This Morning in Metals: Senate confirms new secretary of commerce

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Department of Commerce building

The U.S. Department of Commerce. qingwa/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) offered positive comments on the heels of the confirmation of the secretary of commerce; UK unions worry about the potential loss of thousands of jobs; and the Biden administration is taking a step back in the process toward an Arizona copper mine.

AISI on new Secretary of Commerce

The Senate voted 84-15 in favor of confirmation of Gina Raimondo to the position of secretary of commerce.

“Strong enforcement of U.S. trade laws is a top priority for American steelmakers, particularly as foreign government subsidies and other market-distorting policies and practices have resulted in significant global steel overcapacity — the impacts of which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” AISI President and CEO Kevin Dempsey said.

Dempsey emphasized the need for “full enforcement” of Section 232 remedies on steel products.

Raimondo had served as governor of Rhode Island since 2015.

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UK union fears

Workers in the UK’s steel industry are expressing concern over potential job losses due to financial troubles within Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, the BBC reported.

Per the report, Gupta’s primary source of finance, Greensill Capital, faces financial trouble. In turn, that could impact Gupta’s Liberty Steel group in the UK, leading to job losses in the sector.

Liberty Steel UK employs nearly 3,000 people across its sites in England, Scotland and Wales.

Biden administration pumps brakes on copper mine

The Associated Press reported the Biden administration has hit pause on the process behind a potential Arizona copper mine project.

The AP reported the Biden administration pulled back on an environmental review that would have opened the door for a copper mine on federal land in Arizona. The land is considered sacred to Apaches.

Now, the Department of Agriculture will extend its consultation with Native American tribes over their concerns related to the project.

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