Articles in Category: Company News

metalworking

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Before we head into the penultimate weekend of 2020, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals storylines here on MetalMiner, including: research findings related to organic molecules’ impact on machinability; gold prices; and the arrival of an allocation market for steel-buying organizations, as explained by MetalMiner CEO Lisa Reisman:

Week of Dec. 14-18 (machinability, gold prices and steel allocation market)

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metal cutting

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This morning in metals news: Purdue University researchers have released findings about the impact of organic molecules on machinability; Glencore made an operational update; and the WTI crude oil price ticked up this week.

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Purdue University releases findings on organic molecules’ role in machinability

Purdue University researchers released findings on the effect of organic molecules on metal surfaces, particularly in terms of the ease of cutting metals.

“The researchers previously showed that the application of a permanent marker or Sharpie, glue or adhesive film made it easier to cut metals such as aluminum, stainless steels, nickel, copper and tantalum for industrial applications,” Purdue University said in a release.

Researchers from Purdue University, Japan’s Osaka University and the Indian Institute of Science collaborated on the research.

As Purdue notes, improving the machinability of metals or alloys can mean lower costs of production. Furthermore, augmented machinability can also lead to better performance or development of new product designs, Purdue noted.

The team’s findings are published in Science Advances.

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North America on globe

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Russia’s Severstal plans to target the United States and Canada as an export market for its large-diameter pipe (LDP) products from the Izhora Pipe Mill (ITZ), an official with the steelmaking group told MetalMiner.

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Severstal looks abroad

Lower consumption and a review of investment plans by major end-users within Russia itself have prompted the move, the source noted.

In addition, many pipeline construction projects within Russia have also ended, a market watcher also said.

“The domestic market has been overloaded for a while,” that source added.

Severstal also announced in November that it had for the first time dispatched 235,000 tonnes of LDP – with a 800.1 mm diameter and a wall thickness of 19.05 mm – to the Port of Houston as a one-time shipment.

The official did not say who the end-user was or the planned application, however, citing confidentiality agreements.

Only a small percentage of Severstal’s LDP production has gone to the export market, mainly to Europe, South Asia as well as to Middle East and North Africa, the official told MetalMiner.

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low carbon steel

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This morning in metals news: Rio Tinto has committed $10 million toward its research partnership with China’s Baowu Steel Group; meanwhile, Freeport McMoRan completed the sale of an undeveloped project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and, lastly, copper remains at an over seven-year high.

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Rio Tinto commits $10M investment toward low-carbon steelmaking research

Miner Rio Tinto has announced a commitment of $10 million toward its low-carbon steelmaking research partnership with Chinese steelmaking giant Baowu Steel Group.

“Rio Tinto’s investment will fund the joint establishment of a Low Carbon Raw Materials Preparation R&D Centre, which will initially prioritise the development of lower carbon ore preparation processes,” Rio Tinto said in a release Wednesday. “This will include creating two ore preparation pilot plants, one to use biomass and the other exploring using microwave technology. The investment will also support work on carbon dioxide utilisation and conversion at the China Baowu Low Carbon Metallurgical Innovation Centre, which is a Baowu-led open platform for advancing metallurgical technologies to support the low-carbon transformation of the steel industry.”

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wind and solar electricity generation

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The Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) gained 7.8% for this month’s index value. (Editor’s Note: This report also includes coverage of grain-oriented electrical steel, or GOES.)

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EIA: U.S. to add wind, solar capacity to electricity generation mix

While an overwhelming majority of U.S. power generation still comes from non-renewable sources, the renewables share of the mix will only continue to grow.

The U.S.’s share of electricity generation from renewables is forecast to rise from 18% in 2019 to 20% this year, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported in its recent Short-Term Energy Outlook. Meanwhile, the EIA forecast the figure to rise to 21% in 2021.

Furthermore, the EIA expects the U.S. electric power sector will add 23.0 gigawatts (GW) of new wind capacity in 2020. In addition, the sector will add 9.5 GW of new capacity in 2021.

Meanwhile, the sector will add 12.8 GW of solar power capacity in 2020 and 14.0 GW in 2021.

Glencore, GEM Co. extend cobalt supply partnership

Miner Glencore announced an extension of its cobalt supply agreement with Chinese recycler GEM Co. Ltd. 

The parties announced a five-year partnership in October 2019. Earlier this month, Glencore announced the two parties would extend the supply agreement an additional five years to 2029.

Under the agreement, Glencore will supply approximately 150,000 tonnes of cobalt contained in hydroxide between 2020 and 2029.

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Steel production

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Keeping future demands in mind, Nippon Steel Corp. has decided to focus more on markets like the United States and India.

At the same time, it is reducing focus on Japan for the medium term.

The aim, according to a top-level executive of the Japanese steel company, is to capitalize on overseas profit which. At present, uptake in the global automobiles sector is largely driving that profit.

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Nippon looks overseas

News agency Reuters quoted Nippon Steel’s Executive Vice President Katsuhiro Miyamoto as saying they were looking at increasing the production capacity overseas, where demand is expected to go up.

Incidentally, Nippon, Japan’s biggest steelmaker and ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, had jointly bought India’s bankrupt Essar Steel, which has an annual capacity of 9.6 million tons.

Miyamoto also told the news agency during his interview that Nippon Steel was actively contemplating a plan to construct an electric furnace at its U.S. joint venture with ArcelorMittal in Calvert, Alabama. It will have a furnace of 1.5 MT of annual output capacity as a first step.

ArcelorMittal announced in September this year it would sell most of its U.S. assets to Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. The sale did not include the Calvert facility.

As for new venture ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India, he said there are plans to increase capacity to between 12 million and 15 million tons in the future.

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solar power

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This morning in metals news: the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its Short-Term Energy Outlook; the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) wants to know why iron ore prices are soaring; and the CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs touted the company’s plans for steel in the region after its acquisition of ArcelorMittal USA.

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EIA releases Short-Term Energy Outlook

The EIA released its Short-Term Energy Outlook last week, noting the average Brent crude price in November rose by about $3 per barrel compared with the previous month.

Furthermore, the EIA forecast an average crude price of $49 per barrel in 2021, up from the expected average of $43 per barrel in Q4 2020.

The outlook also offered an update on renewables.

“EIA forecasts that planned additions to wind and solar generating capacity in 2020 and 2021 will contribute to increasing electricity generation from those sources,” the EIA said. “EIA expects the U.S. electric power sector will add 23.0 gigawatts (GW) of new wind capacity in 2020 and 9.5 GW of new capacity in 2021. Expected utility-scale solar capacity rises by 12.8 GW in 2020 and by 14.0 GW in 2021.”

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steel shipment

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Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and the metals storylines here on MetalMiner, including industrial metals bouncing back, iron ore’s roaring 2020 and much more:

Week of Dec. 7-11 (industrial metals, iron ore and more)

bulk cargo iron ore

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This morning in metals news: the iron ore price is surging amid a Pilbara Ports Authority cyclone warning; Steel Dynamics shares jumped; and Rio Tinto declared a maiden ore reserve at a project in western Serbia.

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.

Iron ore price supported by cyclone warning off Australian coast

As Stuart Burns explained earlier this week, iron ore has been the star of 2020 in terms of upward price mobility.

The price is looking primed to make further gains. Australia’s Pilbara Ports Authority, which oversees the world’s largest iron ore export terminal, on Thursday issued cyclone alerts in which it advised it would clear the port and anchorages of the Port of Port Hedland of all large vessels.

“As of 0800 (WST), a tropical low is located some 740 kilometres/400 NM South East of Christmas Island,” the Pilbara Ports Authority wrote in its first alert Thursday.

In a subsequent alert, it announced it had completed clearing of the port and anchorages.

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import tariff

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The U.S. has agreed to refund “a significant portion, plus accrued interest” on an import tariff for slab imports to Russian steelmaking group Novolipetsk Steel’s U.S. subsidiary, the parent group said.

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U.S. subsidiary of Russian steelmaking group reaches deal on import tariff refund

The refund is the result of a settlement between NLMK USA and the federal government in a dispute over the refund of duties for slab imports.

However, the government did not admit to any improprieties, the group said in a mid-November statement.

Since 2018, steel imports into the United States are subject to duties imposed under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The duties amounted to 25% and 10% on steel and aluminum, respectively, on imports from most countries.

NLMK USA normally sources slab from Novolipetsk Steel’s main plant at Lipetsk, in Russia. The slab is used for rolling at NLMK Indiana, as well as at NLMK Pennsylvania and Sharon Coating.

Costs to produce one metric tonne of steel in the United States are $460-500. Meanwhile, in Russia they are $320-350, industry watchers told MetalMiner.

Case background

NLMK USA originally brought the import tariff lawsuit in February against the government at the United States Court of International Trade. That claim covered 86 exclusions submitted for slab that the steelmaker submitted in 2018.

The U.S. Department of Commerce denied the requests. The department argued other steelmakers in the country claimed they were able to produce adequate supply of slab for rolling.

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