Archive | Steel and Stainless Steel Industries

Outokumpu Asia President: China A “Growth Engine” for Global Stainless Steel Market – by Yue Li (Wall Street Journal – September 5, 2013)

SHANGHAI–China’s goal to become a consumption-driven economy will lead to sustained demand growth for the global stainless steel market, said a top executive from the world’s largest stainless steel producer, Outokumpu Oyi (OUT1V.HE).

Despite analysts being divided over how long China’s economic rebound may last, “China is a growth engine for us and will become a profitable market in the future,” said Austin Lu, president of Asia Pacific.

Although Europe is currently the company’s main market, China promises to be an important source of revenue in the coming years, as a result of government-planned reforms aimed at shifting from an export-dependant economic growth model to one driven by private consumption.

China currently accounts for half of Outokumpu’s business in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Mr. Lu. A growing urban population and an environmentally friendly society would mean more demand for sophisticated raw materials such as stainless steel, said Mr. Lu, estimating annual demand growth of 5%-6% from China until 2020.

Recent data showed resilient growth in China’s economy, offering the central government the freedom to focus on structural reforms such as financial liberalization, measures to promote labor mobility and a push for green energy. Continue Reading →

Ring of Fire: Chromite Crumbs or Stainless Steel for Ontario? [Part Two of Two] – by Stan Sudol (Sudbury Star – August 31, 2013)

Outokumpu Stainless Steel Plant Tornio, Finland. Outokumpu Group is the largest stainless steel producer in the world.

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper. 

This was originally published in the Sudbury Star on August 31, 2013 under the title “From ore to steel“.

Canada is the only G-8 country in the world that does not have a “major” stainless steel sector. There is one speciality steel producer, ASW Steel Inc. in Welland, Ontario, that dedicates 30 per cent of its production capacity to stainless steel. Employing  about 95 people, the company manufactures roughly 30,000 tons of stainless steel ingots and billets. By comparison, Outokumpu, the biggest international producer, produces almost 3.6 million tonnes of stainless steels worldwide, slightly over ten per cent of the 35.4 million tonnes of global production last year, according to International Stainless Steel Forum preliminary figures.

We do have world-class carbon steel plants mainly concentrated in Ontario at Hamilton, Nanticoke and Sault Ste. Marie.

Stainless steels are more valuable than carbon steels due to their corrosion and rust resistance due to the addition of chromite. Nickel is added to some varieties of stainless steels to increase the hardness and strength, further corrosion resistance as well as enabling the material to withstand extreme cold and hot temperatures without becoming brittle or deforming. Continue Reading →

Ring of Fire: Strategic Chromite and the Commodity Super-Cycle [Part One of Two] – by Stan Sudol (Sudbury Star – August 30, 2013)

Kemi Chromite Mine in northern Finland (Photo Outokumpu Group)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

The recent announcement by American-based Cliffs Natural Resources to temporarily halt its chromite mining project in Ontario’s Ring of Fire camp was met with flying accusations of fault by many politicians affected stakeholders, environmental NGOs and First Nations communities.

There certainly is plenty of blame to go around including the company itself – stubborn opposition to a more thorough environmental assessment demanded by First Nations – Cliffs’ inability to finance the project at the present time and most importantly a currently depressed metals market.

However, this might be a great opportunity to scrutinize the entire development and decide if Ontario has leveraged as many economic and value-added benefits as possible during the current commodity super-cycle and why a tiny country like Finland has been able to do much more with a significantly smaller and lower quality chromite deposit of its own.

But first some project background and geo-political analysis on the current state of global mining would be very helpful for Toronto-centric Premier Wynne and her largely southern Ontario cabinet. Continue Reading →

Stainless steel sector to benefit in the long term – by Suzan Uzel (Yorkshire Post – June 13, 2013)

THE stainless steel industry is facing “a challenging short-term outlook” but demand will continue to grow in the long term, according to the CEO of Finnish steel giant Outokumpu Group.

Mika Seitovirta, who is also president of Outokumpu, the largest stainless steel maker in the world, said that global megatrends such as urbanisation, increased mobility and the demand for food, energy and water, will ensure continued growth of stainless steel consumption in the future.

“We are living as if there is another planet at our disposal,” Mr Seitovirta told an audience in South Yorkshire. “By 2030, even two planets won’t be enough to sustain our consumption.” But he said that “unfortunately the weak economic outlook will continue in Europe this year”.

He was speaking in Sheffield as part of a conference celebrating 100 years since Harry Brearley discovered stainless steel.

Earlier this year, Outokumpu, which employs 16,200 people, said it expects to reduce up to 2,500 jobs globally between 2013 and 2017 as part of efforts to reduce its operating expenses and return the company to profitability. Outokumpu said that its 2012 financial year was marked by “a weak market environment”, especially during the second half, leading to an underlying operational loss of 168 million euros. Continue Reading →