Articles in Category: Company News

This morning in metals news: Norsk Hydro today announced it signed a letter of intent to build a new aluminum recycling plant in Cassopolis, Michigan; the Census Bureau released construction spending data; and, lastly, the zinc price posted some gains this week.

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Norsk Hydro to build aluminum recycling plant in Michigan

Norsk Hydro

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Oslo-based Norsk Hydro has signed a letter of intent to build an aluminum recycling plant in Michigan.

The plant will produce aluminum extrusion ingot for automotive applications. Norsk Hydro said it aims to build the plant by 2025.

“The LoI between Hydro Aluminium Metal and landowner Midwest Energy and Communications (MEC) is based on Hydro’s intention to build a facility in Cassopolis producing 120,000 metric tonnes per year from 2023 with around 70 direct employees,” Norsk Hydro said. “The total project investment is currently estimated to be around $120 million, depending on final facility design, market conditions and macroeconomic development.”

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This morning in metals news: as laid out in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the USMCA Labor Council convened for the first time; meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration reported on potential electricity disruptions this summer; and, lastly, Rio Tinto declared force majeure at one of its operations.

The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

USMCA Labor Council convenes

USMCA

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Approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) included a provision for the formation of a Labor Council.

“The Parties hereby establish a Labor Council composed of senior governmental representatives at the ministerial or other level from trade and labor ministries, as designated by each Party,” the USMCA text states in Article 23.14.

Furthermore, the parties were scheduled to convene the Labor Council no later than one year after the agreement went into force (which it did July 1, 2020).

“Developing a worker-centered trade policy involves giving workers a seat at the table and utilizing all of our tools to ensure that trade agreements are more than just words on paper,” Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Joshua Kagan said in a USTR statement Wednesday. “This first meeting of the USMCA Labor Council, including the public session, demonstrates our collaboration with Mexico and Canada to achieve shared goals and our commitment to holding each other accountable to the agreement.”

In a joint statement, the parties said they discussed “ongoing implementation of Mexico’s recent historic labor law reform.” In addition, the joint statement said the parties covered:

  • The agreement’s requirement that each party prohibit the importation of goods into its territory from other sources produced in whole or in part by forced or compulsory labor
  • Key labor policies for migrant workers
  • Areas for ongoing and future cooperation and technical capacity building

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Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals storylines here on MetalMiner, including a fall in commodity prices, aluminum market supply and much more:

commodities graphic

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The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

Week of June 21-25 (commodity prices, aluminum market and more)

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This morning in metals news: Rio Tinto and Schneider Electric have signed a memorandum of understanding to “develop a circular and sustainable market ecosystem for both companies and their customers”; meanwhile, Norilsk Nickel announced it has begun production of carbon-neutral nickel; and, lastly, the city of Savannah, Georgia, is attempting an aluminum cup pilot program.

The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

Rio Tinto, Schneider Electric sign MoU

gears featuring words reading sustainability, environment, society and economy

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Rio Tinto has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Schneider Electric, a collaboration that will see them aim to “develop a circular and sustainable market ecosystem for both companies and their customers.”

“This multi-product partnership will see Schneider Electric use responsibly sourced materials produced by Rio Tinto,” Rio Tinto said in a release. “These include low-carbon aluminium and copper produced with renewable power, iron ore, and borates.”

In addition, Rio Tinto will use energy and industrial services from Schneider Electric.

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This morning in metals news: the U.S. Court of International Trade granted defendants’ motion for partial dismissal of a challenge to the U.S.’s Section 232 duties on Canadian steel; the Midwest is the heart of U.S. wind capacity; and, lastly, U.S. Steel released its second-quarter guidance.

Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. Explore the upcoming webinars — including the next one scheduled for Thursday, June 24 — and sign up for each on the MetalMiner Events page.

Court of International Trade rejects Section 232 challenge

U.S. trade

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The U.S. Court of International Trade on Tuesday rejected a challenge to the Section 232 duties on Canadian steel.

Maple Leaf Marketing, based in Midland, Texas, filed the complaint. The company is the U.S. agent for EndurAlloy™ production tubing for Calgary-based Endurance Technologies Inc.

Maple Leaf challenged the “constitutionality and lawfulness of duties imposed on re-imported steel tubing” pursuant to Section 232. 

Midwest wind

Since 2011, most U.S. wind capacity has been built in the Midwest, the Energy Information Administration reported.

“The Texas, Midwest, and Central regions—home to some of the country’s most prolific wind resources—combined accounted for the largest share of U.S. wind capacity growth from 2011 to 2020 with 73% of additions,” the EIA reported. “At the beginning of 2011, the Texas region (which covers the area served by ERCOT) had 9.4 GW of wind capacity; by the end of 2020, capacity had grown to 27.9 GW.”

Furthermore, Midwest wind capacity tripled, from 8.6 GW in 2011 to 26.9 GW in 2020.

Meanwhile, in 2011, the Central region had about half the wind capacity of the Texas and Midwest regions, the EIA added. The Central region added 20.5 GW of wind capacity over the last decade, more than any other region.

U.S. Steel releases Q2 guidance

U.S. Steel released its Q2 guidance, estimating adjusted EBITDA of $1.2 billion.

In addition, the steelmaker projected net income of $880 million.

“Higher steel prices and strong flat-rolled steel demand coupled with well-run operations are expected to deliver adjusted EBITDA that more than doubles our first quarter performance,” U. S. Steel President and CEO David B. Burritt said. “Continued strong demand and low steel inventories are empowering today’s ongoing market improvements. These market fundamentals are showing no signs of slowing down and have us increasingly confident of another strong year in 2022.”

See why technical analysis is a superior forecasting methodology over fundamental analysis and why it matters for your steel buy.

This morning in metals news: the U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate rose to 82.9% last week; Cleveland-Cliffs will demolish the site of the former AK Steel Ashland mill; and, lastly, the Energy Information Administration sees higher natural gas prices in the year ahead.

The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

US steel capacity utilization rises to 82.9%

hot rolled steel

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The U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate reached 82.9% last week, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.

Production last week totaled 1.84 million net tons, or up 0.3% week over week. The weekly production total also marked an increase of 44.6% year over year.

For the year to date (through June 19), U.S. mills produced 43.22 million net tons of crude steel, or up 14.2% year over year.

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The government of Belgium’s Walloon Region plans to provide a loan to Liberty Steel’s Liberty Liège-Dudelange (LLD) rolling and coating asset while seeking a new buyer for it. The move follows the March collapse of the steelmaking group’s main creditor, Greensill Capital.

“In this context, the company LLD is in the process of judicial reorganization by ‘collective agreement’ (since May 11) and there is a significant risk in the short term that it will not be able to continue its activities,” Walloon Region Vice President Willy Borsus said in a June 3 statement.

Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. Explore the upcoming webinars and sign up for each on the MetalMiner Events page.

Liberty Steel lifeline in Belgium?

Belgium map

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The Walloon government thus plans to propose that the regional investment fund Sogepa issue a loan for the plant so that it can continue operating.

“This proposal from the region is subject to strict conditions which aim in particular to guarantee the full repayment of this loan and to the organization of a sale procedure with which Sogepa must be closely associated. By respecting the conditions set by the Region, the bankruptcy of the company can be avoided,” Borsus’ statement read.

The regional government is also in contacts with members of the Luxembourg government over this issue, Borsus added.

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This morning in metals news: General Motors will collaborate with Liebherr-Aerospace to develop hydrogen fuel cell power generation systems for aircraft; meanwhile, the copper price continues to slide; and, lastly, Rio Tinto has opened a new scandium plant in Canada.

The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

General Motors to help develop hydrogen fuel cell system for aircraft

General Motors headquarters

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General Motors is teaming up with German-Swiss multinational Liebherr-Aerospace to develop a hydrogen fuel cell power demonstrator system for aircraft.

The fuel cell “will be based, in part, on GM’s HYDROTEC fuel cell technology and constructed at Liebherr-Aerospace in Toulouse, France,” the automaker said.

“GM will provide its precisely crafted fuel cells, HYDROTEC power cube and fuel cell system, along with GM’s controls and software models,” GM added.

Copper price slide continues

As Stuart Burns noted earlier today, a stronger dollar of late has weighed on commodities prices.

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Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and the metals storylines here on MetalMiner:

Stop obsessing about the actual forecasted nickel price. It’s more important to spot the trend. See why.

Week of June 14-18 (Boeing-Airbus dispute, copper prices and much more)

Airbus plane

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Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. Explore the upcoming webinars and sign up for each on the MetalMiner Events page.

This morning in metals news: Volvo plans to expand its electric vehicle production in South Carolina; U.S. import prices increased by 1.1% in May; and, lastly, Ford Motor Co. says Q2 2021 EBIT will come in higher than its expectations.

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Volvo to expand EV production in South Carolina

Volvo sign

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Automaker Volvo said it plans to invest in the expansion of electric vehicle production at its Ridgeville, South Carolina plant.

Volvo will invest an additional $118 million to build the Polestar 3 for its affiliate, Polestar Cars. Volvo and Geely Holding launched Polestar, the Swedish electric performance brand, in 2017.

Currently, the Ridgeville plant produces the Volvo S60 luxury sedan for the U.S. and export markets.

U.S. import prices rise in May

U.S. import prices rose by 1.1% in May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

The rise follows a jump of 0.8% in April.

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