This morning in metals news, the Aluminum Association sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer restating its support for exemptions to the Section 232 tariffs on imported aluminum, ground preparation has begun for a new electric vehicle battery cell production facility in Lordstown, Ohio, and the E.U. has disbursed a loan of €75 million to ArcelorMittal for its work on technology to reduce carbon emissions.
Articles in Category: Environment
This Morning in Metals: Aluminum Association reiterates support for Section 232 aluminum tariff exemptions
Significant gaps remain within societal expectations of the mining industry, a recent report from the Responsible Mining Foundation said.
“The performances of even the best-scoring companies fall considerably short of society expectations in all six thematic areas,” the report stated, adding that all mining companies must improve their efforts to ensure company practices are efficiently managed.
Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was with some of the metals coverage here on MetalMiner, including: oil prices, global steel production, Chinese steel stocks, U.S. automotive sales and more.
As an example of how often there are no easy answers to the most intractable problems, Italy’s Ilva steel plant, as it was known, is an example of many problems and many solutions — none of them without consequences.
The Taranto plant, situated in Puglia on the heel of Italy’s “boot,” has long been a major source of pollution (specifically, air pollution). Failure to clean up the plant was a major part of previous owner Gruppo Riva’s loss of the plant back in 2014, when the state seized billions of euros in assets from Ilva.
India’s automobile sector is at a crossroads.
The country has embarked on a clean energy drive following its commitment to the Paris agreement in 2015 and has now dedicated itself to reduce its emissions by 2030.
Reduction of vehicular emissions is part of this program. So, even though the sale of automobiles in the last year or so has been dismal, hopes are pinned on a push for electric vehicles (EVs).
Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals storylines here on MetalMiner, including coverage of: aluminum production and prices; Trump’s tariffs on aluminum and steel derivatives; the coronavirus’ potential impact on iron ore; General Motors’ electrification drive; and the arrival of Brexit.
Heard of Europe’s Green Deal? No?
That may not be surprising, as it was only announced last month. While it sounds like the latest fruit and veg special offer at your local supermarket, it is likely to be one of the most profound policy changes to hit Europe since the formation of the Common Agricultural Policy or the creation of the Euro — or so says Nick Butler, chair of the Policy Institute at Kings College London, writing in the Financial Times this week.
The Green Deal was announced by new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and in brief, is a commitment by the E.U.’s 27 member states to achieve zero net carbon emissions by 2050.
We have covered the precious metals and palladium, in particular, a few times over recent months, not because we have suddenly become PGM investors (although looking at price performance, that would have been a fortunate move) but simply because they are the only metals sector showing any real dynamism.
The base metals have at best been lackluster. Aluminum has been range-bound for much of the last nine months, as has most of the base metals complex.
Copper has perked up since about November on the back of expectations of a thaw in U.S.-China trade relations. Nickel got interesting toward the back end of August when the market reacted to news of an Indonesian export ban but has since sunk back.
Only the precious metals have risen and sustained their rises during the period — albeit for differing reasons.
Environmental damage caused by mining and refining processes like smelting are not uncommon.
In the last two years alone, one site lists 10 major tailings dam failures alone; environmental damage from tailing ponds is only the thin end of the wedge when it comes to the wider remit of potential environmental consequences arising from mineral extraction.
Yet not one of those events listed was in China, despite half the world’s metals being refined and produced there, and a sizable proportion of the world’s mines being in China.
This morning in metals news, Tata Steel is making job cuts across its European operations, U.S. Steel announced it plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2030 and copper ticked up again Monday.
Job Cuts Coming to Tata Steel’s European Operations
Steelmaker Tata Steel will cut jobs throughout its European operations, Reuters reported, where the company employs approximately 20,000 people.
According to the report, Tata says there won’t be any plant closures.
U.S. Steel Announces Emissions Target
U.S. Steel announced last week it plans to cut emissions by 20% by 2030.
“The company has set a goal to reduce its global greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 20 percent, as measured by the rate of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents emitted per ton of finished steel shipped, by 2030 based on 2018 baseline levels,” the company said. “This target will apply to U. S. Steel’s global operations.”
The steelmaker also outlined initiatives toward that goal.
“U.S. Steel’s greenhouse gas emissions intensity reduction goal will be achieved through execution of multiple initiatives,” the company said. “These include the development of electric arc furnace steelmaking at U.S. Steel’s Fairfield Works and at Big River Steel, the first LEED-certified steel mill in the nation, in which U.S. Steel recently acquired a minority interest with an option to acquire the remainder over the next four years. Electric arc furnace steelmaking relies on scrap recycling to produce new steel products, capitalizing on steel’s status as the most recycled material on earth. Further carbon intensity reductions are expected to come from the company’s introduction of state-of-the-art endless rolling and casting technology and construction of a cogeneration facility at its Mon Valley Works announced in May, as well as implementation of ongoing energy efficiency measures, continued use of renewable energy sources and other process improvements.”
Copper Makes Gains
Copper prices rose for the second straight session Monday, Reuters reported.
LME three-month copper ticked up 0.1%, while SHFE copper rose 0.3%, according to the report.