Author Archives: Christopher Rivituso

Germany’s federal environment minister has pledged €55 million ($65 million) towards ArcelorMittal Hamburg’s planned construction of a demonstrator directed reduced iron (DRI) plant, which will eventually use green hydrogen, the Luxembourg-headquartered group stated.

Svenja Schulze pledged the government’s support Sept. 7 while visiting the Hamburg plant, ArcelorMittal noted.

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Germany to offer half of funding for new ArcelorMittal plant

ArcelorMittal sign in Ontario

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That amount represents half of the projected €110 million ($130 million) cost for the plant, ArcelorMittal said. However, funding is contingent on European Commission approval.

A spokesman for the group declined to say when the European Commission would give its approval. The spokesman expressed hope that approval would come “soon.”

The demonstrator plant will have a DRI capacity of 100,000 metric tons per year and is due to come on stream by 2025. The spokesman noted that it would at first use grey hydrogen to produce DRI, rather than green.

“Once available in sufficient volumes and at an affordable price, green hydrogen – made from the electrolysis of water using renewable energy – will be used,” ArcelorMittal stated in its Sept. 7 announcement.

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Sweden’s SSAB has announced collaboration plans with two European auto groups on the potential supply of fossil-free steel for auto bodies and parts.

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SSAB to collaborate with European auto groups on potential fossil-free steel supply

Postmodern Studio/Adobe StockThe flats and specialty steelmaker said Sept. 2 that it has agreed to collaborate with French company Faurecia on fossil-free steel to equip its automotive seating structures from 2026.

Faurecia has its headquarters just west of French capital city Paris. Besides auto seats, the company designs and manufactures exhaust systems, as well as interior systems that include dashboards, center consoles, door panels and acoustic modules.

SSAB also jointly announced with Mercedes-Benz on Sept. 1 that it would supply fossil free steel for the German group’s auto bodies, the specialty steelmaker said.

The first fossil-free steel prototypes for the auto group are due to be ready by 2022. Mercedes-Benz plans to become carbon-neutral by 2039 along its entire value chain, the companies stated.

An SSAB official declined to indicate the prospective volumes of steel that the steelmaker could supply to Mercedes-Benz, citing confidentiality agreements.

The collaboration announcements follow SSAB’s Aug. 16 announcement that it has produced the first batch of fossil-free steel at its Oxelösund site. DRI used in the fossil-free steel came from a pilot plant at the company’s Luleå works in central Sweden.

The pilot plant uses HYBRIT technology, which replaces coking coal with hydrogen to reduce iron ore and thus cuts emissions, information from the group stated.

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Higher stock levels and summer holidays have seen prices for hot rolled coil in Western Europe move off since late July, industry watchers said.

“I have the impression that people are not fully back yet from their holidays,” one source said.

Those who have returned are now either taking a wait-and-see approach to any new buying or are purchasing only small amounts, the source added.

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Hot rolled coil slides in Western Europe

hot-rolled coil steel

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Offers on hot rolled coil prices produced in Western Europe are now about €1,150 ($1,350) per metric ton exw for December delivery. That marked a drop of 4.2% from the €1,200 ($1,410) in July.

Prices for cold rolled coil, a downstream product of hot rolled coil, normally carry a premium of €100-120 ($120-140) per metric ton.

Import offers on hot rolled coil from the Far East are now about €1,000 ($1,175) per ton cfr European ports, sources also said.

Another trader reported he had heard of offers from South Korea at €960 ($1,130) per metric ton cfr Antwerp.

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The U.K. government has upheld the Trade Remedies Authority’s (TRA) revocation of anti-dumping duties for welded tube and pipe imports from Russia. However, it has upheld them for imports of the same product from Belarus and China.

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Tube and pipe duties

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The TRA made the recommendation to the Secretary of State for International Trade in its final determination of its transition review, which the U.K. government released Aug. 9, following the U.K.’s exit from the European Union in 2020-21.

That document, dated July 9, found that Russian steelmakers did not import into the U.K., meaning that no dumping has occurred.

The import duty thus lapsed from Jan. 30, 2021.

“Replacement of EU trade duty was Dec. 31, 2020. Consequently, the day of the expiry of the measure, and the appropriate date from which the anti-dumping amount will apply (or is revoked) is Jan. 30, 2021,” the TRA said in its recommendation.

Duties on the Russian imports were 10.1-20.5%, depending on the producer.

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Tata Steel Europe is eyeing a refractory reline of one of the two blast furnaces at its IJmuiden works (Tata Steel Netherlands) in 2022, a source close to the company told MetalMiner.

Tata Steel plant in IJMuiden, Netherlands

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He declined to say either which of IJmuiden’s two furnaces – BF 6 or BF 7 – would undergo a refractory reline or when in the year. He noted the company needs to speak with customers to determine their needs before deciding when exactly to blow down.

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Pre-engineering work at Tata Steel Netherlands

A blast furnace must continuously operate in campaigns, which normally last 15-20 years as deactivating it can create cracks in the refractory lining. Even when not on stream, blast furnaces must maintain a certain temperature to keep their refractories’ integrity.

Campaigns can also be as long as 30 years in some cases.

Pre-engineering work for the refractory reline at IJmuiden is now under way, the source said. The source added that this could include producing needed parts and acquiring necessary supplies.

“Many of these items you have to order months or even years in advance,” the source added.

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decarbonizing steel

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German flats producer Salzgitter-Flachstahl, part of the Salzgitter group, and Anglo American have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate on decarbonizing steel production, the London-headquartered company announced.

The work will include methods to reduce carbon emissions by researching iron ore pellets and lump ores that would be suitable for use in direct reduction steelmaking, Anglo American said in an Aug. 4 announcement.

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ArcelorMittal plans to invest C$1.77 billion ($1.42 billion) into installation of new technology at its Dofasco plant in Ontario. The investments will cut carbon emissions by 60%, or 3 million metric tons, over the next seven years, the steelmaker said.

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ArcelorMittal aims to slash emissions

ArcelorMittal logo

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ArcelorMittal Dofasco will transition to steelmaking via Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) and electric arc furnace (EAF) route. They will carry a lower carbon footprint and respective capacities of 2 million metric tons per year and 2.4 million metric tons per year. They are tentatively scheduled to go on stream before the end of 2028, the Luxembourg-headquartered group announced on July 30 with the Canadian federal government.

ArcelorMittal CEO Aditya Mittal and ArcelorMittal Dofasco President and CEO Ron Bedard made the announcement with several federal government officials, the group noted.

“The investment is contingent on support from the governments of Canada and Ontario. Today the Government of Canada announced it will invest C$400 million [$321 million] in the project. The company is in discussions with the Government of Ontario regarding its support,” ArcelorMittal stated.

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Tata Steel Europe (TSE) plans to raise from Sept. 1 its carbon surcharge on new contracts concluded for flat rolled steel products, an official with the company said.

“The surcharge is in line with the [European Union’s] Emissions Trading Scheme” for carbon regulation, the official told MetalMiner late last week.

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Tata Steel Europe raises carbon surcharge

carbon footprint

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As charges relating to the ETS scheme move up or down, TSE’s pricing department determines how to adjust it, the official added. He noted that reports from other publications of a one-third increase from €12 ($14.25) per metric ton to €16 ($19) were correct.

The carbon surcharge will also come under review from the start of each calendar quarter, and the company will decide then how much to adjust it and by when to enact any changes, the official noted.

Hot rolled coil in Western Europe is now about €1,200 ($1,425) per metric ton exw. Meanwhile, cold rolled coil is an estimated €1,300-1,320 ($1,545-1,570).

TSE, which is part of Tata Steel, initially introduced its carbon surcharge for flat rolled products on contracts from July 1, as the company was in deficit on its carbon allotments within the E.U. as well as in the United Kingdom.

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Prices for hot rolled coil in Western Europe have started to slow on subdued demand, due to the summer season and competitive import offers, market participants told MetalMiner.

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Hot rolled coil prices slow

hot-rolled coil steel

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The flat rolled product has transacted in the past week at closer to €1,200 ($1,415) per metric ton exw for November delivery. That compares with a price range of €1,150-1,200 in late June, sources said.

Producers sought to push HRC prices up to €1,250 ($1,475), one trading source told MetalMiner. End users, however, did not accept the increase.

Severe flooding late last week in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state, however, have created logistics disruptions in those areas. This prompted ThyssenKrupp Steel to declare on Friday a force majeure on its deliveries, a spokeswoman for the German group told MetalMiner.

“That doesn’t help the supply for sure” as it could tighten the market and mitigate any price declines, the analyst warned.

Higher temperatures in the European summer as well as workers and businesses taking holidays in July and August, resulting in lower activity, are now putting pressure on prices for the flat rolled products.

The import market is also adding pressure to local prices, however, sources noted.

Offers on HRC from mills in Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan are about $1,170-1,200 per ton CFR European ports for September/October delivery.

“I think that it is fair to say that import activity will pick up,” one analyst said.

Lead times on the domestic market are in some cases as far out as Q1 of 2022, he added.

Uncertainty over imports

The analyst warned, however, that it is for now uncertain what kind of impact Russia’s planned introduction of a 15% export tax from Aug. 1 on all steel products – semis and finished – would have on import markets into Europe.

China is also weighing the introduction of an export tax on its steel exports in order to cool its domestic market, one source said, after canceling in May the export rebate on the 13% value-added tax failed to bring the desired effect, sources noted.

Meanwhile, the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, opened up an antidumping investigation in June on hot dipped galvanized coil imports from Russia and Turkey. That prompted producers in those two countries to increase offer volumes, the trader said.

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Novolipetsk Steel (NLMK) reported a 10.8% increase year over year in its crude production for H1 2021. The steelmaker benefited from stronger demand, as economies in Russia and abroad restarted economic activity, the group said.

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NLMK ramps up production

Postmodern Studio/Adobe StockTotal crude production across all NLMK’s steelmaking assets came to 8.94 million metric tons, compared with 8.07 million tons over the same time in 2020, the group said in its July 13 operational results.

Rebuilding work on the converter shop at NLMK’s main site in Lipetsk also helped to raise production, the group added. Its capacity percentage averaged to 95.5%, up from 93% over the first six months of 2020.

NLMK has a crude steel capacity of 17 million metric tons per year. The majority of that volume comes from Lipetsk, which can pour up to 12.4 million metric tons per year. The crude steel is then cast into slab for rolling hot and cold rolled coil transformer and dynamo steel, as well as pre-painted.

Lipetsk also supplies its slabs to assets in Europe and the United States for further rolling into coils or plate.

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