Congo declares battery metal cobalt ‘strategic’ in move that triples royalties (US)


The Democratic Republic of Congo has declared its huge resources of electric car battery metal cobalt “strategic” and tripled the amount of money international miners need to pay the state for every tonne of metal they sell. The decree, which was promulgated as part of the country’s new mining code, will increase the royalties on cobalt from 3.5 per cent to 10 per cent, hitting some of the largest international miners such as Glencore and China Molybdenum. International miners have vociferously opposed the DRC’s new mining legislation, which was signed into law byContinue reading

Demand Isn’t The Problem For Carpenter Technology; Execution Is (US)

  • Carpenter is seeing very healthy demand trends in key markets like aerospace and energy, but is struggling to deliver impressive operating leverage.
  • The Athens ramp continues to drag on; management says it sees a greater sense of urgency among aero engine customers, but this has been a consistent source of frustration.
  • Carpenter looks undervalued and still has significant margin leverage potential, but management has to start executing on that potential in a more tangible way.

Although demand for specialty alloys has been strong almost across the board, progress remains shaky at best for Carpenter Technology (CRS), as the company’s earnings and cash flow are not reflecting what is actually a pretty healthy demand environment. To the extent it makes anybody feel better, Carpenter isn’t the only alloy company to take a beating in the market, as Carpenter, Universal Stainless (USAP), Haynes (HAYN), and Allegheny(ATI) have all been weak over the past six months as investors have been spooked by the 30% fall in nickel prices and the risk of Continue reading

Newest Lithium Mine Officially Opens In Australia (US)

The lithium train shows no sign of slowing in WA as the state’s newest mine officially opens, with plans already in motion to expand the Pilbara operation. The first shipment from Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project left the mine on October 2 but was officially opened by WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston on Friday. 

Located 120 kilometres south of Port Hedland, the mine will produce 330,000 tonnes of lithium a year and about 300,000 pounds of tantalum. The Pilgangoora project’s workforce peaked at more than 800 during construction, but now there are about 200 operational staff on-site and in Perth.The opening comes just more than four years to theContinue reading

Thyssenkrupp’s new Moroccan location ready for take-off (US)

Morocco’s aerospace industry is booming. With an annual growth rate of over 15%, it is a significant driving force behind the nation’s economy. This encouraging development is also fuelling demand for local material suppliers and service providers.

“This is a trend we identified early on, and we will be commissioning our highly modern materials processing and logistics centre in Casablanca before the end of the year, so that we can supply our local customers with the required materials and services,” explained Patrick Marous, CEO thyssenkrupp Aerospace. Eric Cornilleau, managingContinue reading

China Is Beating the US in Rare-Earths Metals for the Defense Industry (US)

Each stealthy F-35 strike fighter requires 920 pounds of rare-earth material, according to DOD. Each Arleigh Burke DDG-51 destroyer requires 5,200 pounds. An SSN-774 Virginia-class submarine needs 9,200 pounds.

How to view China’s recent threat to limit domestic production of rare earths, those 16 elements that make our cellphones and smart bombs work? It’s the latest move in a game that began before the United States realized it was even playing, that has grown more complex than U.S. leaders realize, and that is nearing a very unfortunate ending. The game began in earnest in 1980, when the United States made two moves that gave its opponent an advantage it has never relinquished. One was industrial: Molycorp, then the country’s largest rare earth mining and processing company, began transferring its processing technology to China (as detailed by Boston University professor JulieContinue reading

Bankruptcy of China Bohai Steel Threatens Chain Reaction in Industry (US)

Bohai Steel is the third-largest state-owned steel enterprises to go bankrupt in the last two years. Dongbei Special Steel filed for bankruptcy in 2016 after Chairman Yang Hua committed suicide in March 2016. Chongqing Iron and Steel went bankrupt in July 2017.

With nearly $28 billion in unpaid debts, China Bohai Steel has begun to file for bankruptcy, in a process that will affect 48 factories and 105 creditors in Tianjin, a port city of 15 million people located near Beijing.  Bohai Steel’s bankruptcy process, which began in September, could have serious repercussions for the Tianjin financial sector, as it owes debts to seven major regional banks, including the Beijing Bank, Tianjin Bank, Tianjin Binhai Rural Continue reading

Rhenium : A Critical Rare Metal for the Military Engines For Jet Fighters (US)

Roughly 52,000 kilograms, or 52 metric tons, of rhenium was produced worldwide during 2017. The United States is by far the largest consumer of this critical mineral, accounting for 42,600 metric tons, or nearly 82 percent, of last year’s global production. Nearly 80 percent of the rhenium consumed in the United States is used in superalloys vital to highly efficient jet turbine engines. “The high-temperature properties of rhenium allow turbine engines to be designed with closer tolerances, thus enabling increased thrust and higher operating efficiency,” the USGS explains. The turbine engines in older generation U.S. military aircrafts, such as the F-15 and F-16 fighters, were made from a nickel-based superalloy containing 3 percent rhenium. The turbines in newer generation fighters, such as the F-22 and F-35, contain 6 percent rhenium. The higher rhenium content alloys and limited supply pushed the price of rhenium to a high of US$10,600 per kilogram before the markets crashed in 2009.

Enormous copper-gold deposit in Alaska contains enough of this superalloy metal to supply global needs for 40 years. With a melting point of 5,756 degrees Fahrenheit and a heat-stable crystalline structure, rhenium is extremely resistant to both heat and wear. This durability makes it a vital element in superalloys used in jet and industrial gas turbine engines. “The high-temperature properties of rhenium allow turbine engines to be designed with finer tolerances and operate at temperatures higher than those of engines constructed with other materials,” the United Continue reading

ThyssenKrupp CEO calls for restraint on global steel production (US)

The World Steel Association predicts a slowing of demand next year as China’s growth declines

Steel makers in China and the rest of the world need to do more to reduce overcapacity, according to Guido Kerkhoff, chief executive officer of Germany’s ThyssenKrupp. While China has made good progress in curbing over-production, there’s room for even more cuts, Mr Kerkhoff said in Shanghai on Saturday. The biggest steel making nation has reshaped the industry in the past three years by closing plants, tightening environmental controls andContinue reading

U.S. grants most of Voestalpine’s requests for exemptions to steel tariffs (US)

VIENNA (Reuters) – The United States has granted more than half of the exemptions to its steel import tariffs that Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine and its customers applied for, the company said on Tuesday. Washington in May announced tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico. Of the 4,300 product exemptions that the company and its customers applied for, 2,640 haveContinue reading

Graphite Electrode Price Growth Beats Bitcoin (US)

  • Graphite electrode prices soared on China’s clean-air push
  • Founder of Graphite India sees wealth rise to $1.75 billion

China’s push for blue skies has caused an obscure steelmaking ingredient to fuel gains of as much as 2,600 percent since the start of 2017 for the few companies that supply it, minting at least one new billionaire. The material is graphite, a form of carbon that has seen demand soar because of its use in electric-vehicle batteries and the lower-pollution steel mills that China is favoring to clean up its air. That double-whammy pushed shares of Graphite India Ltd. up more than 1,200 percent since January 2017, boosting the wealth of founder K.K. Bangur to about $1.75Continue reading