Cobalt, lithium and nickel are booming due to China’s insatiable appetite for electric vehicles (US)

World prices of cobalt, lithium and nickel are booming as China’s insatiable need for the battery packs used in electric vehicles drove up demand, recreating the economic bonanza that fuelled commodity-exporting countries a decade ago.  The price of lithium, a soft silvery white metal usually mined from brines, has soared by more than 300 per cent in the past two years. The price of cobalt, mostly mined as a by-product of nickel and copper, surged 129 per cent last year while nickel surged 4.6 per cent to a two-year high in London. At the centre of the boom is China’s support for developing electric vehicles (EV) to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Electric vehicles made up aContinue reading

Rolls-Royce Titanium Parts Shortage to Delay 787 Engine Fix (US)

Rolls’s turbine blades are forged at a handful of sites globally that it controls, including a new factory in Rotherham, England, that was billed as the world’s most-advanced facility when it opened in 2015. The company has only one supplier for titanium compressor blades, Techjet Aerofoils Ltd., a venture it partly owns, though efforts are underway to source further producers for both items, according to the people.

  •  Rolls suppliers struggle to meet demand for compressor blades
  •  Issue could be compounded by glitch with new batch of turbines

Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc is wrestling with a shortage of parts needed to repair hundreds of faulty engines that power Boeing Co.’s 787 wide-body jets, further stretching a tight timetable for repairs. The fix for excessive wear on the Trent 1000 turbines is taking about three days longer than planned in some cases due to a shortfall in stocks of compressor blades, said the people, who asked not to be named as the supply bottleneck hasn’t been made public. Airlines are already being forced to lease replacement planes, sometimes for months, to maintain flights while Rolls-powered 787s are grounded for repairs. The number of idled jets reached 43 last week, according to the people, and the strain on component supplies could worsen after it was revealed Monday that durability issues extend to an earlier version of the engine. The parts crunch comes as Chief Executive Officer Warren East prepares to unveil job cuts from steps to simplify Continue reading

Des métaux stratégiques pour la transition énergétique (FR)

La forte croissance de la production mondiale d’électricité par des filières renouvelables ainsi que celle de la mobilité électrique vont accroître la demande de certains métaux indispensables à la construction des infrastructures. Contrairement au fer et à l’aluminium, bon nombre d’entre eux se trouvent à faible concentration dans des minerais ; leur extraction et leur métallurgie sont donc coûteuses et leur production limitée. La relative rareté de ces métaux en a fait un enjeu stratégique, en particulier depuis que la Chine a acquis un quasi-monopole de la production des métaux de la famille des terres rares(elle avait mis en place des quotas pour ses exportations, qu’elle a supprimés en 2015). Qui plus est, en 2017, le prix de terres rares comme le néodyme a bondi de 80 %. Plusieurs pays dont les États-Unis, le Japon puis la France, se sont inquiétés de leurs approvisionnements en matériaux qui jouent un rôle clef dans plusieurs secteurs deContinue reading

Italian manufacturer with CT ties inks 10-yr Pratt contract (US)

An Italian manufacturer, which houses a facility in Farmington, will supply airfoil products for commercial and military engines to East Hartford aeroparts manufacturer Pratt & Whitney over the next decade, the company announced Monday. Pietro Rosa TBM, which makes parts and components for gas-turbine engines, said it signed a 10-year agreement with Pratt & Whitney, a division of Farmington conglomerate United Technologies Corp., to support its F135, PW2000 and geared turbofan (GTF) engines. Peitro Rosa said the long-term agreement could extend to its facilities throughout the U.S. and Europe. The companies said the agreement allows Pietro Rosa to Continue reading

Jet engines help power cobalt to 10-year highs (US)

This year, consultants at Roskill see a small surplus followed by a deficit of 1,200 tonnes next year. They see cobalt metal production at 45,100 tonnes this year and cobalt chemicals at 70,400 tonnes. “One problem is most new cobalt production is aimed at electric vehicles, where there are no shortages, yet,” a source at one cobalt producer said. Superalloys account for about half of cobalt metal demand. Manufacturers include firms such as Precision Castparts, bought by Berkshire Hathaway in January 2016, Cannon Muskegon, and Allegheny Technologies. Cobalt industry sources say shortages have been exacerbated by a lack of good quality superalloy scrap or revert. “Typically, in one tonne of alloy, 50 percent would have been revert and 50 percent new metal. Now they are having to use more new metal because it’s not being recycled quickly enough,” a cobalt industry source said. The alloys are used by jet engines makers Rolls Royce, Pratt Whitney and CFM International, a joint venture between GE and Safran, to power planes built by Airbus and Boeing. (On photo Cobalt Superalloys breakdown by applications according to ResearchInChina)

LONDON (Reuters) – The spotlight in the cobalt market has been fixed on electric vehicles but shrinking supply and robust demand from traditional sectors such as jet engine makers are helping fuel a price rally that shows no signs of fading. Cobalt in recent years has become synonymous with electric vehicles as it is used in rechargeable lithium-ionContinue reading

Lockheed Martin Awards Three-Year Contract to IBC to Produce a Key Component of the F-35 IBC’s Precision Cast Beryllium Alloy Technology (US)

Beryllium-aluminum alloys allow the EOTS system to acquire targets at longer distances than would be the case with other materials.  Beryllium-aluminum helps to dampen vibration and signal noise to the EOTS system, which enhances the electro-optical resolution range.

May 22, 2018  IBC Advanced Alloys Corp.  a leading beryllium and copper advanced alloys company, announces that Lockheed Martin (“Lockheed”)  has awarded the Company a new three-year contract valued at a minimum of $7.8 million to manufacture production azimuth gimbal housings, a key component for the F-35 Lightning II’s Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS).  Additional quantities on this contract are expected for spares in the last two years.   The new multi-year contract is a part of Lockheed’s production ramp-up for the F-35, which continues toContinue reading

Growth of New Energy Vehicles Puts Demand for Aluminium Alloy on Fast Track (US)

SHANGHAIMay 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The growing use of lightweight materials for the new energy vehicles is driving demand for aluminium alloy in China and around the world. At the last Auto China show alone, leading brands showcased 174 new energy models and it is predicted by 2020, the number of new energy vehicles in China will reach 2 million. This rapid growth in both production and sales is underpinned by government policiesContinue reading

Thyssenkrupp, Voestalpine subsidiaries seek U.S. tariff exemptions (US)

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – U.S. subsidiaries of European steelmakers Thyssenkrupp (TKAG.DE) and Voestalpine (VOES.VI) have applied for exemptions from looming import tariffs in the United States, according to company comments and public filings.The filings, first reported by German magazine WirtschaftsWoche, have been made by Thyssenkrupp Presta Danville LLC, which requires assembled camshaft tubes, and U.S. subsidiaries ofContinue reading

Fushun Special Steel Sinks Deeper Into Trouble (US)

Fushun Special Steel was once seen as the star subsidiary of Dongbei Special Steel, the country’s biggest bond defaulter, and was excluded from the bankruptcy and restructuring of the state-owned steel giant in 2017 because it was profitable. Also based in Liaoning, the heart of the country’s rustbelt, Dongbei Special Steel was revived after creditors agreed to a restructuring plan that involved Jiangsu Shagang Group Co. Ltd., China’s largest privately-owned steelmaker, investing 4.46 billion yuan to become its largest shareholder with a 43% stake. A person with knowledge of Dongbei Special Steel’s bankruptcy restructuring told Caixin that Fushun’s inventory problems were found only after Jiangsu Shagang came in as a strategic investor and conducted its own audit. Previously, Fushun had not allowedContinue reading

Algérie : montée en puissance de la production métallurgique (FR)

En Algérie, les importations des principaux produits sidérurgiques ont atteint un montant global de 36,4 milliards dollars sur les 6 dernières années. 

L’Etat algérien prévoit porter de sa production sidérurgique à 12 millions de tonnes par an à l’horizon 2020, contre une production actuelle avoisinant les 2,5 millions de tonnes. L’accélération de la hausse de la production résulterait de l’entrée en exploitation des projets publics et privés déjà en cours. L’Algérie serait sur la voie de décupler la production de son industrie sidérurgique. D’après leContinue reading