Articles in Category: Logistics

India’s mining sector has the potential to contribute as much as $70 billion to the country’s economy by 2030 and generate about 6 to 7 million jobs, believes the country’s industry association, the Confederation of Indian Industry.

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A report titled, Mining Opportunities – Realizing Potential was recently released by the CII, though with an added a cautionary note: clearances “still remain an impediment for a smooth transition from auction stage to implementation stage.”

Mining Reforms Having an Effect

The current Modi government initiated reforms in the mining sector, which underperformed during the previous regime, many say, due to red tape. One of the most important steps was the clearance of the National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP) by the government in.

NMEP has the following main features for facilitating exploration in the country:

  1. The Ministry of Mines will carry out auctioning of identified exploration blocks for exploration by the private sector on a revenue-sharing basis. If exploration leads to auctionable resources, the revenue will be borne by the successful bidder of those auctionable blocks.
  2. Creation of baseline geoscientific data as a public good for open dissemination free of charge.
  3. A National Geoscientific Data Repository was supposed to be set up to collate all baseline and mineral exploration information generated by various central and state government agencies and also mineral concession holders and to maintain these on a geospatial database.

While these policy changes have been welcomed overall, there has been some criticism over the implementation. The CII report, for example, talks of the “inordinately long time that is required for obtaining this clearance and the cumbersome process involved therein.”

Why Can’t Companies Start Mining Faster?

The report was recently released at the International Mining and Machinery (IMME) and Global Summit 2016. It said that the Environment and Forest clearance processes take a long time and added that there was significant room for improvement in the clearance system in terms of efficiency, speed of decision making, predictability and transaction.

There’s also unexpected criticism from another quarter on the new mining policy. A report in the DNA newspaper, quoting global miner Anglo American PLC, said the Indian auction system discourages foreign direct investment as the auction process does not provide adequate risk-reward incentive.

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In the report, John Vann, group head of exploration at Anglo, said the auction system makes it difficult to see India competing with other countries where Anglo American invests. According to him, the granting of licenses rather than auctioning off mines would give confidence to foreign investors.

Dutch 3D printing technology firm MX3D is close to beginning construction on its stainless steel, 3D-printed pedestrian bridge in Amsterdam.

We wrote about the bridge and its design in 2015. MX3D Co-Founder and CMO Gijs van der Velden recently explained to me at the Autodesk University trade show in Las Vegas where the project is at and why they expect construction (via giant welder robots who will weld individual parts “printed” in mX3D’s facility together) to start in early 2017.

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“We’re at the point where we’ve printed every critical part of the bridge and all we need is approval from the engineers,” van der Velden said. “Our design is quite elaborate and all the diameters change everywhere and we use 3D printed parts. We’re getting pretty close and once they approve we have agreed with the City government that once we do a full load-bearing test it will be acceptable. It’s not the normal procedure but the city was very helpful in accommodating us.”

The bridge, which will be made of stainless steel 316 alloy, will be installed in a public park in Amsterdam and cross one of the city’s famous canals.

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One of the stainless steel supports of MX3D’s 3D-printed pedestrian bridge that will soon be assembled and welded together in Amsterdam. Source: Jeff Yoders.

“(We chose 316 stainless) because it’s highest grade standard and not too expensive,” van der Velden said. “We want to make this technique available for other professions — other than aerospace (where it’s already being used) — so, we want to work in steel, stainless steel, bronze, aluminum.”

After winning a silver medal at the London Paralympics in 2012, German cyclist Denise Schindler wanted more at the Rio games last Summer. More comfort.

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Paralympian Denise Schindler and her silver and bronze medals from the Rio Summer Paralympics. Source: Jeff Yoders

Paralympian Denise Schindler and her silver and bronze medals from the Rio Summer Paralympics. Source: Jeff Yoders

Schindler, a native of Germany’s Bavarian region, had her right leg amputated below the knee after she was in a tram accident when she was three years old. She took up competitive cycling at 18 (she’s now 30) and has been racing at the top level for the last six years.

She won silver in the women’s road race at the London Olympics in 2012. At that Olympics, Schindler wore a carbon-fiber racing leg on her residual limb that cost $12,733.20 (€12,000) to produce and… it still didn’t work right. She got a large abrasion that caused her a great deal of pain during competition even though she was able to finish all of her races.

Lighter, But Stronger and More Malleable

The answer was a polycarbonate prosthetic with a lighter, web-like “smart lattice” structure that Schindler spent two years working with Paul Sohi — an Autodesk engineer, maker and start-up evangelist — on designing and 3D printing with Fusion 360. The resulting limb, the “Real Leg Racing Leg” only cost about $2,652 (€2,500) to produce and, thanks to rapid prototyping and 3D printing, was tested much more extensively with design iterations simply created via “printing” iterations of it. It fit much better than the carbon-fiber, traditional manufacturing process one. Schindler was the first person to compete in an Olympics with a 3D-printed or additive manufactured prosthesis. Read more

Have you brought your metals suppliers into the digital economy? Would you like to?

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Tracking shipments, confirming delivery schedules and knowing when rail, ship or road bottlenecks are affecting your materials supply chain can give you the time and cost certainty you need to run your business more efficiently.

Are your suppliers part of a proprietary supplier network? From an overall digitization perspective, asking suppliers to join a proprietary supplier network in today’s world, especially for the complicated metals supply chain, would be like giving them a model T to get from point A to point B on today’s complicated interstate highway system.

For manufacturers, the metals supply chain can involve international freight, financial risk management, logistics and technical expertise. Yet many suppliers still aren’t optimizing the technologies to track, hedge, ship and manage your metals purchases that are available today.

What does readying your suppliers for the digital economy really require? Join Jason Busch from Spend Matters and Marco De Vries, Senior Director, OpenText Business Network, as they discuss and debate the topic. They’ll explore a range of topics and their impact on procurement and supply chain transformation: The Internet of Things (IoT), peer-to-peer, the sharing economy, AI/machine learning, platform business models, social collaboration, blockchain and more.

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Tune in Thursday, November 17th at11:00 AM Eastern (10:00 AM Central and 4 PM U.K.). The even will be available On-Demand after the day of recording. Register Now!

Unplanned global oil supply disruptions averaged more than 3.6 million barrels per day in May, the highest monthly level recorded since the U.S. Energy Information Administration started tracking global disruptions in January 2011.

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From April to May, disruptions grew by 0.8 million bpd as increased outages, largely in Canada, Nigeria, Iraq, and Libya, more than offset reduced outages in Kuwait, Brazil, and Ghana. Six months later, the U.S. is joining the energy disruption party. On Saturday, an explosion and fire in Alabama sent futures surging and traders scrambling to supply the East Coast states with fuel.

EIA Energy Disruptions

Oil supply disruptions as measured by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Source: EIA.

Colonial Pipeline Co., which carries gasoline and other refined products from Houston to Linden, N.J., was forced Monday to shut its two main pipelines after a crew working near the site of a prior spill hit the line with construction equipment. Read more

The development of natural gas and hydrogren technologies is a focus of research at Voestalpine AG‘s new DRI hot-briquetted iron ore facility near Corpus Christi, Texas.

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“We are hoping to run blast furnaces with hydrogen instead of coal and coke,” said Dr. Wolfgang Eder, Voestalpine’s chairman and CEO. “Development of such technology will take a 20-30-year time frame, but I am convinced we’ll hit that target.”

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This blurry “art shot” of Voestalpine’s 450-foot HBI production facility signifies that this will be a “think piece” about research, smog and environmental sustainability. Or Jeff took this from the bus. Jeff seriously took this from the bus. Source: Jeff Yoders

Natural Gas and Natural Hydrogen

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the potential of converting natural gas (the fuel material for Voestalpine’s iron ore reduction tower) to hydrogen to decarbonize dirty production processes. Voestalpine’s head and environmental heart certainly seem like they’re in the right place, but what might be advantageous, for the U.S. and South Texas, is the jobs that that research will bring. Read more

Rio Tinto has cut its guidance for iron ore shipments and U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly fell this month.

Rio Tinto Cuts Back Iron Ore Guidance

Global miner Rio Tinto on Thursday cut its 2016 guidance for iron ore shipments by as much as 5 million metric tons after releasing lower third-quarter production data, citing shipping interruptions.

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The downward revision — equivalent to as much as $290 million at current ore prices — comes as the steelmaking commodity stages a recovery on the back of a surprise lift in demand from China.

U.S. Consumer Confidence Falls

Consumer confidence unexpectedly fell to a one-year low in October as Americans soured on the outlook for the economy amid a contentious presidential election campaign.

The University of Michigan preliminary index of sentiment declined to 87.9 from 91.2 in September, according to a report Friday. That was weaker than the lowest estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Long-term inflation expectations declined to a record low.

The shipping industry would argue that it moves more cargo with a lower carbon footprint per ton than any of the alternatives.

Airlines, by comparison, move a fraction of the cargo (even including passengers) and yet emit comparable global CO2 emissions. Yet, while automakers and car buyers have been forced to accept the costs and burdens of substantial legislation, the manufacturing (particularly in Europe) has had to pay ever higher power costs to subsidize national reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from their power industries and heavy industry has been regulated on emissions of just about everything, the shipping industry has gotten off relatively scot-free.

Escaping Regulation

Frugal as the shipping industry is in terms of CO2 emissions per mile/ton, it is still a major polluter as anyone who has witnessed a ferry boat or ocean liner firing up its boilers will testify. Not only does the industry account for some 3% of greenhouse gas emissions on current trends, it is forecast to rise to 5% by 2050, when all other targets are set to halve from 1990 levels.

Source European Commission report on Shipping

Source European Commission report on Shipping.

The problem is compounded by the fact that a ship’s bunker fuel is probably the most hazardous and polluting of fuels burned for any major industrial application anywhere, with higher levels of sulfur and other health damaging constituents. Read more

China is importing record numbers of North Korean coal in violation of international sanctions and the shipping industry is still suffering under its worst downturn ever.

China Ignores Sanctions, Imports Record North Korean Coal

It appears that China is interpreting the “people’s well-being” as meaning North Korea should be able to export record amounts of coal in defiance of sanctions against the rogue nuclear-armed state.

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China imported 2.465 million metric tons of coal from North Korea in August, the highest on record, and 61% above what was bought in April, the month sanctions were supposed to take effect.

Shipping Downturn Claims Hanjin

The shipping industry is suffering its deepest downturn ever as trade slows. Around 90% of world trade is transported by sea.

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South Korean container line Hanjin, which filed for receivership on Aug. 31, is the latest casualty in a crisis exacerbated by a glut of ships, many of which were built before the financial crisis when the global economy was healthier. It did, however, gain a reprieve when its ships were allowed to unload cargo that had been sitting around waiting for a resolution.

Dr. Christopher Bayer, Ph.D., of the Payson Center for International Development of Tulane University Law School, recently responded to an e-mail interview with MetalMiner Editor Jeff Yoders about the recent Conflict Mineral Benchmarking Study he led of Dodd-Frank Conflict Minerals compliance.

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More than three years after U.S. companies began filing reports about their efforts to find conflict minerals linked to armed militias in Africa in their supply chains, 65% say they still can’t make a determination about what minerals are in those chains. Bayer explained more in this MetalMiner Q&A.

Chris Bayer. Image courtesy of Tulane University.

Chris Bayer. Image: Tulane University.

Jeff Yoders: Analysis of the reports shows that conflict-minerals reports are boosting supply-chain transparency for many of these companies. Is that an added benefit to reporting?

Chris Bayer, PhD: Yes, a company can use Dodd-Frank Section 1502 to gain insight into its own supply chain, to a degree that would probably not have been previously possible. Whether and how companies may leverage that to their advantage is up to them, but without question, information is power. Quite a number of companies are weeding out non-performing suppliers in their supply chain according to their defined parameters on conflict minerals.

JY: 10% Of all filers said, or implied, they had conflict-free products. What did you and your team’s research tell you about these claims?

CB: First off, it is in fact an extraordinary claim for a company to make. A whole lot of work would go into ruling out the possibility that the company is indeed not — through its procurement practices — fueling conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Your due diligence inquiry is, by definition, very involved, given the sheer amount of tiers and suppliers to traverse on average. But as per the Securities and Exchange Commission, a company should take care not to designate is products as DRC conflict-free unless it can also provide independent assurance that would lend credibility to such a claim.

JY: Incomplete reports were still an issue. How long do you think it will be until companies can, at least, fill out complete reports?

CB: Since many companies are already able to achieve full compliance — including reporting smelter Or Refiner (SOR) and Country of Origin (COO) data — the we-need-more time argument becomes less plausible.

JY: More companies underwent product audits this year. Are outside product audits necessary for full compliance?

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CB: A company that does not opt to use the “DRC conflict free” designation is, as per the SEC statement of April 29, 2014, not required to have an independent, private-sector audit performed.