Articles in Category: Company News

Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and the metals storylines here on MetalMiner:

hot rolled coil steel

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Cut-to-length adders. Width and gauge adders. Coatings. Feel confident in knowing what you should be paying for metal with MetalMiner should-cost models.

Week of Nov. 29-Dec. 3 (hot rolled coil prices, Alcoa announces smelter restart and more)

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This morning in metals news: tin prices have surged; Norsk Hydro announced the end of a previously announced battery initiative; and, lastly, Cleveland-Cliffs is buying a ferrous scrap processor.

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Tin prices gain

tin

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As we noted earlier this week, news that Indonesia is considering a tin export ban is offering some support to tin prices.

LME three-month tin reached $39,250 per metric ton this week, up 7.2% month over month, according to MetalMiner Insights data.

Meanwhile, from a technical perspective, LME tin trading volumes reached a November peak of 7,138 on Nov. 16. Volumes fell as low as 2,538 later in the month before bouncing back up.

Subscribers can find more tin insights in this month’s Monthly Metal Outlook report.

Norsk Hydro announces end to battery initiative

Earlier this year, Norsk Hydro announced plans to extend its joint battery initiative with Panasonic and energy firm Equinor.

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Novolipetsk Iron & Steel (NLMK) is undertaking at its main production site in Russia upgrade work on one of the slab reheating furnaces, which will see hot rolling Mill 2000’s capacity rise by 7%, the steelmaking group said.

The planned work will push Mill 2000’s annual rolling capacity up by about to approximately 6.23 million metric tons, NLMK indicated.

NLMK logo

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The mill’s current rolling capacity is now 5.8 million tons, group spokeswoman Marina Simonova told MetalMiner.

Are you under pressure to generate steel cost savings? Make sure you are following these five best practices

NLMK upgrade work

Upgrade work on the reheating furnace includes installation of equipment that can automatically adjust the temperature, depending on the grade of steel that Mill 2000 rolls. The work will also lower carbon emissions from the furnace by 53,000 metric tons, the group said.

Work on the reheating furnace will also result in a 23% increase in its own annual throughput capacity to 2.25 million metric tons per year, from 1.83 million metric tons, group figures indicated.

NLMK plans to complete work on and restart the furnace in Q2 2023. Estimated cost of the project is ₽5 billion ($67.8 million), the group also said.

The work, however, will not impact Mill 2000’s operations, as there are four additional furnaces that have already undergone overhauls.

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This morning in metals news: the U.S. steel capacity utilization rate fell to 83.2% last week; North American Stainless maintained its stainless steel fuel surcharge; and, lastly, crude oil prices have lost steam this week.

Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. The MetalMiner team will discuss price predictions for 2022 during its final webinar of the year, scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 8. 

US steel capacity utilization rate hits 83.2%

steel production

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The U.S. steel capacity utilization rate fell to 83.2% for the week ending Nov. 27, down from 84.3% the previous week, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.

Steel output last week totaled 1.84 million net tons. The total marked a 1.3% decline from the previous week but a 13.3% year-over-year gain.

For the year to date, production reached 86.3 million net tons, or up 19.7% year over year.

U.S. steel prices have finally started to soften. U.S. HRC closed last week at $1,793 per short ton, according to MetalMiner Insights data, or down 5.6% month over month. Meanwhile, U.S. CRC closed at $2,111, down 0.3% month over month.

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Recently, MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns delved into the aluminum market deficit, one in which limited aluminum supply and elevated delivery premiums have been persistent features.

However, perhaps to some aluminum buyers’ relief, some supply is coming back online next year.

Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. Sign up for the last session of the year, scheduled for Wednesday Dec. 8, during which the MetalMiner team will discuss price predictions for 2022. 

Alcoa to restart idled smelter

Alcoa logo

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Alcoa Corporation earlier this month announced plans to restart an aluminum smelter that had sat idle since 2009.

The firm said it will restart the joint venture Portland Aluminium smelter in Australia, which has a total annual capacity of 358,000 metric tons per year.

However, Alcoa said it plans to restart 35,000 metric tons of capacity.

“Portland Aluminium is an unincorporated joint venture with 358,000 mtpy of total capacity, and Alcoa Corporation has 197,000 mtpy of consolidated capacity,” Alcoa said. “Once the restart is complete, Portland Aluminium will operate at approximately 95 percent of total capacity and Alcoa Corporation will have approximately 186,000 mtpy of its consolidated capacity at Portland operating.”

Renewed production at the Australian smelter is slated to begin in Q3 2022.

In September, Alcoa announced plans to restart its Alumar aluminum smelter in Brazil. The smelter, which has annual capacity of 268,000 metric tons per year, has been idle since 2015.

Midwest premium eases

As Stuart Burns has explained throughout the year, rising aluminum premiums reflect market tightness.

“The aluminum market is undeniably tight, as consumers are having to wait months for metal and the Midwest Premium rises,” Burns wrote back in March. “In some locations — Europe, in particular —  consumers of rolled plate cannot secure new production space until well into Q3.

“Some mills have even pulled out of quoting for new business customers in 2021. Anti-dumping legislation on flat rolled products from China and a fire last year at a Russian rolling mill have combined dramatically restrict supply options for consumers.”

Fast forward to Q4, and inventories in LME depots have continued to dwindle, Burns explained while also covering the background of the post-financial crisis aluminum market and the history of the so-called “stock and finance” trade and the shadowy world of off-warrant stocks.

However, the Midwest aluminum premium has lost some steam over the last couple of months. according to MetalMiner Insights data.

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This morning in metals news: General Motors announced it had purchased a stake in Pure Watercraft, a firm specializing in “all-electric boating solutions”; aluminum prices ticked up ahead of Thanksgiving; and, lastly, Thyssenkrupp commissioned its 35th EnviNOx® system, which reduces nitrous oxide emissions.

Cut-to-length adders. Width and gauge adders. Coatings. Feel confident in knowing what you should be paying for metal with MetalMiner should-cost models.

GM buys stake in electric watercraft firm

General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan

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When it comes to the automotive space and electrification, we typically focus on EVs that operate on land.

However, automaker General Motors recently announced it had purchased a stake in Pure Watercraft, which produces all-electric boating solutions. GM purchased a 25% stake in the Seattle-based firm.

“The collaboration between GM and Pure Watercraft advances a shared vision to promote sustainability through an expansion of zero-emissions mobility for future generations and reflects the holistic approach necessary for widespread EV adoption,” GM said.

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While you may be busy putting the finishing touches on your Thanksgiving spread and, subsequently, taking a turkey-induced nap, you might find some time to revisit this week’s coverage, including oil prices, global crude steel production and much more.

Thanksgiving

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But first, in case you missed it, MetalMiner is hosting its final monthly webinar of the year at 10:00 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, Dec. 8. Metal buying organizations will not want to miss it, as the MetalMiner team will delve into price predictions for 2022. For more information about the webinar and to sign up, those interested should visit the MetalMiner Events page.

Elsewhere, MetalMiner also recently launched a suite of precious metals within the MetalMiner Insights platform. In addition to gold and silver, the suite includes platinum and palladium (of particular relevance to the automotive sector), plus rhodium, iridium and ruthenium.

Without further ado, here’s a recap of this week’s coverage:

We’re off today and tomorrow but will resume regular coverage Monday.

But for now, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, MetalMiner readers!

This morning in metals news: Norsk Hydro plans to begin construction on its new aluminum recycling plant in Cassopolis, Michigan, in Q2 2022; meanwhile, U.S. utilities are spending more on electricity delivery; and, lastly, the United States International Trade Commission recently voted to continue investigations regarding imports of oil country tubular goods from Argentina, Mexico, Russia and South Korea.

Make sure you are following the five best practices of sourcing aluminum

Construction to begin next year on Hydro’s new Michigan aluminum recycling plant

Norsk Hydro

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Norsk Hydro said it is on track to begin construction in Q2 2022 on its new aluminum recycling plant in Cassopolis, Michigan.

“The Cassopolis greenfield development will mark the first large-scale production of Hydro CIRCAL® extrusion ingot in North America. We look forward to bringing this high-quality, low-carbon product to our most demanding customers,” said Eivind Kallevik, executive vice president of Hydro Aluminium Metal.

The extrusion ingot will be used in automotive, construction and consumer applications, in addition to building systems. The plant will have annual capacity of 120,000 tons per year.

Utilities pay more for electricity delivery

U.S. utilities are paying for more electricity delivery but less for power production, the Energy Information Administration reported today.

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This morning in metals news: Nucor Corporation announced it is adding a blast and plate line at its under-construction Kentucky plate mill; aluminum prices have stabilized somewhat after plunging in late October and early November; and, lastly, job openings rates decreased in 12 states in November.

MetalMiner has launched a full suite of precious metals as part of the MetalMiner Insights platform. This includes a complete suite of catalytic converter precious metals, which are particularly useful for automotive end-use applications.

Nucor adds line at Kentucky plate mill

Nucor logo

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Nucor announced late last week that it is adding a blast and prime line at its plate mill in Brandenburg, Kentucky. The mill is currently under construction.

The line will have an annual capacity of approximately 120,000 tons.

“By adding a blast and prime line to our state-of-the-art plate mill, we will be able to better serve customers in key markets, including our Nation’s military, infrastructure, heavy equipment, offshore wind and other energy products,” said Johnny Jacobs, vice president and general manager of Nucor Steel Brandenburg.

Nucor is investing $1.7 billion in the Brandenburg mill.

Aluminum prices stabilize

Aluminum prices plunged in late October and early November, falling from a peak of around $3,200 per metric ton to as low as $2,500 per metric ton, according to MetalMiner Insights data.

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Among a litany of the challenges, the ongoing semiconductor shortage has weighed on U.S. automotive manufacturers.

Despite solid demand, sales have faced strong headwinds from the part shortages, paired with low showroom inventories.

In turn, automakers, including Ford Motor Co., have idled production at various points over the last year. The Detroit automaker idled production at several plants in July and August in response to the chip shortage.

semiconductor and automobile

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However, the automaker recently announced a collaboration that aims to strengthen its position in the semiconductor market.

MetalMiner has launched a full suite of precious metals as part of the MetalMiner Insights platform. This includes a complete suite of catalytic converter precious metals, which are particularly useful for automotive end-use applications.

Ford, GlobalFoundries announce collaboration on semiconductors

Ford late last week announced a “strategic collaboration” with GlobalFoundries to “advance semiconductor manufacturing and technology development within the United States, aiming to boost chip supplies for Ford and the U.S. automotive industry.”

“It’s critical that we create new ways of working with suppliers to give Ford – and America – greater independence in delivering the technologies and features our customers will most value in the future,” Ford President and CEO Jim Farley said. “This agreement is just the beginning, and a key part of our plan to vertically integrate key technologies and capabilities that will differentiate Ford far into the future.”

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