time the price has gone below the nominated level since the takeover was launched on August 11.


The offer period was initially scheduled to run until September 26, and has since been extended to September 30, meaning there are just over 20 days until the end of the offer period.


BC Iron has the right to extend the offer period further if it chooses. If the takeover survives the price slide, Mr Stokes will receive about USD 8.5 million in cash and about USD 112 million worth of BC Iron shares, which are more valuable and far more liquid than IOH.




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Reverberations in Goa from China's property market collapse - Sep 8


Bankers and investors around the world are extremely nervous these days the latest data from China indicates an increasingly bleak scenario is rapidly accelerating into focus. When the US property market crashed in 2005 to 2008, it triggered lasting devastation in the global economy. Now the same thing seems be happening all over again. China's property market is teetering on the brink of disaster.


Most analysts acknowledge the truth is worse than official data indicates: that last month home prices again fell in 64 of 70 Chinese cities (the biggest decline since records began). Floor space sold is down 16.3%, despite many cities scrambling to ease home purchase restrictions. New construction starts have fallen by 25%, actual housing prices are declining for the first time in modern Chinese history, and the impact has been a marked slowdown in national GDP growth (where real estate and associated sectors account for 16%).


Still, all this happening in a highly controlled command economy, with an agile and protective government united to ensure social stability is maintained, and political unrest avoided at virtually any cost. China's spectacularly fluid and dynamic labour force will be shifted around and compelled to fill the property vacuums. Premier Mr Li Kequiang has already eased controls over property sales, and this week promised more of the same. It's a very bad situation a 4% to 5% hit to China's GDP can be expected the next few years but not nearly as bad as it will be elsewhere, when the same thing happens.


Over here in India, a blithe consensus has long been held, you can never go wrong with property. For decades after Independence in 1947 just like in China all these years that view held true. Property prices never declined, and eventually demonstrated world-beating appreciation: New Delhi and Mumbai property became some of the most expensive in the world. Even little Goa's property prices are now directly equivalent to many parts of Europe. But the real data behind the hype already indicates a different story.


According to Residex, the National Housing Board's index of actual transaction prices in 26 Indian cities, there has been less than 9% nominal appreciation across the board from 2007, which gains are entirely cancelled out by the 9% inflation rate. There are regional and situational variations, but the general conclusion is inescapable Indian property values stopped their inexorable growth 5 to 7 years ago. Though absolute prices remain high, a certain ceiling has been reached. Now the only way to go is down.


The problem in the Chinese real estate sector can be summarized in one word: overbuilding. Developers competed with each other to drive up commodity prices and massively expand the luxury housing sector. Exactly the same thing happened in India too, with hugely overpriced housing estates mushrooming everywhere from Chandigarh to Caranzalem. And so just like in China prices have begun a previously unthinkable decline. Residex indicates more than 20% drop in Delhi alone.


The same is crystal clear in Goa, where prices reached unsustainable levels several years ago, and again just like China most of the rise is attributable to hot money from speculators. The 2011 Census indicated that 25% of homes in the state are unoccupied. But that remarkable percentage is actually very much higher in all the egregiously inappropriate high rise construction in Dona Paula and Dabolim, and Reis Magos and Ribandar and many other illegally urbanized villages across the state. The same census very worryingly indicates that by far the largest construction activity in Goa is unoccupied real estate more than school buildings, hospitals, places of worship, factories and worksheds combined.


The explosive real estate boom in China had a highly significant rolling effect in Goa. The market price for iron ore soared to its highest in history, and we now know the established players were joined with an army of newly-minted miners to pillage the state's resources to such an extent the Supreme Court had to recommend complete cessation of all mining activity in Goa until the illegalities could be controlled.




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Norilsk Nickel updates on Palladium - September 5


In H1 2014, palladium was the best performer among precious and most of industrial metals. A 5- month long labour strike in South Africa put a halt to 20% of global palladium production and resulted in over USD 2 billion in lost revenue. We believe that the pre strike mine production capacity could be reached not earlier than September 2014 at best.


The labour strikes affected only mine production, so that the South African PGM producers could still produce refined metal using the ore inventory accumulated ahead of the strike as well as tap into their refined metal inventory. Therefore, the negative impact of the strike on the supply of refined metal was partially mitigated. We expect a reduction of palladium supply from South Africa by over 400,000 ounces this year as ?ompared to 2013.


We estimate that there were no sales of palladium from the Russian government stockpiles (Gokhran) in H1 2014, thus confirming the market view that these stockpiles have by and large depleted by now. Gross palladium demand increased in H1 2014 on the back of expanding global automotive industry driven by strong growth in China and recovery in the developed world, combined with rising investment demand. The new ETFs launched in South Africa (by ABSA and Standard Bank) accumulated in total 850 thousand ounces of palladium in H1 2014.


As result of the apparent market deficit in H1 2014, palladium price increased 7% year on year to USD 779 per ounce.


We expect an increase of gross palladium consumption by around 2% in 2014 to 9.5 million ounces. Rising consumption combined with reduced supply of the primary metal, we forecast should drive the palladium market to a wider deficit in 2014 of over 2 million ounces (over 20% of global gross consumption) up from approximately 1.0 million ounces deficit in 2013.


We also reiterate our view that the discount of palladium to platinum should continue shrinking. The current discount remains to be fundamentally unjustified, in our view, and we see substantial further room for platinum substitution by palladium in diesel autocatalysts as well as the palladium demand growth in gasoline autocatalysts and other applications.




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Flinders Mines reveals big iron intersections at Blackjack - September 4


Flinders Mines has revealed significant high grade and near surface bedded iron mineralisation at its Pilbara Iron Ore Project in Western Australia.


Infill and extensional drilling has now been completed with assays received for a further 80 holes.


Standout intercepts included 40 meters at 60.0% iron, 30 meters at 58.9% iron, and 30 meters at 58.8% iron and importantly, the high iron assays are enhanced by the low levels of impurities such as alumina and silica.


All of these high grade intersections are outside of the current Inferred Resource boundary and outside existing pit designs as defined during the project Pre Feasibility Study.


This mineralisation remains open to the south-east and west and is adjacent to targets previously identified for bedded iron in the hills surrounding the Blackjack deposit, providing support for FMS' lofty exploration targets.


Once infill drilling across the project has been completed a specialised track mounted drill rig will be utilised to undertake drilling in the hills over the next two months. Significant results from drilling targeting new mineralisation will be reported as they are received.


Flinders is also planning to release updated resource estimates for each of the individual deposits within the Pilbara Iron Ore Project over the next two months.


Notably, Flinders already has export arrangements in place after entering into an agreement with the Balla Balla Joint Venture between Todd Minerals and Rutila Resources.




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Workington's TATA Steel shut down with the loss of 32 positions - September 3


Following months of speculation at Workington’s TATA Steel, it has been confirmed that the site’s copper plant has shut down with the loss of 32 positions.


The company revealed last year that 75 jobs were to go across the whole site, with the foundry being the main casualty.


A rescue plan was launched earlier this year and hopes were lifted when it looked like a potential buyer had been found for the foundry. But, after extensive talks, the takeover fell through at the eleventh hour and the firm announced in June that its closure was imminent.


The last cast has now been produced and the foundry is being decommissioned. It is understood that the workers have been moved elsewhere in the plant for the time being, but it is not known what the future holds for them.


Mr Craig Scott MD of TATA Steel Projects said that “TATA Steel worked closely with unions and politicians to try to find a solution other than the closure of the foundry. Unfortunately that was not successful and so it must be remembered this action is being taken to ensure the future of the business as a whole. TATA Steel is committed to Workington and we now need to keep focussed on the future.”




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Latin American update on steel sector performance in January to June 2014 period - September 2


Facing scenarios of weak global and regional economic growth, crude steel production and finished steel consumption remained unchanged during the first half of the year compared to same period of 2013. Moreover, finished steel production decreased 1%.


Finished steel use


Finished steel consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean reached 34.2 million tonnes in January to June 2014, in line with the same months of 2013. The only countries that grew during H1 2014 were Mexico (11%), Colombia (15%) and Argentina (5%). On the other hand, Venezuela's, Ecuador's and Chile ́s production continued to decline in terms of tonnes and percent changes.


Trade Balance


Between January to June 2014, regional trade of finished steel marked a deficit of -7 million tonnes, 11% deeper than H1 2013, when it had reached -6.4 million tonnes.


During January to June 2014, all Latin American and Caribbean countries described deficits in their trade of finished steel. Mexico showed the most marked imbalance of -2.3 million tonnes. It was followed by Colombia (-1.1 million tonnes), Peru (780,092 tonnes) and Chile (743,300 tonnes). The evolution of these trade flows and the balance is presented in Graph 02.




Regional production of crude steel in 1H2014 reached 32.2 million tonnes, in line with same period of 2013. Brazil was the top producer (16.7 million tonnes), accounting for 52% of the regional output but showing a slight fall of 1%.


During January to June 2014, the countries with the highest growth rates (YoY) in crude steel production were Argentina (+12%), Mexico (+ 6%) and Peru (+ 4%). Venezuela, Chile and Colombia posted declines of -42%, -18% and -2%, respectively.


During the H1 of the year, Latin America produced 28 million tonnes of finished steel, 1% less than the output recorded for the same period of 2013. Brazil appeared as the top producer (12.5 million tonnes), accounting for 45% of the Latin American production. Mexico came to the second place with 8.5 million tonnes (31%) and showed a significant increase of 9% YoY.


Other countries that increased their finished steel production of during January to June 2014 YoY were Colombia (+ 15%) and Ecuador (+ 1%). Meanwhile, Venezuela ́s and Chile ́s output dropped -40% and -25%, respectively.


Advanced information for July 2014 indicates that crude steel production reached 5.6 million tonnes during that month, 2% less than July 2013. Also, finished steel production closed at 4.5 million tonnes, down 5% YoY. Between January to July 2014, crude steel production reached 37.8 million tonnes, in line with same months of 2013, while production of finished steel reached 32.2 million tonnes down 2% YoY.




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TATA Steel asks for 8 more years to improve air quality in Scunthorpe - September 1


TATA Steel bosses are seeking an 8 year stay of execution to cut emissions from the coke ovens on the Scunthorpe site as they fear the costs would far outweigh the environmental benefits.


The company, which employs 4,000 people in the town, has estimated the cost of rebuilding the ovens some of which date back to 1938 could be as high as GBP 833 million.


A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said that "TATA Steel has made four requests to delay improvements for us to assess. The derogations can be permitted if we feel the costs of earlier implementation are disproportionately high compared to the environmental benefit."


The spokeswoman confirmed the requests for time-limited derogations until 2022 all related to the coke ovens. Should we believe that we are able to accept the requests, we will consult the public and professional partners on that position before making a final decision. That consultation would not start before October.”


She said that "If we don't accept Tata Steel's requests for derogations to meet the requirements at a later date, then we would issue a permit requiring all the new standards to be met by March 2016."


Company bosses have promised to deliver significant improvements on the 2,000 acre Scunthorpe site by the 2016 deadline. The improvements to meet a new directive from the European Union on industrial emissions included the removal of emissions of sulphur dioxide and a cutback in other pollutants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from the coke ovens.


A TATA Steel spokesman said that "The PAH improvement plan will reduce emissions though a replacement and maintenance programme. The new environmental permit will formalise the commitment TATA Steel has made in the form of an agreed emission management plan. The implementation process allows for exceptions from best available techniques to be made in some limited circumstances which are set out in the industrial emissions directive as agreed after discussions with the environmental authorities.”


He said that "TATA Steel is always looking at ways of improving the health and wellbeing of both employees and the community at the same time as continuing to operate in a highly competitive global marketplace. Over recent years, Tata Steel has focused on reducing dust on the site. All the measures have been successful in reducing dust lift off."


The spokesman said that "TATA Steel's proposal, to install the best available technique for desulphurisation on all coke making activities by 2022, would reduce the emission of sulphur dioxide. The installation of coke oven gas (COG) desulphurisation is a complex project involving considerable engineering and technological resource and therefore it requires a phased implementation at the two ovens.”


He said that "It must be remembered, however, that the current sulphur dioxide emissions from coke ovens have not breached local air quality standards. TATA Steel is constantly investing in improving its environmental performance to reduce emissions as a way of lessening our impact on the local community and meeting our legal obligations.”


He added that "There are estimates of both initial investment and long-term costs. But it would be wrong to make those details public when Tata Steel's engineers are still working to identify the most appropriate technique and plant required to improve the process for both the Appleby and Dawes Lane coke ovens."




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Falling housing prices are causing violent protests in China - August 29


In a sign of growing public concern over fluctuations in the country’s housing market, homeowners in two Chinese cities gathered over the weekend to demonstrate against plans by property developers to make steep price cuts even as the industry has recently struggled to attract buyers.


According to the report, a crowd of homeowners surrounded the Shanghai sales office of property developer Greentown China Holdings Limited to protest a 25% drop in home values owned by the company.


However, in Jinan, capital of Shandong Province, owners unfurled banners to protest a similar cut and clashed with counter-protesters organized by the real-estate company.


China's economy, the world’s second largest behind the United States, is highly dependent on its real estate sector, which accounts for between 16% and 20% of China's gross domestic product growth. Because of strict capital controls and a volatile stock market, Chinese citizens invest a significant portion of their surplus income into real estate: Despite widespread rural poverty, China’s homeownership rate is 90%.


Nevertheless, local governments lend money to property developers, whose investment in steel, cement and other commodities fuels politically desirable GDP growth.


As a result, rows of apartment buildings often lacking residents dot the landscape in China’s major cities, creating widespread concerns of a bubble.




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Australia's Mr Palmer apologizes to China for Mongrel comments - August 28


Bloomberg reported that Australian lawmaker Mr Clive Palmer issued a written apology to China’s ambassador for insulting the nation after calling his Chinese business partners mongrels who want to take over the country’s resources.


The mining magnate-turned politician, who Prime Minister Tony Abbott must negotiate with to pass legislation, told Chinese Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu he regretted “any hurt or anguish” his comments may have caused. The letter was dated Aug. 25 and emailed today by Palmer’s office to media outlets.


Palmer’s comments on Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s Q&A television program on Aug. 18 were attacked by Abbott’s government, Australian business leaders and Chinese newspapers. The millionaire is embroiled in a long running legal dispute with Citic Pacific Limited which has alleged he used funds from a joint account to help finance his political campaign.


Mr Palmer said on the program that the Chinese are communists, they shoot their own people, they haven’t got a justice system and they want to take over this country. China is Australia’s largest trading partner, while Citic is Mr Palmer’s partner in the world’s biggest magnetite iron ore mine in Western Australia.




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Rio Tinto seeks Oct-Dec aluminium premium from Japan buyers - August 27


Reuters reported that Rio Tinto has offered Japanese buyers aluminium at a record premium of USD 420 per tonne for October to December primary metal shipments, up 3% to 5% from the previous quarter.


Sources involved in pricing talks said that Japan is Asia's biggest importer of the metal and the premiums for primary metal shipments it agrees to pay each quarter over the London Metal Exchange cash price CMAL0 set the benchmark for the region.


Rio Tinto's offer was below the USD 460 offer made by Russia's United Company Rusal Plc last week.


For the July to September quarter, Japanese aluminium buyers mostly agreed to pay record high premiums of USD 400 per tonne to USD 408 per tonne PREM ALUM JP, over LME prices, up 8% to 12% from the quarter before that.




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Dannemora Mineral signs LoI with Voestalpine for supply of iron ore - August 26


Dannemora Mineral has signed a letter of intent with the Austrian steel group voestalpine for deliveries of iron ore products. Deliveries cover about 300,000 tonnes of fines annually, equivalent to a quarter of Dannemora Mineral’s current production. The volume will cover a large part of the additional volumes that will be produced as a result of the planned expansion of the sorting plant.


The intention is to sign a minimum three year agreement before the end of 2014.


voestalpine currently produces more than 7 million tonnes of steel per year. The Group operates mainly in Austria, with steelworks in Linz and Donawitz but has operations throughout the world.


Dannemora Mineral AB is a mining and exploration company of which the primary activity is mining operations in the Dannemora iron ore mine. The Company intends to engage in exploration activities to increase the iron ore base locally and regionally.The Company’s most important asset is the iron deposit in the Dannemora Mine, and activity is focused mainly on the mining of this deposit at present.




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Beowulf Mining to raise up GBP 2 million for Kallak iron ore project - August 25


Beowulf Mining has unveiled plans to raise up to GBP 2 million cash that will be used to further explore and develop its Kallak iron ore project in northern Sweden.


The company has already placed GBP 1.6 million worth of stock with investors, including its leading shareholder, Lanstead Capital, which is making a GBP 1 million investment.


Existing shareholders are being offered the chance to participate in the cash call via an open offer. The equity is being sold for 3p a share, which represents a relatively modest 14% discount to Wednesday’s closing price of 3.5p.


The placing and open offer were unveiled as Beowulf updated on progress. The mining exploration group unveiled what it described as very promising assay results from the first four holes of the second phase of drilling of the Kallak North deposit. There were significant long intercepts in all holes, including one from surface to 250 metres that averaged 30.68% iron.


Meanwhile, encouraging initial assay results have been received for seven holes located at the most northerly end of the Kallak South deposit. A long and significant intercept returned 150 meters of mineralisation at 26.43% iron.


Mr Clive Sinclair Poulton chairman of Beowulf Mining said that "Amid a challenging environment for financing junior mining companies I am pleased to announce the capital raising today, coupled with intended board and advisory changes. In particular we are pleased to have secured the continued support of our major shareholder, Lanstead Capital.”


Mr Sinclair Poulton said that “We are committed to respond positively to uncertain markets and re position the company to continue its development. I look forward to presenting further updates in due course as we look to move our projects into the development phase. We are grateful for the continued support of shareholders and I hope that the inclusion of an open offer is viewed favourably.”




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China iron ore futures extend losses on Dalian Commodity Exchange - August 23


Reuters reported that iron ore for January delivery on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was off half a percent at CNY 648 per tonne.


It dropped earlier to CNY 644 near June's low of CNY 642 which was the weakest for a most traded contract since Dalian introduced it in October last year.


Mr Cao Bo analyst at Jinrui Futures in Shenzhen said that “The price may hit a new trough below 630 yuan in four months amid plentiful supply. As shipments from Brazil and Australia to China remain high, and domestic iron ore production maintains steady growth, the status of excess supply may continue for a longer time.”


According to data compiled by Steel Index, Benchmark 62% grade iron ore for immediate delivery to China .IO62-CNI=SI fell 0.8% to USD 92.30 per tonne on Wednesday, its lowest since June 20.




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BHP Billiton announces a series of changes to senior management of the Company - August 21


Mr Graham Kerr currently CFO of BHP Billiton is appointed CEO designate of the new company that BHP Billiton plans to form in a demerger. Mr Graham will retire from the Group Management Committee on October 1st 2014 and will be replaced as CFO by Mr Peter Beaven, currently President, Copper. Mr Brendan Harris, currently Head of Group Investor Relations, has been appointed CFO designate of the new company.


Mr Graham first joined the BHP Billiton Group in 1994 as a graduate and held various positions, including President of the Diamonds and Specialty Products business, before being appointed CFO in November 2011. Mr Brendan joined BHP Billiton in 2010 and has led the Company’s global investor relations team from London and Melbourne since 2011. He was previously Executive Director, Metals and Mining Research, at Macquarie Bank.


Mr Peter joined BHP Billiton in 2003 and has held various positions in the Company including President Manganese and Vice President Business Development and Chief Development Officer for the Carbon Steel Materials business. He joined BHP Billiton following a previous career with UBS where he headed the Australian advisory team for resources. Peter is a registered Chartered Accountant. He will relocate to Melbourne from Santiago.


An announcement relating to Mr Peter’s replacement as President Copper will be made in due course. In the interim Mr Edgar Basto, currently Asset President Escondida, will act in the capacity of President, Copper and, following the appointment of a permanent replacement, will take up a new role within BHP Billiton.


Mr Andrew Mackenzie CEO of BHP Billiton said that “Mr Graham has made a significant contribution to BHP Billiton including overseeing the development of the proposed demerger announced today. He has experience across commodities and in recent years has led the finance function and businesses in Canada and South Africa with distinction. Graham is the right person to lead the new company and I am pleased that shareholders will continue to benefit from his skills and experience in his new role.”


Mr Mackenzie added that “MrPeter has delivered very strong results in leading our Copper business through a period of significant gains in safety, productivity and performance. He brings very strong financial experience and expertise to his new role as CFO of BHP Billiton.”


BHP Billiton also announced that Ms Karen Wood will retire from the Group Management Committee effective. Mr Karen joined BHP Limited as Company Secretary in June 2001 shortly before the BHP and Billiton merger. Over her 13 years with the Group she has held a variety of roles including leading the global Human Resources and Corporate Affairs functions. She joined the Office of Chief Executive (later the Group Management Committee) in 2006.


In announcing Ms Karen’s retirement, Mr Mackenzie acknowledged the significant and enduring contribution that Karen has made to BHP Billiton. In her time with the Company, Ms Karen has supported each chief executive, worked on all leadership transitions and been intimately involved in every corporate transaction and significant development within the organisation. She has provided invaluable counsel to all of us and to the Board throughout and has given me personally insightful and helpful guidance as I moved into the role of CEO.


He said that “Ms Karen leaves having put in place world class Human Resources and Corporate Affairs processes and teams. She also led the headquarters of the Company back to its original home in Collins Street in Melbourne and to a wonderful building that both recognises our heritage and promotes our modern culture. Karen’s professionalism and commitment to the organisation and its people will be sorely missed. While Karen is retiring from her executive role she will continue to support me and the Board for some time on several matters including the demerger announced earlier today.”




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The European outlook for the offshore pipeline industry in 2014 is positive - August 20


According to a recent report conducted by TATA Steel, the European outlook for the offshore pipeline industry in 2014 is positive.


Operators and developers are studying, planning and building just over 7,050 mi (11,346 km) of oil and gas pipelines to bring these supplies from offshore fields to onshore markets. The total reflects a significant increase from last year's survey, which showed a total of almost 5,600 mi (9,012 km). This year's total represents a 26% increase over last year.


The increase is driven in very large part by the development of the South Stream pipeline project, and the decision by the developers to build four 578-mi (930-km) pipelines to move natural gas from Russia to Bulgaria (and then to European markets) via the Black Sea. If all four lines are built according to plan, South Stream will include more than 2,300 mi (3,701 km) of pipe.


Installation of the first South Stream pipeline is expected to begin this fall, and will be undertaken by Saipem, who will use its Castoro Sei vessel to work toward a 2015 completion date. Construction on the second line will be undertaken by Allseas, using its new Pieter Schelte vessel. Work on this second line is scheduled for a late 2016 completion timeframe.


Due to the increase in South Stream's project scope, Europe is the clear leader in the survey for the third year in a row, with 4,178 mi (6,724 km) of pipeline systems being built and planned.


It should be noted that the long-planned GALSI pipeline project, which called for a 937-mi (1,508-km), 22- to 48 in. pipeline to move natural gas from Algeria to Sardinia and then to Italy, has been removed from the survey. Some 347 mi (558 km) of that would have been offshore, in the Mediterranean Sea. The project, announced in 2005, has suffered a number of delays and setbacks that have undermined its viability. Recent reports have indicated that this project will not proceed.


At the same time, the White Stream natural gas pipeline project remains in the survey. First announced in 2005, it calls for a 635-mi (1,022-km), 20-, 24-, and 42-in. pipeline to move natural gas from the Caspian region to Romania, Ukraine, and other European markets. White Stream may ultimately be another project that falls by the wayside, but there is some evidence that developers continue to support the project; and so it remains in the survey for this year.


The Middle East once again comes in second (as it did last year), with 1,103 mi (1,775 km) of pipelines being built or planned. Most notable here is the proposed South Asia Gas Enterprise Pvt. Ltd. (SAGE) project, also known as the Middle East to India Deepwater Pipeline (MEIDP). It calls for the construction of an 807 mi (1,300-km), 24- to 27-in., pipeline to move natural gas from the Persian Gulf and Middle East regions to India. This project it still under study, with a projected 2017 completion date.


Also in the region, Delek Group's gas partnerships have applied to export natural gas to Cyprus through a pipeline from Israel's deepwater Leviathan field. The aim is to start gas deliveries in early 2016, but the project requires agreement between the bidders and the Cypriot government no later than Aug. 21, 2014. There is also a proposal to build a pipeline from the Leviathan to Egypt. But no details have been announced for either, so they are not included in the survey.


Similarly, there have been reports of a possible long-distance subsea pipeline to move Iranian natural gas to markets in Oman. Iranian Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has said that the two countries have discussed five options for gas transmission, and that they hoped to finalize a deal this year. Again, with no details on route, length and diameter announced, this project has not been included in the survey.


Continuing the trends from last year, the South Pacific region once again comes in third, with 813 mi (1,308 km) of systems being planned and built. Most notable here are the Wheatstone and Ichthys pipelay projects, which have both begun construction. Allseas is building the 140-mi (225-km), 44-in. natural gas trunkline from the Wheatstone processing platform to an LNG plant in Western Australia. Saipem is building the 552-mi (888-km), 42-in. Ichthys natural gas pipeline, which will run from an offshore processing facility to Darwin, Australia. Saipem is using its semisubmersible laybarge SEMAC-1 for the shallow-water portion and the laybarge Castorone for the larger deepwater portion.


Offshore South America, Petrobras is moving forward with plans to move gas from the Guara and Lula Northeast FPSOs in its Lula field to other systems that will take the gas to onshore markets. Petrobras has contracted Saipem for construction of subsea facilities for the Lula Norte, Lula Sul, and Lula Extremo Sul projects offshore Brazil. The location is in the Santon basin presalt region, around 300 km (186 mi) from the coasts of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo states.




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Azerbaijan's ore to go to European markets in 2015 - August 18

The Azerbaijan Steel Production Complex CJSC said that Russian Electrostal Heavy Engineering Works OJSC and Dashkesan Ore Dressing Plant OJSC signed a contract.


The Dashkesan Ore Dressing Plant is a structural unit of the Azerbaijan Steel Production Complex CJSC.


Under the contract, modern equipment and spare parts will be purchased from Russia for the Dashkesan Plant. The equipment and spare parts will be used to modernize of the production process. The works specified in the contract, should be carried out by January 1st, 2015.


According to the message, Following the works, the iron ore concentrate's quality will rise from 60 to 66% to 7%, being accompanied with an increase in production capacity. This will allow the plant's products to go to European markets in 2015.


During its visit to Russia, the Azerbaijani delegation also got acquainted with the production process at two enterprises the Lebedinsky GOK and Oskol Electric and Steel Works, which are owned by the company 'Metalloinvest'.


These enterprises are located in the cities of Gubkin and Oskol of the Belgorod Province. They produce five million tons of iron per year. The use of these plants' experience is considered to be appropriate for development of possible cooperation directions.


Azerbaijan Steel Production Complex CJSC is also planning to send its employees to these enterprises to enhance their work experience.


Azerbaijan Steel Production Complex CJSC was created by presidential decree in April, 2013. It is engaged in the design, construction and management of a steel production complex in Ganja city and Dashkesan District of Azerbaijan.


The complex covers all production stages starting from iron ore mining up to steel production, and uses new technologies in this area, as well as modernizes material and technical base and its efficient use, and carries out other works related to this industry's development.




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Japanese steel mills to raise prices of wire rods prices for Oct shipment - TEX - August 16


TEX reported that export negotiations on steel wire rods for Asia by the Japanese blast furnace mills have started for October shipment.


It seems to be in the latter half of August for negotiations to go into full swing while a mill of them begins to offer its prices. Other mills have not fixed their offer prices yet but according to a feeling, they are on track to raise their prices by USD 20 to USD 30 from current ones.


In the environment of demand for wire rods in Asia, adverse factors are not found so far. The Chinese automotive industry is still strong. In Thailand, economic measures by the military Government have been penetrated, and manufacturing sectors like the automotive industry have not been worsened as much as initially expected. In Indonesia, although it has experienced a downturn in economic growth, production of wire rod users starting with car producers is said not to be bad. Therefore, it is said that demand in quantity is expected to be the same as this quarter.


Against the Japanese mills' price increase, customers are seen to rebel on the grounds of a price drop of raw materials for a blast furnace like iron ore. Against this, the Japanese mills have a policy to explain politely their necessity to raise prices due to increases of costs like an electricity charge and personnel expenses and to get consent.


A concern in the next quarter is that the No.4 wire rod mill (with a capacity of 700,000 tonnes a year) at the Pohang Steelworks of Korea's POSCO is said to have an enough capacity. Although its supply to Hyundai Motor is good, the company is thought to allocate certain quantity to export. The company had got orders below Japanese prices in the past. However, as the present management focuses on cost performance, its flexibility on prices like before is said to be narrowed.


Movement of the Chinese wire rod mills is also concerned. In the USA, Thailand and so on, an antidumping case has been filed against Chinese wire rods, and such wire rods are shut out. Chinese wire rod mills seem to seek outlets to Central and South America, Africa, Middle East and so on. Accordingly, there is a possibility for the market prices to be collapsed in the remote regions.




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Sumitomo joins Goldman in expecting the aluminum market to swing into deficit - August 14


According to trading house Sumitomo Corporation, the global aluminum market will swing into a deficit this year for the first time since 2006 as cuts in output deepen and demand from automakers grows.


Mr Shingi Yamagiwa Sumitomo’s manager of light metals trading said that “Global consumption will outpace supply by 61,000 tonnes in 2014, flipping from a surplus of 580,000 tonnes last year. The deficit will widen to 493,000 tons in 2015.


Sumitomo, which owns stakes in smelters from Malaysia and Australia to Brazil, joins Goldman Sachs Group Inc in predicting demand will overtake supply this year.


Goldman Sachs said recently that the world will face a 579,000 tonne shortfall after seven years of oversupply and low prices resulted in the closing or curtailment of 50 smelters.


Mr Yamagiwa said that “We’ve brought forward our deficit forecast to this year following more cutbacks amid strong demand, especially from North America.”


Sumitomo reversed its January projection, when it saw a surplus of 312,000 tons this year. Prices collapsed 36% from a peak in 2011 until the end of 2013, forcing producers to shut smelters to trim supplies. That process accelerated in January after Indonesia banned the export of unprocessed ores including bauxite, a raw material used to make aluminum.


The metal entered a bull market last month and prices are up 14% this year, the second most among the six main industrial metals traded on the London Metal Exchange.


Alcoa Inc the largest US aluminum producer, last month shut its facility in Point Henry, Australia and said that it will curb capacity at two smelters in Brazil, where producers are reducing output to the lowest in 12 years. Oslo based Norsk Hydro ASA said in May it would permanently close its Kurri Kurri plant in Australia.




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South Korea to return Japanese steel scrap due to radiation contamination - August 13


Reuters reported that South Korea plans to return some steel scrap imported from Japan due to radiation contamination, the first returned shipment since Seoul heightened nuclear safety checks in 2012.


A spokeswoman at the agency said that the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission detected caesium 137 at a higher than allowed level in 20 kilograms of steel scrap out of a total 20 tonnes imported earlier this month.


The scrap's origin within Japan was unidentifiable, according to the statement. Only the 20 kilogram of scrap, now stored separately, will be returned. South Korea imports steel scraps from various countries for recycling


The commission said that it planned to ask the Japanese government to cooperate on sharing information to prevent radioactive materials from being transferred between countries.


South Korea in September of last year extended a ban on Japanese fishery imports to cover imports from eight Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima.




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Saudi Arabia mining industry sustains development - August 12


Saudi Gazette reported that Saudi Arabia is accelerating its mineral resources development plan in an initiative that will facilitate the development of its mining sector.


Mr Sultan bin Jamal Shawli deputy Minister for Mineral Resources at Saudi Arabia’s Petroleum & Mineral Resources Ministry said that “The aim is to establish mining and its support services as the third pillar of the Saudi Arabian economy after hydrocarbons and petrochemicals. We have the minerals, the market and the potential to explore them. We are now turning to the private sector in the Kingdom and the world outside to help us achieve our ambitious goals.”


Dr Zohair A Nawab president of the Saudi Geological Survey, the Kingdom’s globally well respected minerals research and development agency based in Jeddah said that “Mineral deposits in Saudi Arabia are widespread and of many types, ranging from metallic and nonmetallic to lightweight aggregate. In the west, the Precambrian structure known as the Arabian Shield contains most of Saudi Arabia’s known metal deposits of gold, silver, copper, zinc, iron, and magnesium. East of the shield, the Phanerozoic zone contains oil resources and deposits of bauxite, phosphate, clay, limestone, silica sand, and lightweight aggregate that are of increasing importance to the industrial development of the kingdom. In total, these represent world class deposits.”


Mr Khalid S Al Mudaifer, president and CEO of the Saudi Arabian Mining Company, the Kingdom’s minerals and mining company said that “There is great potential in the Arabian Shield and an enormous diversity of minerals across the Kingdom. There is strong potential for further discoveries and these will require the application of modern techniques and a wide range of support services.”


Mr Al Mudaifer said that “The completion of Ma’aden Bauxite Mine, Alumina Refinery, Smelter and the Rolling Mill will be a historic moment for the minerals and mining industry of Saudi Arabia and the whole Middle East. It means Saudi Arabia will have the largest and most efficient vertically-integrated aluminum complex in the world. The projects are expected to support tens of thousands of jobs in downstream and support industries.”


He said that “We are exploring for and evaluating new mineral resources. We are evaluating the potential of several industrial minerals and base metal deposits. They include refractory clays, low-grade bauxite, kyanite, graphite, pure limestone, potash and iron ore. Base metals under consideration include copper, lead, zinc and nickel and copper deposits.”




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Hermes betting against zinc as smelters boosting output - Aug 11


Hermes Fund Managers Limited the pension fund manager with USD 1.6 billion in commodities, is betting against zinc as smelters in China will be encouraged to boost output to take advantage of higher prices.


Mr Joseph Murphy an analyst at Hermes said that “Stockpiles in bonded warehouses in China are rising. Money managers were the most bullish on zinc out of six main industrial metals on the London Metal Exchange as of August 1 with stockpiles in bourse-approved depots falling 26% this year.”


Mr Murphy said that “The market is seeing LME stocks drawing but is not appreciating that bonded are rising at the same time. There is a huge incentive for smelters to produce more. In the next few months, the fizzle will come off zinc.”


Zinc for delivery in three months declined 1.7% to USD 2,290.25 per tonne on the LME, trimming this year’s advance to 12%. Prices climbed the past four months, the longest streak since October 2010 amid expectations supplies will fall short of demand.


BNP Paribas SA said that the metal will average USD 2,205 per tonne this quarter and USD 2,270 per tonne in the Q4. Refined zinc demand will exceed supply by 250,000 tonnes in 2014 and 200,000 tonnes next year.




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Ausdrill off 9pct on AUD 90 million impairment - August 9>


Business Spectator reported that shares in Ausdrill have fallen after it flagged an impairment of up to AUD 90 million before tax, saying recovery in the mining services sector will be slower than earlier expected as the weak iron ore price weighs.


The group said that it had reviewed the carrying value of assets and expects to report a non cash impairment expense of between AUD 60 million and AUD 90 million in its full year results.


The company said that a review of the company’s longer term forecast on the back of the recent fall in the iron ore price and continued challenging market conditions have resulted in a view being taken that the recovery of the Australian mining services sector will be slower than Ausdrill had previously anticipated.


Ausdrill said that it is focused on improving performance and reducing debt, reaffirming plans to deleverage the business over the next 12 months. The group also flagged a corporate income tax expense in Mali of approximately AUD 2.7 million in the full year, after being notified its tax exemption has been withdrawn.


The iron ore price was trading at USD 95.50 per tonne overnight and has recently lifted off its lows after falling to USD 89 per tonne in June. So far this year it has lost more than 30%.




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Pakistan Government to release fourth bailout tranche to PSM - August 8


The News reported that the government would release fourth tranche of at least PKR 2.5 billion from its bailout package of PKR 18.5 billion to Pakistan Steel Mills later this month though the steel maker failed to bring production at 20% level in July. PSM production dropped to 8% in July as its 18 out of 20 plants were closed.


Mr Muhammad Zubair chairman of Privatisation Commission said that “We are aware of the situation emerged due to water and electricity crises at Pakistan Steel Mills. The situation will not stop release of next tranche. The commission in April linked the release of tranches with the achievement of the set production targets: 20% in July and 10% in each subsequent month.”


An official of PSM said that the steel mills recorded only 8% production of the installed capacity in July. The water level was improving and management of PSM may consider resumption of one or more plants in a day or two.


He said that PSM is required to maintain at least 110 million gallons. Only 25 million to 26 million gallons water was available a day before yesterday, while PSM needs 15 million to 16 million gallons water per day to cool its production plants.


He added that since May to date, the ministry of finance has given PKR 9.57 billion in three tranches. The next tranche may be released on August 20 to 22 2014. The mills has used the received funds for importing raw material (coal and iron ore) and paying salaries, perks and utility bills.




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Unions call on Victorian govt to use local steel to secure jobs - August 7


The Age reported that steelworkers are calling on the Victorian government to ensure that local steel is used to build its signature road project, the East West Link, amid rising fears of further job cuts from the struggling manufacturing sector.


Unions said that up to 800 jobs would be secured if the builders of the USD 8 billion first stage of the East West Link used locally produced steel, instead of importing cheaper steel from overseas.


More than 150 workers staged a protest at the Port of Melbourne, where local steel fabricators missed out on 25,000 tonnes of work earlier this year for the USD 1.6 billion expansion of Webb Dock.


Mr Terry Mulder roads minister of Victoria has moved to reassure workers that short listed bidders for the East West Link have been advised they must spend at least 80 per cent of costs locally.


A spokeswoman for Mr Mulder said that “The majority of the steel will be sourced from Australia. The guidelines clearly encourage content to be sourced from Australia.


The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said that the Napthine government's minimum local content requirements did not prevent contractors from using imported steel and called for a stronger commitment surrounding the East West Link.


Mr Steve Dargavel State secretary said that the criteria used to determine the 80 per cent local content spend was questionable and factored in post-construction costs, such as maintenance for the life of the project. Locking out local steel fabricators from major government projects results in Victorians being sacked. 'We need real commitments and that comes down to political will.''


Mr Ben Davis state secretary of the Australian Workers Union said that shudder went through the Victorian steel industry when the government announced that Webb Dock would be redeveloped with imported steel. The majority of first world countries do not import steel, full stop so why are we any different in Victoria?




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Reliance Steel & Aluminum completes acquisition of Aluminium Services UK - August 6


Reliance Steel & Aluminum Company announced that, effective August 1st 2014, it has acquired all of the capital stock of Aluminium Services UK Limited, the holding company parent of All Metal Services, the world's largest independent raw material service provider to the aerospace and defense industries.


Established in 1974, AMS provides comprehensive materials management solutions to leading aerospace and defense OEMs and their subcontractors on a global basis, supporting customers in more than 40 countries worldwide. AMS offers a broad range of aerospace metals including aluminum, steel, titanium, nickel alloys and aluminum bronze, offering full or cut to size materials. AMS also offers in house machining and water-jet cutting for more complex requirements.


AMS has five locations in the United Kingdom (London, Belfast, Birmingham, Bolton and Bristol), along with locations in France, Malaysia and China as well as a sales office in India. Net sales for AMS were approximately GBP 174.9 million for the twelve months ended December 31st 2013. AMS will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co., through UK holding companies. Current management will remain in place. Additional transaction terms were not disclosed.


Mr David H Hannah chairman and CEO of Reliance said that "We are excited to expand our aerospace presence in this growing market. This acquisition is especially attractive given the current and anticipated growth of the global aerospace industry. AMS is a well established and trusted supplier to the aerospace and defense markets and we look forward to continuing to support their existing global customer base while maximizing opportunities for growth."




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Poseidon Nickel reveals 178,700t nickel metal resource at Black Swan - August 5


Poseidon Nickel has now revealed a JORC 2012 Resource estimate of 30.7 million tonnes at 0.58% for 178,700 tonnes contained nickel for the recently acquired Black Swan Project.


Poseidon is acquiring the Black Swan Project from OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel, and as the new project owner has now reported the resource to JORC 2012 standards as required.


The Black Swan resource includes an Indicated Resource of 8.4 million tonnes at 0.70% nickel, for 59,100 tonnes contained nickel.


Poseidon’s total resource base has now more than doubled to over 330,000 tonnes of contained nickel.


Golder Associates Private Limited have now re estimated the resource, and are familiar with Black Swan having previously carried out previous resource estimation work for Norilsk Nickel


Poseidon is looking to move Black Swan forward quickly, and has contracts for pre-start engineering activities, which are expected to be completed by the end of the month.


Last month Poseidon made a game changing pathway to production acquisition of the Black Swan processing plant from Norilsk Nickel that removes the AUD 300 million Capex from the equation. The cost was AUD 1.5 million.


As well as the ability to process large nickel inventory on site and the increase in throughput capacity. The processing plant will be able to process Windarra ores in addition to the large remaining nickel inventory on site.


The acquisition includes the Black Swan processing plant and Black Swan open pit mine containing 185,800 tonnes nickel in ore.




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Atlas Holdings and Turnspire Capital partner with Founder Don to acquire banker steel - August 4


Atlas Holdings LLC, through its operating company, Bridge Fabrication Holdings LLC, together with Turnspire Capital Partners LLC announced that they have partnered with Don Banker to acquire Banker Steel Company LLC, a structural steel fabrication business based in Lynchburg, VA Mr Don Banker will continue as the company’s Chief Executive Officer and will retain a significant ownership interest. Further terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Banker Steel Company LLC is a leading fabricator of structural steel components used in commercial and infrastructure projects. Founded in 1997 by Don and Carol Banker, the company’s reputation as one of the premier steel fabricators in the country is based on providing value added services throughout the construction process, beginning with design assistance and extending through Banker Steel’s strong network of sub contractors and erectors used to assemble projects on site.


The company operates from two fabrication facilities in Lynchburg, VA and one in Orlando, FL which aggregate a total of 340,000 square feet with a capacity of 600,000 man hours, or production of up to 50,000 tons of steel fabrications per annum.


The company’s strong market presence and recognition as a high quality and reliable supplier has resulted in Banker Steel being the fabricator of choice on a number of marquee projects, including Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, the award winning Washington Nationals Park in Washington, DC and the Hudson Yards, the largest mixed use development in New York City since Rockefeller Center.


Atlas Holdings Partner Ed Fletcher said that “We are tremendously excited to welcome Don, his wife Carol and the rest of the Banker team to the Atlas family. Under Don’s leadership, Banker Steel has built a stellar industry reputation that is well-deserved. We look forward to partnering with Don to expand his structural steel fabrication footprint by leveraging the Atlas team of Operating Partners and financial resources.”


Mr Don Banker president and CEO of Banker Steel said that “Atlas’ track record of building companies that consistently outperform their peers made this partnership decision an easy one. Atlas already has a strong understanding of the steel fabrication industry and our partnership has begun at an ideal time for Banker Steel as we continue to see substantial urban construction opportunities in our core geographic markets.”


Mr Michael Khutorsky, Managing Partner of Turnspire said that “We are delighted to partner with Don and Atlas. Banker Steel is a perfect fit for Turnspire’s strategy of investing in high-quality businesses with tremendous value creation opportunities. We look forward to collectively working together to take the Company to the next level.”




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Mittal and Glencore said to be among potential Simandou bids - August 2


Bloomberg reported that Lakshmi Mittal’s ArcelorMittal and Glencore Plc are among potential bidders for Guinea’s Simandou project, the world’s largest untapped iron ore deposit after it was seized from Israeli billionaire Mr Beny Steinmetz in April.


People familiar with its plans said that ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, has declared an interest in the bidding process for two licenses covering the Simandou project in Guinea, according to four people who asked not to be identified as the talks aren’t public. Glencore is also interested.


Leading mining and steelmaking companies are jostling for a share of the riches contained in Simandou, a remote, iron bearing mountain range, to take advantage of prices for the raw material that have risen about 50% since 2008. Guinea has estimated that Simandou may cost USD 20 billion to develop, largely because it needs a 650 kilometer rail link.


The iron ore position of Glencore pales in comparison with rivals BHP Billiton Limited, Rio Tinto Group and Vale S Still, CEO Mr Ivan Glasenberg has previously expressed reluctance to invest in expensive new mining operations known as greenfield projects. The rail and port component of Simandou has been estimated to cost more than USD 10 billion.


An external spokesman for the government said that the government of Guinea is confident of a strong line up of interested parties in the Simandou concession.


Guinea in April revoked rights to half the Simandou project controlled by a venture between Steinmetz’s BSG Resources Limited and Brazil’s Vale, following claims of bribery and corruption. The decision has sparked legal battles for control of the asset.


BSGR plans international arbitration with Guinea over the seized licenses, it said after being stripped of the asset. Any attempt to negotiate fresh rights to Simandou would be challenged as unlawful.


Rio in April sued Vale, Steinmetz and BSGR, saying they conspired to steal rights to Simandou. The three deny any wrongdoing. A Guinean review in April said the evidence suggested Vale wasn’t involved in corruption. Vale and BSGR had planned a USD 10 billion mine, port and rail project on the coveted, iron rich ground.




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An embargo on Russia's Norilsk Nickel would hurt West - August 1


Mr Patrick Buffet CEO of Eramet said that "Nobody expects sanctions against Russia and Norilsk would affect Norilsk's production since it would sell to China if it couldn't sell elsewhere."


Mr Buffet said that "It's unlikely an embargo by Europe would materialise, because it would be shooting itself in the foot, since Norilsk could ship its production to Asia, creating a shortage in Europe and oversupply in Asia. The consequence would be a jump in physical premiums in Europe and a discount in Asia."


He said that the most likely scenario for western restrictions against Norilsk would be a US only embargo, which would push up nickel premiums there but not hit the world market. Nickel prices have already rallied this year after a ban by Indonesia on nickel ore exports curbed supply to China.


Mr Buffet said that a joint embargo by the United States and Europe against Norilsk would contribute to that rally, but the biggest impact on world prices is likely to come from an expected upturn in Chinese demand.


He said that Chinese stocks of Indonesian nickel ore are estimated to have fallen by half in the past five months, suggesting they could run dry within the next few months and prompt a jump in Chinese import demand.

Reuters reported that an embargo against Norilsk Nickel as part of Western sanctions against Russia would hurt nickel users in Europe and the United States rather than Norilsk itself.


Norilsk, the world's largest producer of the stainless steel ingredient, has not been targeted so far by western measures aimed at punishing Russia for its support of pro Moscow rebels in neighbouring Ukraine.




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West African Minerals delighted with new deposits in Cameroon and Sierra Leone - July 31


West African Minerals has identified two new potential iron ore deposits in Cameroon and Sierra Leone from its recent geophysics and mapping programme.


At Sanaga, in Cameroon, WAFM will now carry out reconnaissance drilling and first stage metallurgy after a magnetic survey confirmed large areas of magnetite rich material at the surface and close to rail, port and power infrastructure.


Because of this potential, follow-up work at Binga, also in Cameroon and where WAFM has carried out some preliminary work is being deferred while the drilling at Sanaga is carried out.


Mr Anton Mauve MD of WAFM said that “The economics of the two new finds eclipsed results from its work on other licences in the region. Sanaga surprised in a very positive way and now outweighs Binga and everything else, though Madina ranked a very close second.


He said that “Sanaga was the last lease we got to and it wasn’t until we had a good look with detailed mapping and ground geophysics that we realised it all added up and was a phenomenal deposit. The key issue now is the metallurgical test as we know the iron grade and volumes are there.”


Mr Mauve said that results from the metallurgical work should be ready in 6 to 8 weeks or possibly even earlier, after which it will make a decision on which deposit it start drilling, though it seems pretty clear he expects Sanaga to be the priority going forward. For resource quality, style of resource, for shape, for proximity of infrastructure, existing infrastructure it (Sanaga) ticks all of the boxes. The only one it doesn’t yet is metallurgy, which we are working on currently.”


He said that Madina, too, has turned out far better than expectations. Located 70 kilometers from London Mining’s Marampa mine on the same hematite formation, it hoped to use six trenches dug recently to indicate a 100 MT deposit with good grades. But we know it’s going to better than that,” after a strike 1.5 kilometers in length with an average width at surface of 220 metres. First assays showed grades of between 38.5% and 41.4% iron.


He added that WAFM is looking at its options for Madina, which range from a standalone operation to a disposal perhaps to one of the nearby operations or even to overseas buyers.




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China stainless steel sheets and coil exports declines in June - July 30


According to the Chinese customs, stainless steel sheets and coil exports of China in the month of June 2014 was about 268,143 tonnes, declined by 18.2% from the previous month exports


In the month of June, according to the Chinese customs data, Taiwan was the largest importer of Chinese stainless steel and coils, by importing about 90,733 tonnes. When compared to previous month, it has decreased by 4.1%.


Korea was on the second position by importing about 51,575 tonnes of Chinese stainless steel sheets and coils, decreased by 9.9% and Italy was the third largest importer with 22,824 tonnes, declined by 24.1% when compared to the same month figure of previous year.




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Moody's to upgrade ratings of TATA Steel and British arm - July 29


PTI reported that Moody's Investors Service has put TATA Steel's corporate family rating of Ba3 and British arm's corporate family rating of B3 on review for upgrade, following the successful sale of unrated debt worth USD 1.5 billion last week.


The international rating agency also said it will be upgrading other ratings of the Group such as TATA Steel UK's probability of default rating of B3-PD and the B3/LGD 3 (49%) rating of its term loan facility.


The review upgrade has been triggered by the issuance of USD 1.5 billion worth bonds by ABJA Investment, guaranteed by TATA Steel and rapid progress made on the refinancing of British unit's senior facilities agreement.


Moody's Asia VP for corporate finance group Mr Alan Greene and its Managing Director Mr Philipp L Lotter said that "On the back of improving sentiment in Europe and India, Tata Steel has been able to make swift progress on the refinancing of its European assets and opportunistically tap global markets to lock in cheaper funding for the group."


They said that “The review will focus on assessing the terms and conditions of the refinancing and its implications for the links between Tata Steel Britain and its parent, as well as the operational profiles of both the British arm and TATA Steel.”


They noted that the UK arm has improved the cost profile of its plants and generated five consecutive quarters of positive Ebitda despite a fragile recovery in European demand.


However, the agency has warned that while it expects TATA Steel UK to maintain positive Ebitda in FY 2015, with Ebitda per tonne at USD 40 per tonne and reduce its reliance on the cash support from its parent, it is unclear how it can sustainably return to positive cash flow and pay back the debt. The Group as a whole has close.


Mr Greene said that "TATA Steel's Ba3 rating has been held back by TATA Steel UK's weak performance in recent years. With the British arm now on a better footing both operationally, and financially, the strength of the parent can better benefit the Group."




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Thyssen hires Deutsche Bank to manage VDM unit sale - July 28


Reuters reported that German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp has picked Deutsche Bank to manage the sale of its high performance alloy unit VDM, as it renews efforts to draw a line under an ill fated venture.


Two people familiar with the matter said that the sale process is not expected to start until more restructuring measures have been taken at VDM. Thyssen may even decide to keep the asset if offer prices remain significantly below its book value.


VDM, which expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of between EUR 60 million and 70 million this year, may be valued at more than EUR 500 million in sale.


ThyssenKrupp was forced to take back VDM and Italian steel plant Terni valued at a combined EUR 950 million from Finland's Outokumpu last year. It had sold its stainless steel business Inoxum which included the two units to Outokumpu in 2012, but the Finnish group almost bankrupted itself in the process.


ThyssenKrupp and Outokumpu, like other steelmakers in Europe, have faced weak demand as construction and metal engineering customers have held back purchases.


Outokumpu said that it expected its operating loss to widen in the Q3 due to slow summer sales in Europe. Thyssen will publish Q3 earnings on August 14. Last week, Thyssen presented a revamp plan for the Terni plant that entails cutting about 550 jobs and EUR 100 million in annual costs for the loss-making site.


Outokumpu itself had also tried to sell VDM. Private equity investors such as Lindsay Goldberg, KPS Capital, Triton, Pamplona and Advent had shown interest in the asset.


The same list of bidders may again look at the asset, as may Europe's third-largest stainless steelmaker Aperam and Russian tycoon Viktor Vekselberg, owner of Swiss steelmaker Schmolz + Bickenbach.


VDM has about 2,000 employees and offers metal products such as nickel alloys, titanium alloys or special stainless steels, used in highly corrosive environments such as in chemicals processing and the oil and gas sector.


VDM was created as Vereinigte Deutsche Metallwerke in 1930 by a merger of two German metal groups. In 1988, it was bought by Krupp, the steelmaker which eventually merged with Thyssen.




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China's decrease in real estate sales show weak market conditions - July 23


China’s real estate sector is a key component of the country’s economic activity. It accounts for 11% of its gross domestic product. Historically, changes in real estate activity have trended with the overall economy. China is the largest importer of iron ore. It’s also the second largest importer of coking coal, which is used to make steel a key material used to construct buildings in China. As a result, China’s real estate activity positively correlates with shipping demand.


June climate index;


For June, 2014, China’s Real Estate Climate Index stood at 95 consistent with the levels last year and also with the previous month’s levels. The Composite Index was developed by China’s National Bureau of Statistics. It measures the aggregate business activity for land, capital, and sales of real estate, which is useful in showing the trend of the Chinese real estate market. Figures above 100 show prosperity or economic growth.


China RE ClimateEnlarge Graph;


Meanwhile, in June, home sales in China increased 32.5% from levels in May as state controlled banks offered more credit to buyers to prevent a slowdown in the sector. However, on YoY basis sales dipped by 5.4% indicating that the cash strapped developers were cutting prices and offering other incentives to entice buyers and reduce inventories of unsold homes in a weakening market.




In order to support the housing sector, Beijing planned cuts in taxes and loosened monetary policy to ramp up activity in the sector. Also, with June bank lending coming in stronger there are indications that policymakers have adopted cooling down measures.


With demand from China slowing down, the dry bulk shipping companies to watch out are DryShips Inc, Diana Shipping Inc., Knightsbridge Tankers Limited, Navios Maritime Partners LP and Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc.




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London copper near three week trough as surplus on horizon - July 22


Reuters reported that London copper held near its lowest in three weeks hemmed in by nagging worries over China's property sector and a big Chinese stock build that highlighted an expected market surplus in the H2.




1. Three month copper on the London Metal Exchange was steady at USD 6985 a tonne by 0034 GMT, after small losses in the previous session. LME copper fell 2.4% last week, its biggest weekly fall since mid March.


2. The most traded September copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped by 1.1% in Monday's overnight session to CNY 49,190 per tonne it weakest level in nearly a month.


2. The most traded September copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped by 1.1% in Monday's overnight session to CNY 49,190 per tonne it weakest level in nearly a month.


4. The head of the International Monetary Fund warned on Friday that financial markets were perhaps too upbeat because high unemployment and high debt in Europe could drag down investment and hurt future growth prospects.


5. Copper inventories in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 28.9 percent from last Friday.


6. Chinese Premier Mr Li Keqiang said that economic growth of slightly more or less than 7.5% this year would be acceptable as long it still led to new jobs and higher wages.


7. Production at Collahuasi, one of the world's largest copper mines, will be slightly higher in 2014 than last year.




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London Mining boosts Sierra Leone iron ore output - July 19


Reuters reported that London Mining Plc raised quarterly production at its iron ore mine in Sierra Leone after upgrading a processing plant and it expects to find a strategic partner by the end of the year.


Iron ore production at the Marampa mine rose 21% in the Q2. London Mining reiterated its full year 2014 production target of 4.9 million to 5.4 million wet tonnes of iron ore concentrate.


The company has previously announced its intention to divest a minority stake in Marampa to help accelerate expansion of the mine.


Mr Graeme Hossie CEO of London Mining said that "We intend to deliver a positive outcome for shareholders from our strategic partner process before the end of 2014."


Iron ore miners worldwide have been hit by weakening prices, even as major producers like Rio Tinto Plc and Vale SA ramp up output and cut costs.


London Mining said that it was in talks with banks to secure a short term USD 25 million loan and that it had drawn down USD 17.5 million loan from Swiss trader Vitol as part payment on 500,000 tonnes of future exports.


The company, which started shipping ore from Marampa mine in 2011, produced 1.17 million wet metric tonnes in the Q2.


It said it did not expect an outbreak of the Ebola virus to affect production at Marampa. Preventative measures, including isolation and screening facilities, have been put in place after an outbreak of the deadly virus in in eastern Sierra Leone.




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TEX updates negotiations on HR coils for remote regions pass peak for Aug shipment - July 18


In negotiations on hot rolled (HR) steel coils for the remote regions like Middle East and Central and South America by the Japanese mills, prices begin to be settled at levelling off. The hardest part of negotiations is felt to be over. Meantime, Chinese products were inbound in the South American region like Peru and Chile and HR coil prices in both countries are dropping by around USD 20. There is a possibility for such prices to have dipped below USD 500 on FOB basis.


In general, contracted prices in July have been maintained despite of being on a weak note in countries where Chinese products are not inbound. Cheap prices of Russia and Ukraine are in a state not to be found. As there is demand in its own way, prices are kept at USD 570 to USD 580 CFR in the Middle Eastern region. It is said that offers at cheap prices from European mills toward the summer holiday cannot be found. The price recovery of HR coils within the European region is said to be behind the backdrop of it.


It is said that sale at cheap prices by Indian mills cannot be also found at present. It is because blast furnace mills are seen to be moving to raise their domestic prices in that country.


In September, relining works of blast furnaces are commenced by Baoshan Iron & Steel of China and so on. Then, the balance of supply and demand in China is expected to be tightened more than at present. If export from China decreases, it is in the environment that there could be price recovery as it is the autumn season for demand to increase, so the Japanese mills are thought to challenge an increase in price again.




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SEAA names 2013 Steel Erection Projects of the year winners - July 17


Steel Erectors Association of America announced the winners of its annual Project of the Year comp


Mr Tom Underhill executive director of SEAA said that “Since the contest’s inception more than 10 years ago, SEAA has recognized complex and unique steel erection projects throughout the world. Past projects demonstrated successful completion while overcoming unusual conditions, tight time constraints, or other challenges. The 2013 winners reflect the importance of safety while sticking to the job’s schedule.”


1. LPR Construction Company, Loveland, Colo, for Denver Union Station Train Canopy. (Class I—Under USD 500,000); The visual centerpiece of Denver’s transit center project in Lower Downtown’s residential and nightlife district is the canopy of Train Hall. The sculptural canopy is supported by a skeleton of steel tubes, a curving structure that is 70’ tall at each end and 22’ tall in the center. Its length is nearly 1-1/2 football fields long.


LPR Construction worked within a 10-month long erection process that had to be precisely orchestrated as the project involved extremely tight site constraints, and concurrent construction of the RTD bus station within the footprint of the Train Hall below grade. The canopy is held up by 32 arched cantilevered steel trusses of various lengths and 11 arched steel trusses that span 176 feet and are raised about 18 feet above the pedestrian level. The trusses are held together by thousands of pinned, bolted and welded joints and are supported by A-frame kickstand column pairs that cantilever out of the ground and carry the loads down to the pile foundations.


2. JPW Structural Contracting and JPW Erectors, Syracuse, NY, for the Destiny Regal Theater in Syracuse. (Class II—USD 500,000 to USD 1 million); Regal Entertainment Group wanted to add IMAX and RPX theaters to the company’s 17 screen complex in time for the premier of Superman: Man of Steel. Remaining on schedule was a priority in order to meet with the release of the movie. The challenge was to complete work while the mall remained fully operational during the harsh, winter months. All steel was erected in the blind. Many pieces weighed 11,000 pounds and the crane was lifting at close to maximum capacity at its 300-foot radius.


JPW worked closely with mall management and security to coordinate traffic (22 million people annually visit the sixth largest mall in the U.S.) where a 300-ton Link Belt crawler crane with 400 ft. boom was assembled, operated, and disassembled.


3. JP Cullen, Janesville, Wis, for the Deep Space Auditorium in Verona, Wis. (Class III—Over USD 1 million); Deep Space is an 11,400 seat auditorium for Epic Systems Inc a medical software company in Verona, Wis. The auditorium was built for the company’s Annual User Group Meeting, monthly staff meetings, and events on the 811 acre campus. The 830,000 square feet auditorium contains more than 17,000 tonnes of structural steel.


Epic wanted the auditorium to look invisible, as if it were a cave carved into a hill. Deep Space stands five stories tall, but from the southeast it appears to be below ground. From the west, a glass curtain wall with stone façade resembles a natural cave. Deep Space also features a 6-acre rolling green roof allowing people to walk on top of the building. The roof is a free span design measuring 110 ft. wide at the front and more than 650 ft. along the back radius with trusses spanning up to 280 feet.


4. Honorable Mention: Peterson Beckner Industries (PBI), Houston, Texas, for the ExxonMobile Campus Project - Energy Center in Spring,Texas. (Class III—Over USD 1 million); The Energy Center is the gateway to ExxonMobil’s new office building campus that will house approximately 10,000 employees. The entire project consists of approximately 20 buildings, including low-rise offices, parking garages, a wellness center and child development center. The Energy Center is the architectural gem of the complex. Energy Center consists of 180’x180’x50’ tall steel framed, glass-enclosed structure perched on 60 ft. cantilevered sections of two opposing 210’x90’x100’ tall structures. Framing included heavy built-up box members up to 4.5” thick.


Mr Craig Peterson project manager of SEAA said that “Probably the most daunting task was to properly position the heavy node weldments, which in many cases had six members framing into them. If the columns weren’t kept close to perfectly plumb, and all bearing surfaces properly seated, the geometry of the framing of the heavy braced lines above would result in major problems down the line. Careful attention to placement of mill to bear members and proper welding procedures resulted in final location of Cube trusses, including expected deflections, within 1 of theoretical in all directions.”




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Newport steel firm playing key role in construction of West Ham's new stadium - July 16


It is reported that Newport steel specialist Pro Steel secures GBP 1 million loan to carry out key work on West Ham FC's new stadium.


A specialist in steel construction and engineering has secured GBP 1 million loan from Finance Wales to carry out key work on a new stadium for football club West Ham at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.


Newport based Pro Steel Engineering, which specializes in professional project management and construction services, has secured the finance from the Welsh Government’s Wales Capital Growth Fund, managed by Finance Wales.


The loan will provide working capital to deliver part of the GBP 200 million Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park strengthening and remodelling project. The firm is the first to benefit from investment from the Wales Capital Growth Fund, which was created in response to demand from Welsh SMEs for short-term working capital and performance bond requirements.


With West Ham United having taken a 99 year tenancy of the Olympic Park stadium, the redevelopment which will create nearly 100 sub contractor jobs for Pro Steel’s team will see the stadium transformed into a UEFA Category 4 venue, seating more than 54,000 spectators. It is scheduled for completion in 2016.




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Deadline closes for bidding for assets of Lucchini - July 15


Italian media reported that the deadline for submission of binding offers for assets of Italian steel maker Lucchini expired on July 14th 2014


As per an exclusive report in The Mint, India’s JSW Steel Ltd made an offer to buy parts of Lucchini SpA’s plant. The reported quoted a Lucchini spokesperson as saying that “JSW made an offer for three rolling mills and some other parts of the plant. JSW was the only one to make an offer for the rolling mills for making wire rods, bars and rails.”


He however said that “There were four other offers but those were for other parts of the plant including some other companies in which Lucchini has stakes.”


Lucchini, formerly owned by Russia's Severstal, has a capacity of about 2.5 million tonnes making it Italy’s second largest steel plant. On 21 December 2012, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development has admitted Lucchini SpA to the extraordinary administration procedure under the Decree Law 347 of 23 December 2003, as converted into Law No. 39 of 18 February 2004 (Marzano Law) and appointed Special Commissioner Dr. Piero Nardi.




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Feng Hsin to keep prices flat for rebar and section steel this week - June 10


Feng Hsin Iron & Steel Company, one of the major steel long product manufacturers in Taiwan announced to remain its prices for rebar, section steel and scrap purchasing price unchanged for this week.


After the announcement, its list prices for rebar are at TWD 17,900 per tonne those for section steel remained at TWD 19,700 per tonne to TWD 19,900 per tonne. Its scrap purchasing prices are at TWD 10,300 per tonne.




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BHP Billiton happy to trail Rio in driverless road and rail - July 9


SMH reported that when it comes to breaking new ground on technology in the mining industry, BHP Billiton is happy to be first to be second..


Mr Mr Jimmy Wilson president of BHP iron ore said that “Rio Tinto is ahead of BHP on autonomous trucks and rail in the Pilbara, but that for any technology, the second generation is always better than the first.”


Mr Wilson said that “We don't have a deep desire to be first. We do have the need, however, to exploit the value that technology brings quickly and we would hate to see a competitor have that advantage for an extended period of time. We don't foresee that in either autonomous trucks or rail.”


He said that BHP can take some of the lessons that others have learnt globally from employing autonomous technology, citing work by Rio Tinto and Chinalco. The approach that I've taken throughout my career with technology is, quite simply, that it is great to be first to be second. So, BHP is interested in technological innovation when it is demonstrable it will benefit it.


Technology is important in the mining industry, particularly as a means of managing costs. In Western Australia, labour shortages and high equipment costs have put pressure on the industry and automation is a means of alleviating that.


BHP has 12 trucks running at its newest Pilbara operation, Jimblebar but Mr Wilson said that while the project is going well, BHP is not in a position that we can roll it out in the organisation just yet.


Rio has 53 autonomous trucks at three mine sites and may trial its first autonomous train later this year. It is spending USD 520 million on the introduction of autonomous trains on its Pilbara rail network to be rolled out next year.


Mr Wilson said that BHP is looking at automating trains but cautions that given the scale and value of the cargo, complete automation is unlikely. We are always going to want to have a person in a train so if things do go wrong, we can react very quickly; the economics drive us to make those decisions.




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Output cuts expected to shrink China aluminium surplus - July 8


coming-soon (Follow @MetalsGuru on Twitter for important updates) Reuters reported that rising demand and the closure of some 2 million tonnes of aluminium capacity are likely to shrink an expected surplus of the metal in China this year.


That would help reinvigorate aluminium prices in the world's top consumer and producer of the commodity, underpinning a global benchmark that has already risen around 15% since touching its lowest in over four years in February.


Mr Wang Chunhui Shanghai based analyst at information provider SMM said that "The surplus looks better than what we expected at the beginning of the year.”


He now forecasts a surplus of less than 500,000 tonnes half the 1 million tonnes touted by analysts and smelters earlier in 2014. Smelters closed about 2 million tonnes of high cost capacity between late 2013 and May 2014 as prices tanked on worries over the surplus and as the economy slowed.


Although around 200,000 tonnes to 500,000 tonnes has come back online as domestic prices rose from 5 year lows touched in March, market participants said the closures would be enough to severely dent any production surplus even with more restarts expected later in the year.


An executive at a state owned aluminium smelter said that demand and supply would be in balance in 2014. He declined to be identified as he was not authorised to speak with media.


Official data showed that China's primary aluminium production grew 7.9% from the year before in the first 5 months of 2014 to 9.59 million tonnes, lower than an 8.2% rise in the same months last year.


Robust demand is also likely to sap any production surplus, with recent data indicating China's economy is stabilising. The executive at the state owned smelter said appetite for aluminium had climbed in the Q2 from the first quarter and a year ago due to consumption from the transport sector, as well as growing exports.


A senior executive at a large factory which uses primary aluminium to make semi finished products in Shandong province said that the firm's sales of products used in the transport sector had risen 30% to 40% in the first half from a year ago. We see aluminium prices between CNY 13,000 and CNY 14,000 in the H2.




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Can mining companies survive USD 90 per tonne iron ore prices? - July 7


Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services observed that if iron ore prices stagnate at USD 90 per tonne through 2015, some miners key credit metrics might worsen significantly, based on scenario analysis on 10 major iron ore producers.


S&P Credit Analysts Mr May Zhong, Mr Diego H. Ocampo, Mr Andrey Nikolaev, Ms Amanda Buckland, Mr Elad Jelasko, and Mr Xavier Jean said that “In particular, miners with large iron ore exposure, but are unable to cut costs and are saddled with debt, will face a severe deterioration in earnings and credit metrics.”


They said that “Whether this deterioration triggers a downgrade depends critically on a mining company’s financial flexibility. If a miner can defer its capital expenditure and conserve cash, its credit quality should be able to withstand sliding iron ore prices. In addition, diversified mining companies are well placed, as they can rely on commodities with more resilient prices, such as oil.”


The credit ratings agency said that another important factor is the movement of mining companies’ local currencies, which could affect their costs and revenues. We observed that major players Australia’s BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto, PLC, and Brazil’s Vale S.A, can accommodate declining earnings should iron ore prices stay at USD 90 per ton through to the end of 2015.


Other iron ore mines, Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. and Brazil’s Samarco Mineracoa, S.A., too, should have sufficient buffer in their credit metrics to absorb the lower iron ore prices, notwithstanding the moderate impact on their earnings.


On the other hand, downward rating pressures could arise for Australia’s Atlas Iron Ltd., US based Cliffs Natural Resources Inc and South America’s CAP SA.”


Cliffs’ high cost structure and leverage profile following its acquisition of Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines in 2011 reduced its ability to absorb earnings deterioration at its current ratings.


On the other hand, Anglo American PLC is well diversified by commodity type; the impact of the US$90 per ton price will be low relative to pure iron ore miners. However, as its metrics are already under pressure because of its plans for large capital expenditure in 2014 and 2015, we believe that lower iron ore prices could further contribute to rating downside.


Among the global miners, we consider BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, and Vale as being the most financially flexible to respond to weakening iron ore prices. They can defer their capital expenditure or sell their noncore assets. Nonetheless, we see that BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have limited flexibility to adjust dividends amid weaker commodity prices due to their commitment to a progressive dividend policy.


Meanwhile, Vale’s leverage is increasing due to the additional debt associated with a tax settlement with the Brazilian government. Nonetheless, we believe that Vale will manage its investments in line with market conditions. Should iron ore prices fall to less than US$100 per ton for a prolonged period, the company has some financial flexibility to revise and postpone some projects.




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Anglesey Mining updates on mineral interests in North Wales and Sweden - July 5


Anglesey Mining PLC issued a statement, updating on its major areas of mineral interest in North Wales and Sweden.


The company has been actively pursuing the restart of development activities at the Grangesberg iron ore mine in Sweden. Activities had been largely suspended for a number of months during the period in which private Swedish company Grangesberg Iron AB was undergoing corporate reconstruction and refinancing.


Back in May, Anglesey Mining made an agreement giving it the right to acquire a controlling interest in the Grangesberg Iron project in Sweden from Roslagen Resources AB.


Anglesey said that it had initially bought a 6% stake in Grangesberg Iron AB, with the target of re-opening the historic iron ore mine in Grangesberg. It also has the option to acquire a further 51% of the enlarged share capital of Grangesberg, which it will pay in the form of shares.


The company said that two major activities are now being progressed that together will enable GIAB and Anglesey to progress the development plan for the reopening of the Grangesberg mine. A detailed review of the mineral potential at its Parys Mountain zinc-copper-lead property in North Wales, is near completion, which will enable it to better plan


It continues to review the status of base metals markets to ensure that the commencement of production at Parys Mountain coincides as closely as possible with the expected resurgence in demand for base metals concentrates particularly in the European environment.


There are now positive signs that the long expected future shortfall in zinc concentrate supply related to major mine planned closures is coming closer to fruition.




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POSCO solves the problem of noisy apartment flooring - July 4


South Korean steelmaker POSCO might be coming to the rescues of apartment block residents subjected to the problem of noisy neighbours, thanks to the in-built sound reduction properties of high manganese steel.


According to POSCO, floor noise has become a big social issue in South Korea. It has become such a problem that the government has strengthened floor thickness and floor impact noise standards and is considering extending them to cover general housing complexes.


As a result, POSCO has dived in head first and signed MoU for Steel Construction Materials Research Cooperation in the field of floor noise and sound proofing using high manganese steel.


The MoU was signed on 20 June at the company's Global R&D centre in Incheon. A range of companies are involved in the research including POSCO E&C, Dong A Steel Technology, Yoochang, Woojin and S I Pan.


The ultimate objective is to develop low noise floor structure systems constructed with high manganese steel, which, it is claimed, can reduce sound levels by 60%.


POSCO is currently manufacturing high manganese applied products for test, and will focus on developing and establishing a manufacturing standard by September 2014 with a view to mass production in 2015.


The South Korean steelmaker plans to develop various structural systems and assembly methods to improve the constructability and economic efficiency of high manganese steel applied products.




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African steel strike costs ZAR 300 million per day - July 3


An employers body said that the wage strike by 220 000 steel and engineering workers, which began on July 1st 2014, will cost the economy more than ZAR 300 million or 0.014% of GDP a day.


The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA said that the local chief executive of a major US car manufacturer had indicated that he was under pressure from his head office to close down South African operations and move to a country with a more stable labour environment.




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Azerbaijan can meet domestic demand for metallurgical products in coming years - July 2


Trend News Agency cited Mr Samir Jafarov head of the Azerbaijan Steel Production Complex CJSC as saying that Azerbaijan can meet its domestic demand for metallurgical products in next 3 or 4 years.


Mr Jafarov underscored that currently, it is one of the important and topical issues. Azerbaijan spends around USD 1.3 billion for purchasing steel and steel products from neighboring countries. Steel is supplied to Azerbaijan from Ukraine, Georgia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkey.


Mr Jafarov said that "Azerbaijan has never produced metal. Iron ore was previously supplied to Georgia, where it was produced with the domain method. We intend to start metal production as well as steel and steel products production in Azerbaijan.'


He said that “Our long term goal is to enter regional markets as well. Industrial enterprises will be opened in Ganja, Dashkesen and other regions of the country.”



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Tanzania Bureau of Standards warns Arusha steel mills over substandard products - July 1


All Africa reported that the Tanzania Bureau of Standards has issued stern warning to all Arusha based steel mills after reports started floating here that some are churning out substandard products.


The TBS Inspector issued the directive when the state watchdog team was inspecting an Arusha based Bansal Steel Rolling Mill located near Kisongo area. Manufacturers need to be aware of quality requirements on what they produce.


Mr Joseph Mwaipaja the TBS Inspector Incharge of Standards said that following incidences of collapsing buildings and bridges in the country, all manufacturers and importers of heat rolled concrete reinforcement steel bars should make sure they produce quality products for the safety of buildings and people who rely on such products.


Mr Mwaipaja said that "TBS remained vigilant on this and will ensure that all the products meet standards. TBS is carrying out a campaign against all those who don't comply with standards. Manufacturers to inculcate a habit of testing their products regularly to maintain standards.”


He said that "I urge businessmen to put priority on human beings rather than money calling the public to chip-in the fight against counterfeits. However, the impromptu inspection is held at the factory to ensure that what they produce is in line with TBS requirements.”


He added that but, we came to learn that there are some shortfalls as some steel bars have too much carbon content, something which is not good as it makes them easily break, calling the Bansal Steel Rolling Mill Ltd to work on the shortfalls before continuing with mass production.


TBS lawyer, Mr Baptister Bitaho said that it is the responsibility of manufacturers to meet the set standards. TBS is not there to close down some industries, but rather to make sure that buyers and consumers get quality products noting that the standard's watchdog is there to protect consumers.”


Mr Gurmail Singh executive director of Steel Rolling Mill said that his plant is still new as it started six months ago and was working hard to ensure the produced bars meet the required standards.



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Welded stainless steel pressure pipe from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam injures US Industry - USITC - June 28


The United States International Trade Commission determined that a US industry is materially injured by reason of imports of welded stainless steel pressure pipe from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam that the US Department of Commerce has determined are sold in the United States at less than fair value. The USITC also made a negative critical circumstances finding with respect to subject imports from Malaysia.


Commissioners Mr Irving A Williamson, Mr David S Johanson and Mr Rhonda K Schmidtlein voted in the affirmative. Chairman Mr Meredith M Broadbent, Vice Chairman Mr Dean A Pinkert and Commissioner Mr F Scott Kieff voted in the negative.


As a result of the USITC's affirmative determinations, the US Department of Commerce will issue antidumping duty orders on imports of this product from Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.


The Commission's public report Welded Stainless Steel Pressure Pipe from Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam (Investigation Nos. 731-TA-1210-1212 (Final), USITC Publication 4477, July 2014) will contain the views of the Commissioners and information developed during the investigations.



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Brazil to impose anti dumping duty on seamless pipe imports from Ukraine - June 27


Brazilian Chamber of Foreign Trade has announced that Brail will impose for imposition of a provisional anti-dumping tax on seamless steel tubes imports from Ukraine.


The imposition of anti-dumping period would valid for 6 months. Meanwhile, CAMEX has indicated the seamless steel pipe will be taxed including the outer nominal diameter up to 5 inches.


Anti dumping rates range from USD 145.78 per tonne for companies including Interpipe Niko Tube LLC and PJSC Interpipe NTRP to USD 637.74 per MT of other companies.



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Iran and Kuwait ink steel agreement to build steel plant in Iran - June 26


It is reported that Iranian and Kuwaiti officials have agreed to build a large steel plant in Iran.


The two sides have signed an agreement to make joint investment for establishing a steel plant in Iran.


The construction will be in four phases and the two sides have inked 6 Memoranda of Understanding in different fields to pave the ground for the further expansion.


Iran’s crude steel output totaled 6.3 million tonnes in the first five months of this year, up by 4.4% compared to the corresponding period of 2013.



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Brazil's scrap exports slightly increase in May - June 25


Brazil’s exports of scrap reached 33,200 tonnes in May up by 2.4% compared to last month and up by 38.3% compared to same month in 2013.


During the first five months in 2014, the total exports of scrap reached 196,500 tonnes down by 3.8% from the same period in 2013.


According to Brazil’s National Institute of Ferrous Scrap Companies, which represents 47% of all scrap companies in Brazil, steel mills in China produced 60.2 million tonnes in May, an annual increase by 7.8% which lead to a great demand for scrap in Brazil.


INESFA sees a stronger scrap exports will have to depend on a good performance of Chinese economy during this year.


According to INESFA, 26% to 28% of crude steel in Brazil is produced by scrap, while the world average was 45% in 2012.



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ArcelorMittal to launch new material for automotive frame structure - June 24


News has been released that ArcelorMittal is about to launch its 3rd generation high strength cold stamping product calls HF1050 in which the new technology will firstly introduce to automotive industries.


The new product allegedly reduces the weight of automotive frame up to 10% and has higher impact absorbing ability. Few automotive makers have successfully conducted formability and weldability trials.


Furthermore, the advanced material will be giving the automotive makers the advantage of passing more and more strict CO2 emission regulation. The vehicles build up with this advanced material will be formally introduced to the markets in 2016.



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Tigers Realm Group buys Beringovsky port and coal terminal in Russia - June 18


Australian resources company Tigers Realm Group has bought Beringovsky port and coal terminal on the east Russian coast for just over USD 5 million.


TRG plans to refurbish the site and increase its coal handling capacity from 700,000 tonne per year to at least one million.


The port is a key logistical hub for the Nagornaya coal mine, with TRG taking exclusive ownership and management rights. It will also greatly benefit the company’s plans for its Amaam North deposit and proposed Project F mine, enabling it to transport large quantities of coking coal.


Mr Craig Parry, CEO of TRG, said that he was very pleased with the deal secured for Beringovsky, which would lay the foundation for key infrastructure for Amaam North, to the south. This project would involve the construction of a larger deep-water port at Arinay, 25 kilometres from the coking coal mine.


TRG believes that 464 million tonne lies at the site, with potential to explore for between another 120 and 205 million tonne. The lifespan of Amaam North is said to be around 20 years.


The port will give TRG a strategic advantage in the region, for few if any other coal companies have such access to their own dedicated port infrastructure. Importantly the port’s location on the Pacific Coast provides access for the shipment of coal directly into Asian markets.


During 2015 and 2016 TIG intends to undertake a general refurbishment of the port, which will include the purchase of new barges, construction of stockpile yards and some small scale channel dredging.



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Taiwanese Feng Hsin to raise rebar and scrap purchasing prices - June 17


It’s reported that Feng Hsin Iron & Steel Company one of the major steel long product manufacturers in Taiwan announced to raise its prices for rebar and scrap purchasing prices by TWD 300 per tonne for this week.


Also, the company has kept its prices of section steel flat for consecutive nine weeks. After the announcement, its list prices for rebar are at TWD 17,900 per tonne those for section steel remained at TWD 19,700 per tonne to TWD 19,900 per tonne. Its scrap purchasing prices are at TWD 10,900 pe rtonne to TWD 11,800 per tonne.



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Uruguay's steel imports fall during January to April - June 16


According to data released by Uruguay’s customs agency, the country’s imports of steel flat products including stainless cold rolled coil, hot dipped galvanized coils and cold rolled coils totaled 14,900 tonnes in the first four months of this year, falling from 24,500 tonnes from a year ago.


Among them, the imports of stainless cold rolled coils totaled 6,800 tonnes which is lower than 10,500 tonnes in a year ago. The imports of cold rolled coils amounted to 3,500 tonnes up from 3,300 tonnes in the same period of last year.


Meanwhile, the imports of hot dipped galvanized coils totaled 4,600 tonnes dropping from 8,100 tonnes.



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Trade Union Solidarity and ArcelorMittal SA reach pay deal - June 14


Fin24 reported that Trade Union Solidarity and steel giant ArcelorMittal have reached a wage agreement.


Mr Marius Croucamp Union spokesperson said that "The agreement, that is retroactive to April 1 and will be in effect until March 31st 2015, includes a salary increase of 7% and various favourable changes to employees’ conditions of service."


Mr Croucamp said that the agreement, signed earlier this month also applied to members of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA. Solidarity and its members are satisfied with the positive note on which the negotiations ended. We are also intensely aware of the challenges confronting the metal industry.


He said that various allowances of employees in the bargaining unit would be increased by seven percent, in accordance with their salaries. Conditions of service were revised and several favourable changes were agreed to.


He added that as part of these changes, employees who are on standby on public holidays will receive a non compulsory day of leave, whether they are called out on the days in question or not.



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Global aluminum sheet use in autos seen climbing five fold - June 13


Bloomberg cited Mr Derek Prichett VP of global recycling at Novelis Inc as saying that global aluminum sheet use in auto bodies will climb five fold by 2020 as car manufacturers seek lightweight material to improve fuel economy.


Mr Prichett said that sheet consumption will jump to 1.8 million tonnes from 350,000 tonnes currently. Atlanta based Novelis counts Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen AG’s Audi unit and the Jaguar Land Rover division of TATA Motors Limited as customers.


Mr Jack Clark senior VP at Novelis said that a push in the US and Europe to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and increase mileage is prompting carmakers to seek to replace heavier materials such as steel. Ford begins production of an all aluminum bodied F-150 pickup truck this year, and other car and truck manufacturers will follow suit, switching to aluminum over the next six years.


Mr Clark said that aluminum content in light vehicles around the world, including bodies, hoods and doors, will rise to near 35 billion pounds by 2025, making the auto industry a major market for aluminum.


Mr Jorge Vazquez MD at researcher Harbor Aluminum Intelligence Unit LLC said that “Demand for the metal in North America will exceed production by 1.255 million tonnes in 2015 up from an estimated 1.13 million tonnes this year, partly because of increased shipments to the region’s auto industry.”



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Pakistan imposes 10pct custom duty on silicon and alloy steel - June 12


Business Recorder reported that Federal Board of Revenue has announced to impose 10% customs duty on Silicon and Alloy steel to stop mis declaration.


Sources said that the duty has been notified by FBR under the First Schedule of the Customs Act, 1969 which will be effective from July 1st 2014.


After a number of complaints from the domestic steel industry, Pakistan Customs Karachi Enforcement in May this year recommended and proposed FBR 10% duty on commercial import of Silicon Steel and Alloy Steel to curtail misdeclaration and enhance revenue collection.


Accordingly, the FBR under First Schedule of the Customs Act, 1969 has notified imposition of 10 percent custom duty on two flat steel products; Silicon Steel and Alloy Steel, as remaining flat products including Hot Rolled Coil, Cold Rolled Coil and Galvanised Steel were being imported in the guise of Silicon and Alloy Steel, which currently has zero duty compared to 10% on HRC, CRC and galvanised steels. With imposition of 10% customs duty on Silicon and Alloy Steel, all flat products will have equal duty slab.


According to customs data the import of silicon steel jumped by 330% to a monthly average of more than 7,600 tonnes during January 2013 to February 2014 as compared to monthly average of 2,300 tonnes during 18 months period (from July 2011 till December 2012).



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New low cost and steel framed 3D Printers are coming to South Africa - June 11


3D Printing has been flourishing more and more in the United States and much of Europe, as people realize all of the incredible things that can be created on these increasingly affordable machines.


In Africa, however, it hasn’t been quite as quick to catch on. Having said this, one man, named Peter van der Walt has set out to change this fact.


Mr vanderwalt2Peter van der Walt, is the owner of a company called OpenHardware, which makes and sells different 3D printers (RepRaps), CNC machines, spare parts and other electronics. They are also the only organization in South Africa that promotes opensource hardware.


After selling RepRap 3D printers such as Printrbots, Ecksbots, Prusa Airs, and Morgans for a couple years, Mr van der Walt decided that it was time for a change. He decided to utilize some other technologies that were at his disposal and create a printer that could be more affordable and more feasibly made.


He said that “Primarily in South Africa we have cost issues. A set of stainless threaded rods for a Prusa style frame runs upwards of USD 25 and a set of printed parts around USD 50 whereas a lasercut steel frame and cnc bending plus powdercoating (through economics of scale) works out cheaper. That and you get a frame thats rock solid, perfectly square in all directions, and easily reproducible in small and large scale.”


So, Mr van der Walt and his team decided to come up with a design for a 3D printer, which would be both well made, and affordable. By utilizing sheets of metal, CNC machines and a laser cutter, they created a 3D printer that is extremely solid, while finding a solution to the cost issues of building traditional RepRaps.


After some tinkering around, they came up with not one, but three separate 3D printers. They are all the same design, but different sizes. The 100x100x100mm build volume (actually slightly larger) version, which is referred to as the ‘Babybot’, although it has yet to be officially named, will be priced at under ZAR 5000. The mid-sized version which will feature a build volume of 200x200x200mm will be priced at ZAR 7250. The largest version will be 200x200x300mm, and priced at ZAR 9000.


As for some of the specs on these new printers, Mr van der Walt tells us that they will print with layer heights between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm, with speeds of approximately 80mm/s. As for resolution, we are told that they will be similar to that of the ‘run of the mill FDM machine.


van der Walt plans to begin taking pre-orders for these printers, via his website, sometime this month. He will also be shipping demo units to other retailers in South Africa, such as Communica and the hackerspace at the University of Pretoria. These retailers are also expected to start selling the printers shortly.



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Large Chinese fund to invest in Russian zinc and lead deposit - June 10


It is reported that New Horizon Capital of China may invest USD 200 million in Russia’s Noion Tologoiskoye zinc and lead deposit near the lake Baikal.


A source close to the negotiations said that the deal implies investments in the development of the Russian deposit with the participation of an experienced Chinese mining operator Baojin its branch is already investing in the project and the participation of a large international co-investor New Horizon Capital.


Baikalruda, owned by Chinese mining company Baojin, has already invested around USD 100 million in the construction of an ore dressing plant located near the deposit.


The plant with an annual capacity of 500,000 tonnes of ore will be launched in 2014. The company plans to raise the capacity to 3 million tonnes per year, which requires USD 200 million in investment. The works will start in 2016.



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The drive to cut energy costs in production of aluminium - June 9


With investment in aluminium in the Arabian Gulf expected to reach USD 55 billion in 2020, competition between aluminium smelters is set to become fierce.


And the difference between industry leader and industry laggard may be down to who can run the most efficient plant.


To help ensure it ends up in the former category, Emirates Aluminium Company (Emal), the UAE’s state owned aluminium smelter, has turned to the Masdar Institute’s researchers to help improve the efficiency and speed of aspects of the plant’s operation.


A typical aluminium plant comprises three areas: the aluminium smelter, the carbon anode, and the cast hour.


In very simple terms, aluminium production involves dissolving naturally occurring alumina aluminium oxide at very high temperature, placing it in a steel-shelled vat lined with graphite, known as a reduction pot, that serves as a cathode and adding a carbon anode. An electrical current is then passed through the molten metal, causing aluminium metal to be deposited on the lining of the vat.


Three areas of this process are ripe for improvement. The first is related to the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the gas fired furnaces within the cast house. Our research has found room for improvement, resulting in 22% savings in gas consumption, depending on furnace design and operation.


The second area is related to the voltage drop in the aluminium smelter from contact resistance in the anode’s assembly parts essentially, making sure that as much of the electricity generated is used for the separation process itself as possible, rather than being wasted in other parts of the system.


By saving a few millivolts in the cell-voltage drop, a significant amount of power can be saved. The third area is in the reduction pot rebuild area. Because the process requires aluminium to be deposited on the lining of the vat, every so often it needs to be stopped so the metal can be removed. This requires the pot to be cooled, and then taken apart to get the aluminium out and rebuilt.


The quicker this can be done, the better. We proposed an efficient cooling technique to save about 36 per cent of cooling time - which means we need about half the space for storing pots that are being cooled or rebuilt.


Collaborations like these are beneficial to both industry and academia. For those of us in academia, working with industry leaders like Emal can provide the opportunity for our students to become familiar with the aluminium-smelting process in practice and apply thermal science to relevant industrial applications.


By working together to solve industry problems, we are helping to put both Emal and the Masdar Institute on the sector map, adding to the body of knowledge about aluminium manufacturing through conference presentations and journal publications, and helping to train skilled and innovative engineers who can eventually play a key role in contributing to the economic growth of the UAE and the region.



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Pressure on Italy to appoint new Ilva chief as losses mount - June 5


It is reported that Italy's government must find a new boss for its failing Ilva steel mill, stakeholders warned, as the scandal hit plant has failed to attract the investors needed to safeguard the thousands it employs in the economically deprived south.


Ilva was put under special administration after magistrates seized EUR 8.1 billion from its owners the Riva family, amid allegations by prosectutors that the plant's toxic emissions caused abnormally high rates of cancer.


But special commissioner Mr Enrico Bondi appointed last year to run the plant and oversee a cleanup programme has failed to staunch losses of millions of euros a week, meaning the 20,000 people Ilva employs in the southern Italian city of Taranto are still at risk of losing their jobs.


Mr Gianni Venturi the national co ordinator for Italian union Fiom Cgil said that "There is an urgent need that the government take its decisions about the choice of a new commissioner and about a new business plan fitter to the ongoing industrial events."


Italian steel industry body Federacciai estimates the plant is currently losing cash at a rate of EUR 60 million to EUR 80 million a month. Last week, the ministry for economic development held meetings with top global steelmaker ArcelorMittal and with representatives of the Riva family, in a bid to convince them to invest in the plant


Mr Antonio Gozzi president of Federacciai said that "The government focus is a good thing, they realise its urgent and they're reflecting on what course of action to take. From a cash point of view I don't know the situation but I believe they have some time before collapse maybe months."


Both Riva family representatives and Italian steel producer Marcegaglia and have said that they are ready to invest in Ilva if they are given clarity on the true financial position of the plant. ArcelorMittal has declined to comment.


An industry source said that Renzi told a democratic party meeting last week that the government wants to take action in finding a solution for Ilva. Substantially, this only means that commissioner Bondi will be replaced.



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USA President plan to cut greenhouse gas emission by 2020 - June 4


At the end of his first year in office, President Mr Obama made a bold promise: the United States would cut its greenhouse gas emissions substantially by 2020.


Unfortunately it was a risky pledge that hinged on Congress. After President Mr Obama was unable to get his major climate change proposal through Congress in his first term, it seemed as though his pledge to the rest of the World and planet Earth might disintegrate into thin air.


But today, President Mr Obama said that plans to bypass Congress entirely. By using his executive authority under the Clean Air Act, he proposed an Environmental Protection Agency regulation to cut carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. It’s one of the strongest actions ever taken by the United States government to fight climate change.


He said that “The shift to a cleaner-energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way.”


He added that “But a low-carbon, clean-energy economy can be an engine of growth for decades to come. America will build that engine. America will build the future, a future that’s cleaner, more prosperous and full of good jobs.”


The regulation targets the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States: coal-fired power plants. So naturally it has already met huge opposition.


Senator Mr Michael B Enzi of Wyoming, the nation’s top coal-producing state, in response to President Obama, said that “The administration has set out to kill coal and its 800,000 jobs. If it succeeds in death by regulation, we’ll all be paying a lot more money for electricity — if we can get it. Our pocketbook will be lighter, but our country will be darker.”


But rather than forcing coal plants to immediately shutdown, the EPA. will allow States several years to retire existing plants. They estimate that by 2030, 30% of US electricity will still come from coal, down from about 40% today.


The regulation also gives a wide range of options to achieve the pollution cuts. States are encouraged to reduce emissions by making changes across the electricity systems. They’re encouraged to install new wind and solar generation technology. This will create a huge demand for designing and building energy-efficient technology.



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GR Engineering wins AUD 6.8 million Rio contract - June 3


The West Australian reported that GR Engineering Services has won AUD 16.8 million contract at Rio Tinto's iron ore operations in Paraburdoo.


The lump sum turnkey contract involves engineering design, procurement, construction and commissioning works associated with the company's Moisture Reduction Project. Work is expected to start immediately and be completed in February next year.


Mr Geoff Jones MD of GR Engineering said that “The company's strong track record in the successful and safe delivery of brownfield projects left it well placed to deliver value accretive project outcomes for Rio Tinto.



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Baosteel Stainless hikes stainless steel prices for June - June 2


Baosteel Stainless, the second largest stainless producer in China announced to hike its domestic prices for 304 grade stainless steel by CNY 3,500 per tonne for June in order to reflect higher input costs boosted by rising nickel prices.


After the adjustment, its selling prices for 304 grade hot rolled coils with thickness of 3mm and cold rolled coils with thickness of 2mm are at CNY 20, 000 per tonne and CNY 21, 000 per tonne respectively.


Besides, Baosteel Stainless also increased its selling prices for 430 grade stainless products by RMB200/ton in order to reflect higher spot market prices.



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Anglesey Mining mulls re opening historic Grangesberg iron mine - May 31


Anglesey Mining has taken an option to take control of the Grangesberg iron project in Sweden.


Grangesberg, in central Sweden, closed in 1989 when it was the third largest iron ore mine in the country with more than 150 million tonnes of iron ore was mined down to a depth of 500 meters.


Prior indications are that at least 115 million tonnes of iron ore containing around 40% iron remain adding the old mine is adjacent to the Swedish national rail system with a rail line to port still fully operational.


Using a conventional underground bulk mining operation and processing, output is estimated at be 2 million tonnes to 2.5 million tonnes per year of saleable iron ore concentrate for the European, Middle East and Asian steel markets.


Anglesey has already paid USD 145,000 for 6% of Grangesberg Iron, a private Swedish company which ash recently been refinanced and hold holds a 25 year exploitation permit covering the underground mining operations.


Anglesey also has 12 month evaluation option to acquire 51% of the enlarged share capital of GIAB for shares. During the option period, Anglesey will run GIAB and appoint three out of five directors including the chairman. The remaining 43% of GIAB is held by Roslagen Resources, a Swedish private company.


Mr Bill Hooley CEO of Angelsey said that "Grangesberg is a mine with a rich historical heritage and an exciting future potential. There is an opportunity to re-open the Grangesberg mine to provide a local source of high quality ironore, well known, to the European steel industry. The agreements announced give Anglesey the opportunity to evaluate Grangesberg, both technically at the minelevel in the Grangesberg area and commercially throughout the Swedish and European steel industry."



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Federal Government will revive Ajaokuta Steel Company soon - Mr Sambo - May 29


Mr Namadi Sambo VP of Nigeria said that the Federal Government would revive the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited soon to promote the development of the nation’s automotive sector.


Mr Sambo, who stated this at the foundation laying of Kogi House in Abuja, explained that the revival of the company would offer viable socio economic opportunities to Nigerians. President Mr Goodluck Jonathan had already directed him to ensure the speedy revival of the industry. Very soon, I want to assure you that the promise Mr President made sometime in Kogi State that the Ajaokuta Steel Industry will be brought back to life.


He said that “I want to categorically state that all the encumbrances that have been stopping the progress of this project have been removed by Mr President.”


We are supporting the private sector in development of 1,000 MW coal power plant as well as development of all the solid minerals and hydro carbons. We shall continue to partner with you in the development of Kogi State.


Mr Sambo urged other states government to emulate the strategy of Kogi State in achieving infrastructure development for the benefit of citizens.


Mr Wada governor of Kogi said that the foundation laying of the Kogi House had underscored the new branding of the State as the Confluence of Opportunities. He applauded the President Jonathan’s transformation agenda, which he said, had transformed the country.


He noted that the commissioning of Geregu Power Plant, the establishment of Federal University and a processing zone in the state had enhanced human development in the state.


Mr Wada further revealed that the Kogi House, funded by the proceeds of the Bond collected by the State government, would bridge the housing need and provide employment opportunities in the FCT as well as generate revenue for the State.


He said that the Kaibo Engineering Group Holdings Limited of China will contribute 20% of the total cost of the project while the state government will contribute the remaining 80%. The House, when completed, would be managed by the company under the Public Private Partnership agreement.



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LME Mo inventory continues to be at low level of 60 tonnes - May 28


As of May 19, LME molybdenum inventory continues to be at a low level of 60 tonnes.


LME molybdenum price rebounded on March 28 and still maintains an upward trend. As a result of shipping from LME designated warehouses continuing due to the anticipation of a price rise in the market, the inventory level on May 14 (at the time of trading opening) was reduced to 60 tonnes and thereafter remained at a low level without an atmosphere of increase.


LME molybdenum price on December 31st 2013 was USD 21,500 per tonne (both cash seller and 3 month seller), and the inventory level was only 330 tonnes, for which the price on 19 May 2014 was raised by USD 1,000 to USD 30,500 (both cash seller and 3-month seller), and the inventory was 60 tonnes as aforementioned which represented a decrease of 270 tonnes.


This year, the production of special steels including stainless steel is in good from in Europe and USA and the actual consumption of molybdenum also is in good form. On the other hand, as to the production result in the period from January to March in 2014 by producer, many of producers curtailed production from the year earlier period, and the worldwide supply volume was reduced from the last year. Therefore, the tight feeling has come up in the market, which makes a push to price hike and decrease in the market inventory.


As for how high the molybdenum price will go up, many of market watchers see one upper limit will be somewhere around USD 31,000 per ton which is a production cost for molybdenum in China. It is understood that, if the price exceeds this level, the resumption of operation will be prevailing in China which leads to the increased export, and the world demand and supply balance will again return to excess supply. Besides, some of market watchers forecast the price will go up to somewhere around USD 32,000 to USD 33,000 until China's export increases.



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Rio Tinto, Chinalco and IFC ink historic Investment Framework for Simandou iron ore project in Guinea - May 27


The Government of Guinea and its partners, Rio Tinto, Chinalco and the IFC, signed the Investment Framework for blocks 3 and 4 of Simandou, the Project, which will be the largest combined iron ore and infrastructure project ever developed in Africa, providing Guinea with the opportunity to reap the benefits of its rich mineral wealth and transform its wider economy.


Key terms of the Investment Framework


1. The Republic of Guinea becomes an active shareholder of the Simandou South mine


2. The Republic of Guinea now has 7.5% ownership of Simfer S.A., the mine owner.


3. The Republic of Guinea will have the option to increase this share in Simfer SA to 35% over 20 years: an additional 7.5% for free and 20% on a contributing basis (of the 20% - 10% purchased at historical mining cost, that is, the proportionate percentage of Simfer SA's costs in undertaking the mining activities, and 10% purchased at market value).


4. As a shareholder of Simfer SA, the Republic of Guinea will be able to receive dividends and contribute to the company's commercial strategy during board meetings.


The signing marks a significant milestone and provides the legal and commercial foundation for the project. It also allows the project to move towards realizing the opportunities it presents for Guinea and all the shareholders.


Within the coming days, the Government of Guinea will submit the IF for the consideration of the Guinean National Assembly in order to seek its ratification. Once ratified the project partners will finalize, within approximately one year from ratification, the Bankable Feasibility Study which will confirm all the project parameters including cost and timeline.


In parallel, the parties, under the leadership of Rio Tinto, are working together to assemble a consortium of investors who will finance, build and own the multi user 650km railway and deep water port infrastructure within the agreed timeframe and along procedures laid down by the Bankable Feasibility Study and involving all parties.


Mr Sam Walsh Rio Tinto Chief Executive said "Today is an important milestone in the development of this world-class iron ore resource for the benefit of all shareholders and the people of Guinea. I would like to welcome the Government of Guinea as a shareholder and thank the President for his continued commitment to the Project."


Mr SUN Zhaoxue General Manager of Chinalco said: "China and Guinea maintain traditional friendly relations, the two countries are highly economically complementary, Guinea has rich iron ore resources while China is the world's largest iron ore consumer. The signing of Simandou Investment Framework is of great importance, and Chinalco is willing to work with all the partners, to implement respective responsibilities and obligations to achieve earliest first commercial production and full capacity production of the project, which will benefit the State of Guinea and Guinean people."


Mr Jin-Yong Cai IFC Executive Vice President and CEO said "This Project is a priority for IFC, given its potential to bring jobs, infrastructure and revenues to Guinea. Projects of this scale require strong partnerships. This agreement is a testament to the strong collaboration of the Project partners, including the Government of Guinea, in developing a framework that will bring long-term positive benefits to the country."


The Project is a world-class iron ore mining development located in the south-east of Guinea. The Project partners include the Republic of Guinea (7.5%), Rio Tinto (46.57%), Aluminium Corporation of China (41.3%) and the International Finance Corporation (4.625%), a member of the World Bank Group. The Project will be the largest combined iron ore mine and infrastructure project ever developed in Africa, with the potential to transform the Guinean economy and transport infrastructure.

The project comprises three principal components


1. A high-grade iron ore mine (blocks 3 and 4 of Simandou) of 100 million tons per year at full production


2. A new 650km trans-Guinean multi-user railway to transport iron ore to the Guinean coast


3. A new deep-water multi-user port in the Forécariah prefecture



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Iranian crude steel output in first Iranian month up by 11pct - May 26


It is reported that Iran, the biggest producer of crude steel in the Middle East produced over 1.49 million tonnes of steel products in the first Iranian calendar month of Farvardin (March 21 to April 20), up by 11% compared to the same period of last year.


Iranian crude steel production amounted to 14.89 million tonnes in the Iranian calendar year ended in March 2013. In the country's Fifth Five Year Development Plan (2015), the production output is projected to increase to 55 million tonnes.


The country’s crude steel output surpassed 1.45 million tonnes in the same month, showing a 15% rise YoY. Iran’s crude steel output rose by 9% in the past Iranian calendar year.



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NLMK updates on steel segment production - May 23


In Q1 2014, Segment sales totaled 3.2 million tonnes (+16% QoQ), supported by improved market conditions at the end of the quarter and by the sale of stocks accumulated in the previous periods. Sales to third parties in Q1 went up by 11% QoQ to 2.7 million tonnes (+12% YoY).


Overall Segment revenue went up to USD 2,038 million (+13% QoQ) on the back of increased sales and prices on the export markets. Higher sales offset the reduction in average prices compared to Q1 2013 (+2% YoY revenue growth).


Segment EBITDA was USD 262 million (+72% QoQ; +215% YoY) due to widened spreads between steel products and raw materials prices and due to the weakening of the ruble. EBITDA margin was 13% (+5 p.p. QoQ and +9 p.p. YoY).




In Q2 2014, we expect a seasonal improvement in demand for steel products at our key sales markets that will positively contribute to the Segment’s operating and financial results.



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US Service Center shipment declined in April - May 22


Growth continued in the United States for both steel and aluminum on a YoY basis. Canadian steel and aluminum shipments declined YoY in April.


US Service Center Activity; US service center steel shipments in April 2014 increased by 4.9% from April 2013. 2014 year to date steel shipments increased by 3.1% from the same period in 2013. Steel product inventories increased 3.7% from April a year ago. In April, US service center shipments of aluminum products increased by 9.4% from the same month in 2013. Inventories of aluminum products increased 6.7% from last year.


Canadian Service Center Activity; In April, Canadian service center shipments of steel products decreased by 5.6% from April 2013. Steel product inventories decreased 11.7% from April of last year. Canadian service center aluminum shipments in April decreased 5.3% from the same month in 2013. Inventories of aluminum products increased 6.6% from last year.



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Stamping bottleneck squeezes boron steel supply - May 21


Faced with increasingly tough federal collision standards, automakers are turning to boron steel which is six times stronger than conventional steel to reinforce the body in white without adding pounds.


Boron steel is increasingly used for door pillars, door beams, body sills, roof rails and bumpers components that must protect the passenger cabin during a collision. But as demand grows, suppliers are short of presses that can heat the steel to the proper temperature for stamping.


According to an estimate by Ducker International, In the 2015 model year, a typical vehicle will have about 24 pounds of boron steel. That's up from 15 pounds in 2012.


Magna International Inc, Germany's Benteler Automotive and Gestamp Automocion of Spain are leading producers of boron steel parts. Boron steel got some attention last month when Magna and steel-maker ArcelorMittal won an Automotive News PACE Award for producing the boron steel door rings used in the Acura MDX.


While the use of boron steel is growing, there's a catch. The blanks used for boron steel components must be heated to 1,688 degrees Fahrenheit before they are stamped.


The heat treatment, along with the subsequent quenching process, allows manganese, boron and carbon additives to transform the steel into the particularly hard and strong boron steel.


According to the American Iron and Steel Institute, steel makers such as ArcelorMittal, Severstal and AK Steel can produce enough boron steel to meet demand. But the industry's bottleneck is downstream in the stamping plants. Suppliers must use special lines to produce hot stamped components.


In North America, there are about 40 stamping presses that can handle boron steel, up from 22 in 2012. To keep up with rising demand, Ducker estimates that suppliers will need as many as 60 presses by 2020.


Mr Dick Schultz MD of Ducker said that "You have to have special equipment. To get the weight out, they make these parts very thin. There are other problems, too. Hot stamped components require more time to produce, thus raising costs. Boron steel also is hard to form into complex shapes. Bumpers, for example, must be straight or only slightly curved.”



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WISCO to hold prices unchanged on certain products - May 20


China's Wuhan Iron & Steel announced to remain its domestic prices on certain steel products unchanged for June delivery.


However, prices on some CR products and electro galvanized steel sheets will drop by CNY 100 per tonne. On the other hand, prices of wire rod, HR products, tinplate, section steel and colored steel will remain steady.


After the adjustment, its prices for Q235 hot rolled coils (HRC) with thickness of 5.5 mm are at CNY 3,370 per tonne; those of Q195 cold rolled coils with thickness of 1.0 million are at CNY 4,050 per tonne without 17% VAT



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Saudi Arabian HRC import prices drop - May 19


It’s reported that Saudi Arabia's import prices for hot rolled coils have decreased due to weak demand and high stocks.


On May 13th, the import price for HRC with thickness of 2 mm was at USD 550 per tonne to USD 580 per tonne CFR, falling by USD 10 per tonne from a week ago.


Traders said that HRC demand will remain weak as summer holiday. The current HRC prices in domestic market drop by around USD 10 per tonne.


Meanwhile, the Import price for Egypt origin HRC with thickness of 1.2 mm and 2.0 mm was at USD 660 per tonne CRF and USD 590 pe rtonne to USD 600 per tonne CFR respectively.



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Russian gas pipeline talks on track - Voestalpine - May 17


Reuters quoted Austrian steel and technology group Voestalpine as saying that talks with Moscow to supply steel for its planned South Stream Gas pipeline were on track, despite escalating tensions between Russia and the West.


Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula earlier this year marked the biggest East West crisis since the Cold War and focused politician's minds on reducing the European Union's reliance on Russian gas.


There are concerns in Brussels that the 2,400 kilometer South Stream pipeline, which would reach Bulgaria and other EU members would further cement Russia's dominant role and regulatory approvals have been put on hold.


However, Mr Wolfgang Eder CEO of Voestalpine said that “The political situation has not affected talks about delivering steel. We are delivering for the first line and we will start in summer discussions for a possible share in the second. The timescale hasn't changed.”



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Canadian iron ore exports up in February - May 16


Canada exported some 1.98 million tonnes of iron ore fines in February, up by 2 times than the last year. The exports of iron ore pellets totaled 1.01 million tonnes down by 10.7% compared to the same month of last year.


Among them, exports to China totaled 81.2 million tonnes and France’s iron ore shipments from Canada totaled 473,000 tonnes. Besides, Netherland occupied 387,000 tonnes.


During the first two months, Canada’s exports of iron ore fines and iron ore pellets totaled 5.76 million tonnes up by 25.7% compare to the same period of last year.



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Good Time Steel plans new steel plants in Kalulushi in Zambia - May 15


GOOD Time Steel Company plans to invest USD 100 million into a new steel plant in Kalulushi.


Mr Jacky Huang GM of Good Time Steel Company said that “Once the company had secured land, it would proceed with designs for the new plant that was expected to create about 1,000 jobs for Kalulushi residents. Once we have secured land through the council, we shall go ahead with design works for the new plant. We are serious about investing in Zambia as a company, so that we can create more jobs for Zambians."


He said that the new plant would service the Copperbelt market, the neighbouring region of Angola as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


Mr Jacky was happy that the Zambian steel industry was growing at a fast rate due to the various construction and infrastructure development being spearheaded by the government. The business environment is conducive in Zambia, and we are hoping that more government projects can come on board year in and out."


He said that Zambia was lacking proper infrastructure for shopping malls, universities, schools and other vital area. It's good that the government has embarked on a robust infrastructure development, which shall benefit us as well, in terms of business.


Mr Jacky said that his company had also commissioned a steel tube pipes mall at its parent plant, constructed at a cost of USD 16 million. The plant was manufacturing 50,000 tonnes of tube pipes and galvanized pipes of up to 4 inches annually.


He said that "I believe we are the only company with such model equipment in Zambia. The tube mall has created over 100 jobs for local Zambian. The steel market in Zambia is growing with the government taking the lead through the many construction projects it is undertaking. We have seen that the government is putting in a lot of effort in infrastructure development, for instance the link-Zambia 8000 project, the erection of new schools and hospitals using our materials, which is good."


He was happy that the government had revoked Statutory Instrument No 55 on foreign exchange regulations, as the revocation had increased the cost of doing business.



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Dannemora Mineral stops production and suspends payments - May 14


As a consequence of the Company's current situation, Dannemora Mineral has decided to suspend payments and to stop production. The decision applies until further notice.


Dannemora Mineral AB is a mining and exploration company of which the primary activity is mining operations in the Dannemora iron ore mine. The Company intends to engage in exploration activities to increase the iron ore base locally and regionally.


The Company's most important asset is the iron deposit in the Dannemora Mine, and activity is focused mainly on the mining of this deposit at present.


The Company is listed on NASDAQ OMX First North, Stockholm and Oslo Axess. The Company's Certified Advisor on First North is Remium Nordic AB.


The Company's independent qualified person is mining engineer Thomas Lindholm, Geovista AB, Lulea. Thomas Lindholm is qualified as a Competent Person, as defined in the JORC Code, based on education and experience in exploration, mining and estimation of mineral resources of iron, base and precious metals.



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YKGI Holdings sees better results with expansion into new markets - May 13


YKGI Holdings Bhd is optimistic of turning in better financial results this year with its expansion into new markets in Sarawak, Sabah and Thailand.


Mr Lim Pang Kiam chairman of YKGI Holdings said that “The group’s timely expansion into Bintulu, Kota Kinabalu and Thailand, as well as its newly commissioned continuous colour coating line had enabled a stronger commercial presence of its products. With the Malaysian economy expected to grow between 4.5% and 5% in 2014, we expect revenue for financial year (FY) 2014 to at least improve in tandem with this.”


The group, which has plants in Demak Laut Industrial Park here and in Selangor, has a range of products that include pickled and oiled coils, pre painted galvanised iron coils, galvanised iron coils and cold rolled coils.


Mr Lim said that “The Government’s pledge to build more affordable homes and roll out various high impact infrastructure projects like the Light Rail Transit extension, Mass Rapid Transit and West Coast Expressway, augured well for the steel industry. However, he cautioned that the outlook of the domestic steel industry remained challenging as it remained largely influenced by macro factors in East Asia, with China still experiencing large excess capacity.


He said that the 14.9% increase in electricity tariffs from last January had disappointed the energy intensive industries like the steel industry, as this would affect the profit margins of steel companies. Nonetheless, YKGI was confident that it would be able to sustain its business in the tough environment as the group conscientiously worked on its 5 year business transformation plan to bring down cost and increase yield, achieve better economies of scale in group operations, and to grow revenue.


Mr Datuk Soh Thian Lai group MD & CEO of YKGI Holdings said that “After incurring two consecutive years of record losses, YKGI had turned around with pretax profit of MYR 540,000 for FY2013 ended December 31, on revenue of MYR 560.4 million against a pretax loss of MYR 20.7 million and turnover of MYR 461.7 million in FY2012.


He said that with the commissioning of the MYR 30 million continuous colour coating operation in its Selangor plant last September, it currently housed four major production lines with a total annual output capacity of between 250,000 tonnes and 300,000 tonnes.



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Japan steel makers to export green technologies - May 10


It is reported that the Japan Iron and Steel Federation is stepping up the transfer of the industry’s advanced technologies to help cut carbon dioxide emissions to other Asian countries to tackle global warming.


The industry group has already supplied the technologies to China and India and is now poised to do this in Southeast Asian countries, where steel demand is seen growing and measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are inadequate. Producing a ton of crude steel releases 2 tons of carbon dioxide.


In Japan, steel makers are generating some of the electricity they use on their own from gas produced in furnaces or waste heat emitted in the process of making coke from coal. In this way, they are reducing electricity purchases from power suppliers, thereby helping slash carbon dioxide emissions.


According to the federation, energy efficiency at blast furnace steel makers in Japan is 10-30 percent higher than that at U.S. and European peers.



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Steelmaker Arrium to shed 120 jobs - May 09


It is reported that steel and mining group Arrium is to cut 120 jobs as part of a restructure at its Waratah division.


Arrium said that it would reduce its workforce at Waratah's base in the NSW city of Newcastle by 20% by June 14th 2014.


Arrium's Waratah steelmaking business supplies fencing products to farmers and makes train wheels. The company had been a change in production requirements from the Waratah division including lower demand for rail wheels.



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PT Resteel to build USD 500 million steel mill in Batam - May 08



PT Resteel Industry Indonesia, a JV between local steelmaker PT Trinusa Group and China’s major private steelmaker Shanxi Haixin Iron and Steel Group Company Limited plans to build a USD 500 million steel mill in Batam, Riau Islands, this year.


Mr Achmad Fadhillah main commissioner of Resteel said that “The construction of the mill, slated for completion within three years, might commence as soon as the end of this month. The first line of the mill will be complete within six months, so by the end of this year we hopefully




TATA Steel unveils improved steel grade for the Oil & Gas market - May 07


TATA Steel’s Speciality Steels business has unveiled an enhanced version of its existing 4145H modified alloy steel grade which combines high strength with toughness making it ideal for use in demanding downhole tool and completion equipment environments.



This improved bar product grade is manufactured at Speciality Steels production facilities in South Yorkshire, UK, which have been at the forefront of producing steel for the demanding oil and gas market for more than 60 years


Mr Mike Jeglic TATA Steel sales manager for oil and gas in Houston said that "This enhanced grade which combines high strength (130 ksi yield) with high toughness (42J@-20C) at sizes up to 12 diameter has been developed in direct response to customer feedback. The improved performance envelope of this enhanced offering compared to more traditional variants of 4145H modified grades gives our customer base the opportunity to rationalise their stock profiles as well as the opportunity to deploy this alloy in more challenging operating conditions."


Mr Richard Lowe GM of Speciality Steels Americas said that “The introduction of the grade is part of a series of ongoing initiatives that our dedicated oil and gas team has delivered in the past few months in response to customer feedback. These developments have included the introduction of imperial (inch) size rollings on the Stocksbridge (UK) mill, the launch of oil and gas grades in sizes less than 3 and improved central soundness guarantees across our product range."



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Steel tube manufacturer seeks to bring 50 jobs to Milan - May 06


A steel tube manufacturer in Milan promises to bring 50 new jobs to the area if approved for USD 250,000 in a federally funded community development grant.


With the city’s administrative oversight and approval, Jaytec LLC, 620 S. Platt Road, will request the funds from the Michigan Strategic Fund’s Community Development Block Grant for training 50 new employees for semi skilled positions at the plant, as the company gets set to invest USD 3,100,000 in new equipment.


Jaytec, a subsidiary of L & W Engineering, has owned the Platt Road business since 2011, when it replaced Bay Logistics. Jaytec and its parent company have other locations throughout southeast Michigan. Jaytec initially received tax breaks from the city for investing in the property and bringing jobs to the community.


Last month, the city approved a tax abatement for the manufacturer in exchange for Jaytec’s agreement to make additional improvements to the property, purchase and install new equipment and machinery and create 50 new jobs within two years from December 31st 2014.


To be eligible for the federal grant funds, the city was first required to have community development plan on file, which city council members approved April 28, along with their approval for the block grant.


Mr Gerard Scherlinck City Administrator and Police Chief credited Tim Lake of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation with doing much of the research and writing for the grant and said the community development plan is an outline that the city can build on in the future.


Dawn Dayton of Jaytec and Lake were on hand at the Milan City Council meeting April 2




East Asian market of CR austenitic stainless sheets still slow - May 05


The market of cold rolled austenitic stainless steel sheets in the East Asian region is showing a slow reaction despite of a price hike of material nickel. Accordingly, negotiations for June shipment is unfolding to lack in upsurge.


As the LME price of material nickel exceeded USD 8.00, the Japanese mills had assumed that a speculative demand would have increased anticipating a rise in prices. However, customers are still showing a wait and see stance.


Against the backdrop, customers

way, they are reducing electricity purchases from power suppliers, thereby helping slash carbon dioxide emissions.



According to the federation, energy efficiency at blast furnace steel makers in Japan is 10-30 percent higher than that at U.S. and European peers.



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