Archive | Aluminium/Bauxite

U.S. Commerce Wants Aluminum Tariff-Quota on Imports – by Joe Deaux and Andrew Mayeda (Bloomberg News – February 16, 2018)

Shares in U.S. aluminum and steel companies from Alcoa Corp. to Nucor Corp. surged after the U.S. Commerce Department recommended that President Donald Trump impose a range of restrictions on imports from tariffs to quotas.

In a briefing with reporters on Friday over the results of his department’s investigation, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross proposed a 24 percent global tariff on steel shipments coming into the U.S. and a 7.7 percent duty on aluminum imports. Trump has the latitude to choose between these types of options or even enter talks with producers to find solutions.

The recommendations pushed up Century Aluminum Co. as much as 11 percent, while Alcoa gained 5.5 percent. Aluminum on the London Metal Exchange rose as much as 2.4 percent as of 5:15 p.m. in London. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto Confident U.S. Will Treat Canada Differently on Trade – by Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – February 7, 2018)

The head of Rio Tinto Group’s aluminum division is confident the Trump administration will recognize that Canada must be viewed differently when considering import tariffs on the metal and in Nafta talks.

“There’s a clear recognition of the strategic importance of the Canadian industry to the American manufacturing base,” Alf Barrios, chief executive of Rio Tinto’s aluminum division, said Wednesday in a phone interview. That view was expressed to him in conversations within the last few weeks, he said. “It is different than the other importing countries.”

In January, U.S. President Donald Trump received the findings of the eight-month “Section 232” investigation into whether aluminum imports pose a threat to national security. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Five stand-outs in China’s base metals trade last year – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – January 29, 2018)

LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) – China’s base metals imports stopped offering a simple, over-arching story line several years ago. The country has built out ever more processing capacity over the last decade, meaning that the “real” story is often what’s happening at the raw materials stage of the supply chain.

In cases such as aluminium, China has arguably constructed too much smelter capacity, to the point that the rest of the world has stopped caring about how much it imports but rather how much it exports.

Across the rest of the metallic complex, individual market dynamics have become ever more important, fracturing the Chinese trade picture into multiple, sometimes contradictory parts. Against an increasingly kaleidoscopic backdrop, here are five key take-aways from last year’s trade flows. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-What does looming US-China trade showdown mean for aluminium? – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – January 25, 2018)

LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters) – China is awash with aluminium. “Illegal” capacity has been closed and smelters in the region around Beijing are, to varying extents, curtailing output to comply with the winter environmental restrictions.

But stocks registered with the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) continue to build. They surged by 653,411 tonnes last year and were up another 30,000 tonnes at a fresh record high of 783,759 tonnes as of last Friday.

U.S. producer Alcoa told analysts on its Q1 conference call it is forecasting a 1.5-1.7 million tonne surplus in China this year, notwithstanding Beijing’s efforts to restrain capacity. It is also forecasting a bigger deficit of 2.0-2.2 million tonnes in the rest of the world, where visible stocks have been falling for many months. Continue Reading →

Commerce secretary gives Trump options to fight steel and aluminum dumping, including higher tariffs – by Lori Ann LaRocco (CNBC – January 22, 2018)

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has recommended to President Donald Trump a wide range of options to deal with aluminum and steel dumping in the U.S., including potentially higher tariffs, sources told CNBC.

The options also include specifically targeting “bad actors” in other countries that are active in imports of the metals. Trump and his administration announced the Section 232 investigation into steel and aluminum in April 2017. The investigation was to determine whether the imports posed a threat to the country’s national security.

Trump has 90 days to review the so-called 232 report’s findings and recommendations. The president would then decide on what course of action to take. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto builds bauxite expansion option at Amrun – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – January 23, 2018)

Rio Tinto’s $US1.9 billion ($2.4 billion) Amrun bauxite project is being built with foundations to support a much bigger expansion in the future, with the project now more than 75 per cent complete.

Approved by the Rio board in November 2015, the Amrun team will soon award some of the major contracts associated with the project, including for shiploaders, reclaimers and stackers. Amrun will produce 22.8 million tonnes of bauxite per year starting in mid 2019, with 10 million tonnes of that set to replace a nearby mine that is close to retirement.

Rio’s growth and innovation executive Stephen McIntosh said the size of the resource at Amrun could support a more than doubling of production in the future if Rio ever chose to pursue further expansion. Continue Reading →

China ramps up aluminum output in Dec amid new capacity launches – by Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – January 18, 2018)

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s aluminum production rebounded in December to its highest since June, reversing five months of declines, as state-owned Chinalco launched new capacity even as Beijing curbed its private rivals, lifting 2017 output to a record.

The world’s top aluminum producer churned out 2.71 million tonnes of the metal last month, up 15.3 percent from 2.35 million tonnes in November, although it was down 1.8 percent from a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported on Thursday.

For the full year, China produced 32.27 million tonnes of aluminum, a rise of 1.6 percent from 2016, the data showed. Continue Reading →

Liberty House makes binding offer for Rio Tinto’s French aluminum smelter – by Maytaal Angel (Reuters U.S. – January 10, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – Liberty House, the industrial arm of British steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, said on Wednesday it had made a binding offer for miner Rio Tinto’s (RIO.AX) (RIO.L) aluminum smelter in Dunkirk, France, the largest in Europe.

The group said it had chosen to invest in France in part because of a pro-business environment created by French President Emmanuel Macron’s government.

Rio Tinto said in a statement that the offer was worth $500 million ”subject to final adjustments’ and that it expects to complete the sale by the second quarter. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Blue skies, green cars and a year of revolution for industrial metals – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – December 21, 2017)

LONDON, Dec 22 (Reuters) – A little bit of metals history was recorded on March 29 this year. The small Central American country of El Salvador became the first nation to ban all exploration, mining and processing of metals.

Don’t worry if you didn’t notice. El Salvador doesn’t have any operating mines. It was going to have a gold mine, but in a public debate pitting economic growth against clean water supply, water won. Such environmental push-back against mining has become an ever more common feature of the metals industry.

But this year has marked a tipping point with China, a dominant producer of so many industrial metals, launching its own clamp-down on pollution. Multiple supply chains from aluminium to zinc have been disrupted with largely bullish, albeit at times chaotic, price impact. Continue Reading →

Aluminum under pressure after China smog cutbacks fall short – by Eric Onstad (Reuters U.S. – December 20, 2017)

LONDON (Reuters) – The price of aluminum has struggled in recent months as authorities in top producer China have failed to fully implement temporary winter smelter closures to slash pollution.

Lukewarm demand and new smelter projects in China are also poised to lead to more metal piling up, with inventories in the country already at record highs. China has seen sizzling growth in aluminum production over the past decade and now accounts for around half of global output.

Benchmark aluminum on the London Metal Exchange has gained 23 percent this year, but has failed to make further headway after touching a peak of $2,215 a ton in October, the highest level in more than five years. On Tuesday, aluminum – used in transportation, construction and packaging – was trading at around $2,090. Continue Reading →

Small town considering buying shares in Rio Tinto Alcan to force them to emit less sulphur dioxide – by Andrew Kurjata (CBC News B.C. – December 20, 2017)

The District of Kitimat wants the company to install saltwater scrubbers at the local smelter

The District of Kitimat is considering buying shares in Rio Tinto Alcan in a bid to force the company to install saltwater scrubbers at their aluminum smelter in northwest B.C.

There are fears in the community that SO2 (sulphur dioxide) emissions could have negative health and environmental impacts, although air monitoring stations in Kitimat have indicated SO2 levels do not generally exceed acceptable health standards.

Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth said there are still two primary concerns: the long-term health impacts of even low-level SO2 emissions and the fear that the existing monitoring stations don’t measure SO2 levels in outlying outdoor recreation areas. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-France-based Miner AMR starts bauxite production in Guinea – by Saliou Samb (Reuters U.S. – December 12, 2017)

CONAKRY, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Paris-based miner AMR began production at its Guinean bauxite mine on Tuesday, aiming to produce between 6 million and 10 million tonnes a year of the aluminium ore, the company said.

Alliance Miniere Responsable (AMR) was founded by two French businessmen, and major shareholders include former Areva CEO Anne Lauvergeon and French telecoms tycoon Xavier Niel.

A company statement said the mine’s output will all be sold to Societe Miniere de Boke (SMB), a Guinean company whose main shareholders are Singapore’s privately owned Winning International Group and China’s Shandong Weiqao. Continue Reading →

Australia’s first Indigenous mine opens in NT – by Matt Cunningham (Sky News Australia – December 10, 2017)

The colour of the dirt might have been different, but according to the Gumatj clan, the moment was no less significant.

At Gulkula in Northeast Arnhem Land, Gumatj leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu poured a handful of bauxite into the hands of Rio Tinto workers Jim Singer and Ken Kahler, just as Gough Whitlam had done with Vincent Lingiari at Wave Hill 51 years ago.

‘I feel proud. I feel more proud than ever before,’ Dr Yunupingu said. The moment marked the opening of the Gulkula Mine, the first Aboriginal owned and operated mine in Australian history. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Is China’s aluminium sector too relaxed about U.S. dumping moves? – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – November 30, 2017)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 30 (Reuters) – It will be tempting for China’s aluminium market participants to dismiss as inconsequential the latest move by the U.S. Commerce Department to impose anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties on imports of aluminium alloy sheet.

The proposed moves would affect only a small amount of China’s aluminium exports, but the main issue isn’t the economic value of the U.S. action, but rather where it ultimately may lead.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in announcing the move on Nov. 28, said it was “one more step” in fulfilling President Donald Trump’s campaign against what he termed unfair trade practices. Continue Reading →

Russian Metals Billionaires Hope for Peace as ‘Shoot Out’ Looms – by Jack Farchy and Yuliya Fedorinova (Bloomberg News – November 22, 2017)

A shoot out is looming in Russian metals. That isn’t a reference to the industry’s blood-soaked history, but to a clause in a hard-won peace deal between two billionaire shareholders of MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC, Russia’s largest miner.

The 2012 agreement between Oleg Deripaska’s United Co. Rusal and Vladimir Potanin’s Interros Holding Co. provides a mechanism by which one man can buy out the other’s stake in Nornickel. That mechanism is called a “shoot out,” and becomes possible after a five-year lock-up period expires on Dec. 10, according to a Rusal letter to shareholders published in 2014.

Potanin, one of Russia’s richest men with an $18 billion fortune, told Bloomberg he has no immediate plans to initiate the so-called shoot out — a forced auction where the loser must sell his stake to the winner. Continue Reading →