This Morning in Metals: Rio Tinto releases Q2 production results

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This morning in metals news: Rio Tinto released its second-quarter production results; steel industry groups want infrastructure to be added to the U.S.’s next stimulus bill; and reported plans to replace furnaces at Tata Steel’s Port Talbot plant have raised worries that thousands of jobs could be lost in the process.

Rio Tinto releases Q2 production results

Rio Tinto posted year-over-year production growth for both iron ore and bauxite, the miner reported Friday.

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The miner’s Q2 2020 iron ore production jumped 4% year over year, while bauxite production rose 9% year over year.

“We delivered a strong performance, particularly in iron ore and bauxite, demonstrating the underlying resilience of our business and ability to adapt in difficult conditions,” CEO J-S Jacques said. “Our iron ore assets are performing well in a strong pricing environment and we are on track to meet our 2020 iron ore guidance. Despite various COVID-19 related challenges, all our assets have continued to operate, with our first priority to protect the health and safety of all our employees and communities.”

Steel groups want infrastructure in next stimulus bill

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to yield wide-ranging impacts on the U.S. economy, stimulus is one tool in the government’s basket to offer a boost.

For the next stimulus bill, steel industry groups want infrastructure to be included.

“As a result of economic hardships in states across the country, DOTs have been forced to delay or cancel key infrastructure projects because of revenue shortfalls and the impact of COVID-19,” several industry groups wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY). “To ensure that these projects can proceed and create demand for essential [steel] products and support good wage jobs used in the transportation sector, the steel industry requests Congress include at least $37 billion for state DOTs in the future relief bill that will be considered by Congress this month. Ensuring that state DOTs have appropriate funding to carry out essential projects is an important first step in our nation’s economic recovery.”

Job loss worries at Tata Steel

Reported plans to shutter a pair of blast furnaces at Tata Steel’s Port Talbot operation and replace them with electric arc furnaces have raised concerns thousands of jobs could be lost in the process, the BBC reported.

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According to the report, however, Tata says no decisions on the matter have been made yet.

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