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Metalex News – Tinnies, Smelter Sales, Brass Thefts and More…..

As highly experienced metal suppliers, we like to keep a weather eye on the metal supply, sales, mining and any other kind of metal-related news. Here are the latest stories, in time for the festive season. Welcome to our world.

Aluminium products news – Aluminium smelter sell-off and canned beer success

Britain’s metal stockists recently gave a nod to the nation’s last aluminium smelter, which has been sold by Rio Tinto in a massive £330m deal. The smelter goes to India-born Sanjeev Gupta, the commodities tycoon, who tried to buy Tata Steel’s troubled UK arm earlier in 2016.

The deal includes two huge hydroelectric schemes and is led by Simec, an organisation owned by the father of Mr Gupta. Simec will hang onto the hydroelectric assets at Lochaber but the smelter itself will be overseen by Liberty House. The smelter generated 47,000 tonnes of primary aluminium from raw materials in 2015 and the deal safeguards 150 Scottish jobs.

The deal is expected to be completed within a month  and includes 100,000 acres of land containing the water used for the hydro schemes, including the foothills of the nation’s highest mountain, the mighty Ben Nevis.

On the other side of the world in Australia, aluminium tinnies are proving an unexpected hit. Until recently the only alcoholic drinks you found in a can were mass produced lagers. Then the  Australian Brewery built its very own canning line, the first small brewery to do so. Then the Mountain Goat brewery launched a hugely popular canned Summer Ale, and it was such a big hit that Australian drinkers started to demand  more good beers in tinnies. Now a host of smaller brewers are using aluminium cans as a USP, a unique selling point, and bigger brewers are taking up the flag, also canning their best beers in response to public demand.

Unusual uses for metals – Coke can, meet Gallium…

There’s often a lot more to some metals than meets the eye. Did you know that copper gets rid of germs through ‘contact killing’? In fact the metal is the first to be registered by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a solid antimicrobial material. Then there’s gold, used as a sun-block by astronauts because it’s so good at repelling solar radiation.

Stainless steel and aluminium are the materials of choice for making mirrors reflective, taking over from the traditional silver. Rhodium, a big favourite with jewellers, is one of the earth’s rarest naturally occurring metals, second only to osmium and with a market value not far short of that of gold. And Gallium is really weird. It shatters like glass, but if you hold it in your hand long enough it’ll melt. It’s the conductor of choice in smartphones, computer chips and Blu-ray tech. But here’s Gallium doing something very strange with an aluminium coke can, some sulphuric acid and a dash of dichromate solution.

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Stainless steel news – Steel goes outdoors

Trends come and trends go. We’re expert stainless steel suppliers in the UK, and we know that stainless steel has long been used indoors to create luxurious, contemporary kitchens. But now the material is making its way outdoors, finding new applications thanks to its durability and low-maintenance. These days you can buy stainless steel deck railings and outdoor kitchen cabinets, to name but two. Take the kitchen cabinet manufacturer Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens. It makes stunning cabinets from 100% stainless steel. But they have also branched out into colourful powder coat finishes as well as unusual finishes like wood grain designs.

Metal thefts in Scotland and the USA

Thieves recently stole more than two tonnes of scrap brass in a night time raid at a recycling yard in Dumfries.  The police say the thieves must have used a vehicle to transport the stash, and it would have taken a lot of manpower to shift the metal.

At the same time, in the USA, nationwide metal theft insurance claims went down dramatically through 2015, according to the latest figures from the USA’s National Insurance Crime Bureau. They say metal theft claims have plummeted since 2010 with claims down 23% on 2014 levels and 29% over the last two years.

During the three year period reported upon, 35,961 insurance claims were made for the theft of copper, bronze, brass and aluminium, 98% of which were for stolen copper. 599 claims were for stolen aluminium, there were 193 brass thefts and 162 thefts of bronze.

Wishing our customers a fabulous festive season

It has been an excellent year for us. We hope the same goes for our loyal customers. Here’s wishing you a splendid seasonal break.

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