Archive | Aluminium/Bauxite

Miners test greener ways to dig – by Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal/Toronto Star – July 16, 2018)

Miners are considering new ways to make the dirt they dig up green.

Across the U.S. border in Quebec, a research facility will fine-tune a technology that its owners—Alcoa Corp. and Rio Tinto PLC—believe could turn aluminum smelters carbon-free for the first time. Another initiative under way in Sweden could see hydrogen replace coking coal in manufacturing steel.

Miners have long seen investing in technology as a way to bring costs down and protect profits during swings in the global economy. But a new force for change has recently emerged: customers such as Apple Inc. and Audi AG that see a marketing advantage in ensuring their products are cleaner and greener than before.

Nestlé SA’s coffee brand Nespresso, for example, wants to source all the aluminum for its capsules from sustainably managed operations by 2020, which includes strict limits on greenhouse-gas emissions. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Pain for aluminium shorts as LME gets squeezed again – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – July 13, 2018)

LONDON, July 13 (Reuters) – Aluminium hasn’t escaped the broader industrial metals rout. The London Metal Exchange (LME) aluminium price has on Friday morning touched $2,021.50 per tonne, its lowest level since April.

The “Russian Premium”, which resulted from the April 6 imposition of U.S. sanctions on Oleg Deripaska and his Russian aluminium empire Rusal, has been fully unwound.

The market is expecting sanctions to be lifted but aluminium’s slide is also part of a broader metals retreat as macro concerns trump micro narratives. That LME price, however, is for metal in three months time, a quirk of the London market that sets the global price benchmark. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Beer versus aluminium; the U.S. battle-lines are drawn again – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – July 9, 2018)

LONDON, July 9 (Reuters) – The price of aluminium paid by consumers in the United States has risen sharply this year. This is not entirely surprising, given the imposition from the start of March of a 10-percent tariff on just about all imports of the metal.

But has the price risen too much? The Beer Institute, which represents the country’s more than 5,000 brewers, thinks so.

It has asked the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to “address potentially anticompetitive activities in the aluminum market that are driving up aluminum prices”. Thirty-two U.S. lawmakers think so as well. Continue Reading →

Trump’s Trade War Looms Over a Canadian Town Built to Supply America – by Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – June 28, 2018)

Arvida, Quebec, is part of a cross-border ecosystem responsible for the metal in three out of four American cars.

If ever a town embodied U.S.-Canadian symbiosis, it’s Arvida, Quebec. Built by Americans, its giant smelter supplied most of the Allied forces’ aluminum in World War II and today makes metal used in Budweiser beer cans, Tesla and Ford cars and in AR15 rifles, part of the 2.5 million metric tons that Canada sends over the border each year.

But now this corner of French-speaking Canada is in America’s cross hairs after the Trump administration’s shock move to tax metal from its closest ally under the pretext of national security.

“When you want to kill your dog, you will say he has rabies,” Mayor Josee Neron said in an interview. “To see one person destroy all that in just a blink of an eye, I think it’s too bad.” Continue Reading →

Time for Trudeau to cut the outrage over Trump’s antics and just cut a deal – by Diane Francis (Financial Post – June 19, 2018)

Imagine throwing a $600-million party and one of the guests leaves in a huff and then Twitter-trashes you all across the Pacific Ocean.

That’s what happened to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after he hosted the recent G7 extravaganza and was subsequently attacked by U.S. President Donald Trump.

But this isn’t the first of Trudeau’s trade missteps. He went to China and got the cold shoulder from Xi Jinping for a free trade deal, after snubbing Japan and its Trans-Pacific Partnership by missing a signing ceremony. Continue Reading →

Hidden aluminum stocks to be lured out by premiums, charges – by Eric Onstad (Reuters U.S. – June 12, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – High U.S. aluminum premiums and weaker returns from storage financing deals are likely to lure more metal onto the market from hidden inventories. The bulk of more than 10 million tonnes of global stocks of the metal, mainly used for transport and construction, are outside warehouses certified by exchanges, analysts estimate.

The additional material flowing from these unregulated storage areas could help to fill a gap and supply industrial consumers if U.S. sanctions on Russia’s Rusal remain.

An influx of material, however, could weigh on the market if the United States lifts restrictions on United Company Rusal, the biggest aluminum producer outside of China. Continue Reading →

Quebec backs aluminum, steel companies hit by U.S. tariffs – by Steven Chase (Globe and Mail – June 12, 2018)

Quebec is offering $100-million in loans and guarantees to steel and aluminum companies hit by recent U.S. tariffs, raising the possibility of trade complaints against Canadian firms.

Dominique Anglade, Quebec’s Economic Minister, told reporters in Montreal that the program came after aluminum and steel companies received feedback from clients who are not willing to pay the tariffs. “What they’re telling us is some of their contracts were cancelled,” she said, adding some had already slowed production.

Ten days ago, the United States imposed hefty tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum imports, characterizing shipments from Canada as a threat to national security. Over the weekend, the President threatened to impose 25-per-cent import taxes on foreign car and truck imports, a move that would devastate Canada’s auto industry. Continue Reading →

EU will act against U.S. tariffs on steel, aluminum: Merkel – by Michael Nienaber (Reuters U.S. – June 10, 2018)

BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe will implement counter-measures against U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum just like Canada, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday, voicing regret about President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw support for a G7 communique.

Trump’s announcement on Twitter, after leaving the Group of Seven summit in Canada early, that he was backing out of the joint communique torpedoed what appeared to be a fragile consensus on a trade dispute between Washington and its top allies.

“The withdrawal, so to speak, via tweet is of course … sobering and a bit depressing,” Merkel said in an ARD television interview following the G7 summit. Continue Reading →

United Steelworkers: Metals tariffs are crucial to national security – by Leo W. Gerard (USA Today – June 10, 2018)

Leo W. Gerard is international president of the United Steelworkers.

The Trump administration’s steel tariffs are intended to staunch the flow of rust from closed American steel mills. The aluminum tariffs are designed to halt the rapid shuttering of American aluminum smelters.

Tens of thousands of steel and aluminum workers have lost their jobs over the past five years as subsidized metal from China glutted the world market, artificially forcing down prices.

The tariffs are not, however, a simple job-preservation measure. President Trump levied them to try to secure sufficient domestic production capacity of these vital metals for defense — for planes and tanks and for critical infrastructure. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: USW: Canada Must be Exempt from Tariffs (United Steelworkers – May 31, 2018)

CONTACT: Holly Hart, (202) 778-4384, [email protected]

Today the United Steelworkers union (USW) expressed its profound disappointment in the Trump Administration’s decision to remove Canada’s exemption from Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum products.

This decision is unacceptable and calls into serious question the design and direction of the Administration’s trade policy. Section 232 relief is founded on national security interests and U.S. law. Our history shows that there is no stronger ally and partner on national security than Canada.

The decision not to exempt Canada ignores the fact that Canada’s steel and aluminum exports to the United States are fairly traded and that Canada has shown its willingness to strengthen its laws as well as its cooperation with the United States to fight unfair trade. Continue Reading →

Trudeau stops in Canada’s aluminum country before facing Trump on tariffs at G7 – by Andy Blatchford (CTV News – June 7, 2018)

CANADIAN PRESS: SAGUENAY, Que. – Just before he headed to the G7 summit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a stop in the heart of Canada’s aluminum country – where he repeated his pledge to try to convince Donald Trump that his heavy-handed tariff strategy is a big mistake.

Trudeau shook hands and posed for photos with locals inside a busy shopping mall Thursday as he campaigned in Quebec’s Saguenay region in support of a Liberal candidate running in an upcoming federal byelection. But there were global politics at play, too.

Saguenay has a significant connection to what will be a major point of debate for G7 leaders this week because the region is home to a big part of the country’s aluminum industry. Continue Reading →

Tariffs on steel and aluminum might cost the U.S. 400,000 jobs — and Canada could get hit too – by Jessica Vomiero (Global News – June 6, 2018)

A report released Tuesday by the Washington-based trade and economic consulting firm claims that for every steel and aluminum job saved by the Trump administration’s tariffs on imports, 16 more will be lost.

“Basically, the report finds not surprisingly that the tariffs would increase employment in the steel and the aluminum sectors, but what it shows pretty clearly is that a large number of other workers would lose jobs in the process as higher steel costs ripple through the economy,” said Laura Baughman, one of the report’s authors.

Trade Partnership Worldwide LLC released the report this week, which claims that over 400,000 jobs will be lost in other sectors of the economy due to higher prices on steel and aluminum. The industry that could be most impacted, with over 375,000 jobs lost, will be the services sector. Continue Reading →

A $10 billion China deal to mine bauxite in Ghana is facing fierce environmental pushback – by Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu (Quartz Africa – June 5, 2018)

Accra, Ghana – At 232 square kilometers, the Atewa Forest Reserve in Ghana’s Eastern Region is home to rare flora and fauna including two butterfly species not found anywhere else in the world – Mylothris atewa and Anthene helpsi – and a rediscovered West African White-naped Managbey monkey classified as ‘endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The reserve is also the source of three major rivers that serve five million people including residents of Accra, the capital. Local residents and environmental campaigners fear the ecosystem would be irreversibly decimated if plans for a multi-billion dollar deal with the Chinese Development Bank to mine bauxite in the forest goes on.
Bauxite is the ore of aluminum – which is used to make a variety of things including airplanes, cars, cooking utensils and some types of cement.

The $10 billion deal, agreed back in June 2017, Ghana will give up about 5% of its bauxite to China. China would then pay Ghana with a variety of infrastructure projects including expanding the rail network, building new roads and bridges.  Continue Reading →

U.S. tariffs on Canada’s aluminum industry will raise costs — for U.S. manufacturers – by Naomi Powell (Financial Post – June 5, 2018)

On Friday morning, a truck hauled out of a shipping yard at Sotrem-Maltech in Saguenay, Que. packed with specialty aluminum ingots bound for a foundry in the Midwestern United States. There, they were slated to be transformed into complex parts used in the manufacture of U.S. military vehicles, including four-wheel drive trucks and carriers.

It was a typical order for the company, but one that happened to take place less than 24 hours after the United States imposed sweeping tariffs of 10 per cent on Canadian aluminum — all on grounds of national security.

“Nothing much has changed for us, no,” said Patrick Dube, commercial director for Sotrem-Maltech, which also makes aluminum granules for coatings on U.S. aircraft carriers. “There are very few companies who do what we do and they are all at full capacity. The only change is that it will cost 10 per cent more. And we don’t know who will pay for that, the customers or us.” Continue Reading →

Commentary: U.S. aluminium tariffs; collateral damage and a missed target – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – June 1, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – So the trade wars begin. As of today the United States will impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium from Canada, Mexico and the European Union (EU). Canada and Mexico have already responded in kind. The EU won’t be far behind.

Steel and aluminium are but pawns in a bigger trade game, the unique characteristics of each supply chain forgotten as the U.S. administration ratchets up the negotiating pressure on its NAFTA partners and adds autos to its list of grievances with the EU.

The loss of focus is a shame because aluminium in particular shows why tariffs are such a poor trade weapon, managing both to cause maximum collateral damage and miss the prime target. Which is China. Continue Reading →