With 4,000 Staff in Bunkers, Mariupol’s Steel Mills Are a War Zone – by Marc Champion and Daryna Krasnolutska (Bloomberg News – March 12, 2022)


(Bloomberg) — In normal times, Metinvest Holding LLC is all about making and selling steel. But these are not normal times inside Ukraine.

On Saturday, Chief Executive Officer Yuriy Ryzhenkov was focused on yet another attempt to get humanitarian aid into the eastern port city of Mariupol, which has been besieged for weeks by Russian shelling. A convoy of aid trucks and empty buses had just left his company’s steel plant in Zaporizhzhia on the 460 km (285 mile) round trip.

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Ford government eyes ‘green steel’ as way to catch up on cutting carbon emissions – by Mike Crawley (CBC News Toronto – February 17,2022)


Ontario’s steel industry is aiming for a dramatic reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions, a move that will help Premier Doug Ford’s government get closer to achieving its climate-change targets.

The three biggest industrial emitters of CO2 in Ontario are all steel plants. Steel production alone accounts for more than 40 per cent of all industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the province, more than the refinery, forestry, mining and chemical sectors combined.

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Rep. Marcy Kaptur wants crackdown on imported steel of a type produced by Cleveland-Cliffs – by Sabrina Eaton (Cleveland.com – November 2, 2021)


WASHINGTON, D. C. — Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur wants the U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. Trade Representative to crackdown on imports of the electrical transformer components made with foreign-produced grain-oriented electrical steel of the sort produced by Cleveland-Cliffs.

Kaptur on Monday joined Zanesville Republican Rep. Troy Balderson, Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Mike Kelly and Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb in a letter seeking relief for Cleveland-Cliffs from the imported electrical transformer parts.

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What the energy transition may bring for five battery metals – report – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud (Northern Miner – October 18, 2021)

Global mining news

ING Economics has published a new report in which its experts predict what the energy transition might bring for five key metals: copper, aluminum, nickel, cobalt, and lithium.

Taking into consideration where different regions of the world stand when it comes to moving towards a low-carbon future where global warming is limited to 2 degrees Celsius, ING’s analysts developed three scenarios that they used as a background to assess the possible performance of battery metals.

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It’s time to end the US steel and aluminum tariffs – by Marc L. Busch (The Hill – August 9, 2021)


In an interview with Bloomberg last week, Sec. of Commerce Gina Raimondo said that U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs had done the trick. Folks were back to work, and producers had increased output.

What about the threat that Europe will increase its retaliation by year’s end if the Biden administration doesn’t end the tariffs? Raimondo said the U.S. is willing to deal but that “to simply say ‘no tariffs’ is not the solution.” Actually, it is.

Raimondo’s statement is the stuff of negotiations. After all, the U.S. isn’t going to start its talks with the European Union (EU) by unilaterally disarming.

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Stainless steel strength and supply hits reinforce nickel – by Andy Home (Mining.com/Reuters – July 21, 2021)


Nickel is making a comeback. A strong pandemic recovery rally was rudely interrupted in March, when China’s Tsingshan Group said it intended to produce battery-grade nickel at its Indonesian operations.

Converting what is currently a process stream for Tsingshan’s stainless steel production to an input for electric vehicle cathode chemistry would undermine nickel’s bull narrative of a looming shortfall of battery-quality metal.

The London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month nickel price slumped from a seven-year high of $20,110 per tonne to $15,665 over the first half of March. It has since clawed its way back to a current $18,400 with ripples of tightness appearing across nearby time-spreads against a backdrop of falling LME inventory.

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Union fears big job losses from going green, after Ottawa pledges $420 million to Algoma’s electric retrofit – by Tom Blackwell (National Post – July 7, 2021)


Union says 2,700 Northern Ontario steelworkers will bear brunt of Canada’s move away from coal

The announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Monday seemed like undiluted good news. Ottawa would provide $420 million in aid to Algoma Steel so it could convert its coal-fired furnaces to “electric-arc” technology.

Technology that could cut the greenhouse gasses spewed from the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., plant dramatically — by the equivalent of 900,000 gas-guzzling cars. But not everyone was enthused.

The union for Algoma’s 2,700 workers fears the retrofit as described Monday could mean hundreds of fewer jobs, and that a small northern Ontario city will have to bear a lopsided burden for Canada’s carbon-reduction goals.

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REINVENTING THE STEEL: How steel might finally kick its coal habit – by Maria Gallucci (Grist.org – February 3, 2021)


About 70 percent of steel today is made how it’s always been
made: in giant, extremely hot furnaces. Purified coal, or
“coke,” is heated and melted with iron oxide and limestone,
then injected with oxygen to reduce the carbon content of
the mixture and to remove impurities.

Coal’s grip on the global electricity sector is loosening as more utilities and companies invest in renewable energy. But one major coal consumer — the steel industry — is finding it harder to kick its habit.

Steel companies make nearly 2 billion tons of high-strength material every year for bridges, buildings, railways, and roads. The furnaces that melt iron ore to make steel consume vast amounts of coal.

As a result, the industry accounts for roughly 8 percent of annual carbon dioxide emissions, as well as a toxic soup of air pollutants.

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Nickel Soars And Could Keep Flying As Demand Rises And Supply Falls – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – January 14, 2021)


Demand up. Supply down. Price heading for a 10-year high. It doesn’t get much better for nickel—except for the potential to get a lot better for a metal which has a well-earned reputation for extreme highs (and lows).

Since suffering a Covid-19 collapse last March when the price fell to $10,800 a ton, nickel has been on a largely uninterrupted rise to last sales at $18,244/t, up almost 70% in 10 months.

Next target for nickel, which is a critical ingredient in high quality stainless steel and the batteries used in most electric vehicles (EVs) is $20,000/t, a level reached in the early 2012.

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Donald Trump’s loss relieves fears of future U.S. steel tariffs under Biden – by Bobby Hristova (CBC News Hamilton – November 8, 2020)


Hamilton’s steelworkers and those tied to the industry can sleep easier knowing Donald Trump lost the U.S. presidential election — and his tariffs on steel likely won’t be returning anytime soon.

Roughly 40,000 Hamilton jobs hinge on the steel industry and Keanin Loomis, president of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, said he’s excited by the idea of Canada and the U.S. becoming allies again with Joe Biden in office.

“The spectre of tariffs that was constantly hanging over our heads for the last couple of years is now gone, so when you look at the damage that could have been done over the next four years, if [Trump] had been elected, I think we avoided a lot of uncertainty,” Loomis said in an interview on Sunday.

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Cleveland-Cliffs acquires ArcelorMittal’s U.S. assets for $1.4 billion in stock and cash – by John Caniglia (Cleveland.com – September 28, 2020)


CLEVELAND, Ohio – The iron-ore mining company, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., has acquired the U.S. assets of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, for $1.4 billion in cash and stock, the companies announced Monday.

The acquisition means Cleveland-Cliffs will become the largest flat-rolled steel producer in the country, and the largest producer of iron-ore pellets, the company said.

The deal comes just months after Cleveland-Cliffs purchased AK Steel Holding Corp. for $1.1 billion in stock.

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Recovering Chinese steel output is boosting zinc price over short term – by Marleny Arnoldi (Mining Weekly – September 8, 2020)


On the back of a stronger-than-expected rebound in economic growth in China, research agency Fitch Solutions Macro Research has revised upward its zinc price forecast for the year.

Initially, the agency anticipated a $2 100/t zinc price, but has revised it to $2 200/t, compared with a zinc price of $2 507/t at the end of 2019.

Zinc prices had fallen by 17.3% on average over the first three months of this year, but have since recovered to post new highs for the year, at a current price of about $2 483/t.

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Trump considering reinstating tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel imports – by Adrian Morrow (Globe and Mail – June 19, 2020)


The Trump administration is floating the possibility of reimposing tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum imports amid lobbying from American producers, and has been in talks with Ottawa.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lightizer told congressional hearings Wednesday that rising metals imports are “a problem with Canada that we’re working on.”

“There have been surges on steel and aluminum,” he said. “It’s something that’s of genuine concern.”

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In a recent Sudbury Star article titled Stalled Ring of Fire worth
more than $117 billion, Carleton University Geology Professor
Dr. James Mungall asked “How much is the Ring of Fire really worth?”

Frank Smeenk is the President and Chief Executive Officer of KWG Resources Inc.

Stainless steel is approximately 18% chrome and 8% nickel with iron constituting most of the remaining 74%. A decade ago, the private Chinese enterprise Tsingshan Group, started to establish facilities in Indonesia to produce large quantities of nickel pig iron to make stainless steel there by adding ferrochrome melt made with coal-generated electricity.

In the first half of 2017 Indonesia produced no stainless steel. Now, Tsingshan produces up to 3 million tons per year there. This will increase to 4 million tons next year. That is about 8% of global production, from zero less than 30 months ago!

With that, Chinese companies currently generate more than 50% of global stainless-steel production. They intend to increase that as the world’s consumption of non-corroding steels continues to grow. This is a big boys’ game that Canada has just been suited-up for!

When chrome-containing chromite was discovered in an area of northern Ontario known as the Ring of Fire, China’s state-owned steelmaker, Baosteel, made a strategic investment in Noront Resources. It’s a Canadian exploration company with significant mining claims in the Ring of Fire.

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Nickel Rush Restarts As Steel And Battery Demand Rises – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – June 4, 2020)


China’s rapid exit from its Covid-19 lockdown has triggered the restart of a rush for nickel, an old-fashioned metal mainly used in making stainless steel, but also a key ingredient in the batteries of electric vehicles.

While not yet attracting the eye of investors in the same way iron ore has with its 30% rise to $100 a ton there has been a strong flow of deals and a hint of stockpiling ahead of a possible nickel shortage.

Over the past two months the price of nickel has risen by 15%, admittedly off a pandemic low of $5 a pound to $5.75, potentially heading back to $8/lb, where it was last October.

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