Archive | Aluminium/Bauxite

Commentary: U.S. tariffs fail to dent Chinese aluminium export surge – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – December 11, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – The U.S. International Trade Commission has just slapped anti-dumping duties on imports of Chinese common aluminium alloy sheet. It’s another brick in the trade wall being erected by the Trump administration as it seeks to insulate domestic manufacturers from the flood of what it deems unfairly subsidised Chinese products.

U.S. imports of Chinese alloy sheet surged by 731 percent between 2007 and 2017, with Chinese product accounting for nearly 40 percent of total imports last year, according to the U.S. Aluminum Association.

The latest action builds on similar penal duties imposed on imports of Chinese foil and the broader “Section 232” tariffs on all imports of aluminium and steel. However, China’s exports of aluminium products are still accelerating, with outbound flows on track to set a new record this year. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 3-U.S. locks in duties on Chinese aluminum sheet imports (Reuters U.K. – December 7, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (Reuters) – The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Friday it made a final determination that American producers were being harmed by imports of common alloy aluminum sheet products from China, a finding that locks in duties on the products.

The ITC determination means that duties ranging from 96.3 percent to 176.2 percent previously announced by the U.S. Commerce Department would be put in place for five years. The department said last month the products were being subsidized and dumped in the U.S. market.

The decision marked the first time that final duties were issued in a trade remedy case initiated by the U.S. government since 1985. Usually, trade cases are launched based on a complaint from a U.S. producer or group of producers. Continue Reading →

Kitimat: a century of boom and bust: The heady dreams of a 50,000 population city turned out to be just that – by Walter Thorne (Northern Sentinel – December 1, 2018)

Northern Sentinel

By 1950 there wasn’t much happening when you looked northwest across Douglas Channel from Kitamaat Mission. It was still rather quiet, pristine and devoid of human presence. Even the pioneer ranchers of the estuary had all disappeared, leaving only a few buildings and artifacts.

The five hundred or so souls of Kitimaat Village had it all to themselves. But a new development scheme had been proposed and the Haisla were about to witness one of the most rapid and profound transformations to the landscape ever seen in B.C. – the Alcan project.

Development of the aluminum smelter and accompanying town got underway in April 1951 when the first barges and towboats arrived with pile drivers and bulldozers. But while this was to be the grand-daddy of all booms, it was not the valley’s first. The first was five decades earlier in 1900 when developer Charles Clifford began to promote Kitamaat in earnest, describing its harbour as the finest on the Pacific seaboard without exception. In 1903 Clifford was elected MLA for Skeena and continued to be an avid promoter of Kitimat. Continue Reading →

Rusal appoints CEO, third-quarter profit up as sanctions postponed (Reuters U.S. – November 5, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

HONG KONG/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian aluminum giant Rusal (0486.HK) has appointed a chief executive, it said on Monday, after reporting a 42 percent jump in third-quarter recurring net profit on the previous quarter as sanctions imposed by Washington were postponed.

The U.S. Treasury Department in April blacklisted billionaire Oleg Deripaska and eight companies in which he is a large shareholder, including aluminum exporter Rusal, citing “malign activities” by Russia.

The sanctions, the toughest since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, have been postponed several times as the United States considers excluding Rusal from the U.S. blacklist if Deripaska drops his control over the company. The deadline was last extended to Dec. 12. Continue Reading →

China’s Cosco Plans to Buy 25 Ships to Move Bauxite from Africa – by Costas Paris (Wall Street Journal – November 2, 2018)

https://www.wsj.com/

Chinese Cosco Shipping Cop. is in talks with shipyards in China to order about 25 massive ships that will move bauxite from the West African country of Guinea for aluminum production in China, people involved in the matter said.

The move is part of a plan by state behemoth Aluminum Corp. of China (Chalco) to invest $700 million in Guinea’s Boffa project for a steady supply of the commodity over the next decade. Cosco is looking to add to its fleet on the back of a long-term contract with Chalco to move aluminum to China.

Guinea is a hotbed of mining activity in recent months as aluminum firms from the U.S., China and Russia, try to carve out a piece of its massive bauxite-ore deposits used to produce alumina and aluminum. About seven billion metric tons, or a quarter of the world’s bauxite resources, are estimated to be in Guinea. Continue Reading →

Trump Reviewing Tariffs on Canada Steel and Aluminum, Craft Says – by Josh Wingrove and Bryce Baschuk (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – October 26, 2018)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — The U.S., Canada and Mexico remain at odds over metals tariffs, with Donald Trump’s envoy to Canada saying the president is reviewing them.

Trump’s ambassador, Kelly Craft, argued Friday the levies on steel and aluminum imports were designed to prevent overseas metal from entering America via its neighbors.

“That is not something that is against Canada,” Craft said at an event near Niagara Falls with Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., David MacNaughton. “It’s just protecting North America from other countries that will be passing raw materials through, and also to protect our steel industry at home.” Continue Reading →

‘Winter is coming’: Labour dispute at aluminum smelter drags into 10th month as industry outlook darkens – by Gabriel Freidman (Financial Post – October 25, 2018)

https://business.financialpost.com/

For the 1,000 workers locked out almost a year ago, tariffs and trade wars are making the future even more uncertain

Snowflakes fell early Wednesday morning along the shores of the St. Lawrence River in Bécancour, Quebec, where Jennie Vallé-Boucher is one of about 1,000 workers from an aluminum smelter, who is preparing to spend a second winter on the picket line.

In January, Alcoa Corp., which owns 70 per cent and operates the Bécancour smelter, locked out its unionized workers in a labour dispute that continues to boil over even as a cloud of uncertainty has settled over Canada’s aluminum industry.

One thing is clear, however: If and when the lock out ends, market conditions are unlikely to be the same as when it started. In the nearly 10 months that have passed since the dispute erupted, the U.S. enacted 10 per cent tariffs on aluminum imports, which remain in place despite negotiating a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. Continue Reading →

Tariffs eroding profits and driving up costs, metal manufacturers tell lawmakers – by Eric Atkins (Globe and Mail – October 23, 2018)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Metal manufacturers and fabricators aired their complaints about trade barriers in Ottawa on Tuesday, telling members of Parliament that U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum coupled with Canada’s countermeasures are eroding profits and driving up costs. This is giving foreign rivals an edge, the business people said, appearing before the standing committee on international trade.

Chris Wharin of Bohne Spring Industries Ltd., a Toronto-based maker of springs, wire and metal work for automotive and other uses, said that to keep its customers, the company cannot pass on some of the higher import and manufacturing costs incurred since Canada placed retaliatory tariffs of 10 per cent and 25 per cent on metal products from the United States.

“This is having a crippling effect on our cash flow and profits,” he said, adding the company relies on U.S. suppliers for much its steel and is unable to find domestic replacements. Continue Reading →

Canada, U.S. in talks to end steel, aluminum tariffs – by Adrian Morrow and Eric Atkins (Globe and Mail – October 19, 2018)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Canada and the United States are trying to negotiate an end to U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, with the goal of reaching a deal before the formal signing of the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement at the end of November.

Talks have focused on Canada agreeing to a quota on exports of those metals to the United States in exchange for the Trump administration lifting the tariffs, people in both countries with knowledge of the talks said. The Globe and Mail granted anonymity to five sources because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer discussed the matter last week at Ms. Freeland’s Toronto home, a Canadian government source said, and agreed they had to reach a resolution. Continue Reading →

Commentary: Alumina wake-up call for the aluminium supply chain – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – October 15, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – The alumina market is experiencing a year of unprecedented turbulence. Alumina, which sits in the aluminium production process between bauxite and refined metal, has historically been a highly efficient link in the supply chain.

It hasn’t generated many headlines over the years because it has largely avoided any newsworthy disruption. It is, to quote Greg Wittbecker, analyst at the CRU research house, one of those markets “people have taken for granted”.

Not any more. A series of supply hits have sent the alumina price on a rollercoaster ride this year, at one stage threatening the closure of several European aluminium smelters. This volatility poses some hard questions for aluminium producers, not least as to how alumina is priced. Continue Reading →

The Metal That Started Trump’s Trade War – by Matthew Philips and Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – October 1, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The president’s aluminum tariff is bad for America—and great for Switzerland’s Glencore.

Working at the Century Aluminum Co. smelter in Hawesville, Ky., can be like having a job in an oven. The interior temperature hovers around 140F, which isn’t necessarily hotter than, say, your typical steel mill. What’s especially hellish about an aluminum smelter is how close you have to stand to bubbling vats of molten, electrified metal.

Workers wear helmets, masks, and heavy, fire-retardant clothing. They look like smoke jumpers. Over a 12-hour shift they’ll lose several pounds of water weight as they peer over cauldrons, occasionally stirring 1,700-degree liquid aluminum with long metal rods.

They wear earplugs against the hum of 170,000 amps surging through the mixture, which chemically breaks down ore. The air itself feels charged—and smells like the blended aromas of an overheated car engine and a sweaty fistful of coins. If you breathe through your mouth, you can taste the metal on your tongue. Continue Reading →

LMEWEEK-Macro disquiet drowns out signs of base metals shortages – by Eric Onstad (Reuters U.K. – October 4, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) – Uncertainty about how metals demand will be hit by trade wars, rising U.S. interest rates and a slowdown in China is weighing on industrial metals prices, submerging signals pointing to potential shortages.

The index of copper and five other top industrial metals traded on the London Metal Exchange has shed 11 percent this year while prices for the worst-performing metals, zinc and lead, have tumbled by about a fifth.

But as speculators pile on bearish positions and investors flee from the metals market during tit-for-tat trade volleys, signs of metals shortfalls are building. Continue Reading →

Guinea’s bauxite boom upending rural communities – HRW – by Joe Bavier (Reuters Africa – October 4, 2018)

https://af.reuters.com/

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 4 (Reuters) – As mining companies in Guinea ramp up bauxite production, they are upending rural communities and undermining air and water quality while government authorities fail to rein in abuses, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Thursday.

In the past three years, the West African nation, Africa’s biggest producer of the aluminium ore, has seen bauxite output explode, mainly on the back of demand from China.

Despite the growth in economic activity however, Guinea’s bauxite mining heartland has been racked by unrest in recent years, fuelled by the frustrations of the local population. Continue Reading →

Ford CEO says Trump’s metal tariffs cost auto maker $1-billion – by Nick Carey and David Shepardson (Globe and Mail/Reuters – September 27, 2018)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration have cost Ford Motor Co about $1-billion in profits, its chief executive officer said on Wednesday, while Honda Motor Co said higher steel prices have brought “hundreds of millions of dollars” in new costs.

“From Ford’s perspective the metals tariffs took about $1-billion in profit from us,” CEO James Hackett said at a Bloomberg conference in New York, “The irony of which is we source most of that in the U.S. today anyway. If it goes on any longer, it will do more damage.”

Hackett did not specify what period the $1-billion covered, but a spokesman said the automaker’s CEO was referring to internal forecasts at Ford for higher tariff-related costs in 2018 and 2019. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: NAFTA Deal a Sell-Out for Canadian Steel, Aluminum Workers

TORONTO, Oct. 1, 2018 /CNW/ – Tens of thousands of Canadian families have been left in the lurch from concessions made by the Liberal government to get a deal with the Unites States on a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement.

“Time and time again during the NAFTA renegotiations, the Liberal government assured Canadians that it was defending our steel and aluminum sectors and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Canadian families,” said Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers (USW) Canadian Director.

“Given the Liberal government’s rhetoric throughout the process, it was inconceivable that it would agree to any deal that harms Canada’s steel and aluminum sectors,” Neumann said. Continue Reading →