Articles on: Metal Prices

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The first five months of 2020 have been quite busy ones for the world of metals.

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On this Memorial Day, let’s take a look back at the most-viewed posts on MetalMiner through the first five months of the year.

  1. Oil price collapse is far from over … but now the U.S. has a role

  2. First a stock market crash, then an oil price crash as Saudi Arabia, Russia butt heads

  3. Coronavirus likely to impact steel, iron ore demand in 2020

  4. After historic gold-silver price gap in March, investors are starting to bet on silver

  5. Trump expands Section 232 tariffs on steel, aluminum derivatives

  6. Copper MMI: Uncertain demand after coronavirus outbreak reverses copper price gains

  7. Precious metal prices, including gold, in free fall

  8. India’s steel sector struggled in 2019 — but what does 2020 hold?

  9. Stainless MMI: Stainless surcharges fall, nickel prices increase slightly

  10. Coronavirus outbreak hammers share prices more than commodities

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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:

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This morning in metals news, Cleveland-Cliffs announced plans to increase its flat-rolled steel prices, China’s copper inventories have declined and the iron ore price moved up near $100 per ton Thursday.

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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.

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Once, it used to be a major supplier of steel for most of India’s domestic consumers.

But with COVID-19 and its subsequent lockdowns and the almost overnight disappearance of the steel market, the public company Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) finds itself painted into a corner.

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Nickel prices have seen support in recent months more from supply-side concerns.

Initially, support came from bringing forward of Indonesia’s raw material export ban. More recently, support came from concerns the coronavirus pandemic would shut down mines in the Philippines and Indonesia, in addition to disruption of shipping to top consumer China.

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It was never going to be a straightforward takeover.

India’s Aditya Birla Group as the owner of Hindalco — and, therefore, Novelis — cemented its position as the world’s largest producer of value-added aluminium products with the completion of the USD 2.8 billion acquisition of Aleris last year.

However, approval from the U.S. Justice Department has been pending ever since the deal was announced in March last year.

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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 coverage of: copper prices, the automotive sector’s push to restart production, oil prices and more.

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This morning in metals news, copper prices were up Friday but expected to be down for the week, Rusal says the aluminum market recovery could stretch into next year and JW Aluminum’s CEO weighed in on potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. businesses’ sourcing strategy.

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The Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) fell 1.0% this month. (Editor’s Note: This report also includes coverage of grain-oriented electrical steel.) 

First Cobalt, Glencore to open North American cobalt supply plant

Canadian firm First Cobalt and miner Glencore plan to bring a new cobalt plant to North America, one that will supply the electric vehicle sector, the Financial Times reported.

First Cobalt reported a positive feasibility study May 4.

“First Cobalt Corp. today announced positive results from an independent feasibility study conducted on its permitted cobalt refinery in Ontario, Canada,” the firm said. “The study contemplates expanding the existing facility and adapting it to be North America’s first producer of cobalt sulfate, an essential component in the manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles.

“The feasibility study demonstrates that the First Cobalt Refinery project can become a viable, globally competitive player in the North American and European electric vehicle (EV) supply chain. The study reinforces the strength of First Cobalt’s business strategy for a rapidly evolving EV market that is heavily dependent on supply from China.”

The facility would mark the first North American cobalt supply location.

According to the study, the site would boast annual production of 25,000 tons of battery grade cobalt sulfate, which would account for 5% of the global refined cobalt market.

The project comes with an initial capital estimate of $56 million, First Cobalt said, and an operating cost estimate of $2.72/pound.

First Cobalt said discussions are underway with Glencore regarding “commercial arrangements, financing and allocation of project economics,” while “third party and government funding opportunities” are also “under review.”

Tesla, Alameda County reach deal

Electric vehicle maker Tesla and Alameda County — home to Tesla’s lone North American production facility — have reached a deal to resolve a row over the state’s COVID-19 shelter-in-place measures and CEO Elon Musk’s defiance of those measures this week.

Earlier this week, Musk dared authorities to arrest him as production at Tesla’s Fremont assembly plant restarted in defiance of shutdown orders in effect since March 23.

According to the Mercury News, Tesla and the county reached a deal to allow for the automaker to restart operations lawfully.

“We reviewed the plan and held productive discussions today with Tesla’s representatives about their safety and prevention plans, including some additional safety recommendations,” the county said in a statement, as quoted by the Mercury News. “If Tesla’s Prevention and Control Plan includes these updates, and the public health indicators remain stable or improve, we have agreed that Tesla can begin to augment their Minimum Business Operations this week in preparation for possible reopening as soon as next week.”


The GOES MMI, which covers grain-oriented electrical steel, fell 5.9% this month.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a new Section 232 investigation covering imports of laminations and wound cores for incorporation into transformers, electrical transformers and transformer regulators.

“The Department of Commerce will conduct a thorough, fair, and transparent review to determine the effects on the national security from imports of laminations for stacked cores for incorporation into transformers, stacked and wound cores for incorporation into transformers, electrical transformers, and transformer regulators,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said.

Previously, the Trump administration used Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

The U.S. GOES price fell 5.8% month over month to $2,418/mt.

Actual metals prices and trends

Japanese steel plate fell 0.2% month over month to $820.17/mt. Korean steel plate fell 3.7% to $494.28/mt. Chinese steel plate fell 0.6% to $569.78/mt.

U.S. steel plate dropped 7.4% to $637/st.

Cobalt cathodes rose 0.4% to $94,254.98/mt.