Green controversy, copper fights back, super-yachts and more
Some metals businesses are fighting back against greener aluminium, a blow to sustainability and incredibly short-sighted. The latest all-aluminium super-yacht is making waves amongst the super-rich. Sustainable research vessel design takes a step forwards. And UK steel enjoys a reprieve. Read on for all this and more, fresh from your trusted aluminium stockists and steel suppliers in the UK.
Norway and India – Aluminium businesses behaving badly
The London Metal Exchange is battling to push through plans for a green aluminium platform designed to trade eco-friendly aluminium. The Norwegian group Norsk Hydro and India’s Hindalco Industries have both decided they disagree with LME’s proposals to trade low carbon aluminium separately from the standard, higher-emissions version of the metal. This is being seen as a setback to plans for establishing a market that encourages and drives sustainability.
It matters to everyone, not just the metals sector, because most of the world’s aluminium is produced using coal-fired power or natural gas. And that means the less-friendly stuff is responsible for around 4% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. Shame on India and Norway for blocking a move designed to help mitigate climate change. Profit should never come before climate.
Meet the all-aluminium Montecristo super-yacht collection
The all-aluminium Montecristo series of super-yachts by Tommaso Spadolini is quite something, loved by the super-rich of this world and absolutely stunning in design. If you have a good few million to spare, you can invest in either a 30 metre or 40 metre craft, each carefully designed to meet the needs of modern owners without being unfeasibly large.
The 340GT Montecristo 43, for example, is a compact ‘pocket’ super-yacht with a low, sporty profile combined with plenty of living space. The body of the craft is unusually wide, taking full advantage of the 8.7m maximum beam to deliver a spacious separate owner’s area on the top deck. It comes with five en-suite guest cabins, a crew mess, a large laundry, four crew cabins, plus a useful room at the starboard side for you to use for general storage. Isn’t it amazing to think it’s built using all-aluminium!
Hydro chosen to partner the Arksen marine adventure company
Hydro is one of the biggest aluminium companies in the world. They’ve been chosen by Arksen, the UK marine adventure firm, to provide low-carbon aluminium and associated expertise in pursuit of genuine, sustainable boat design.
The partnership means Arksen gets access to marine grade rolled and extruded aluminium plus a wealth of experience in developing cost-effective, efficient, suitably strong solutions for the marine sector. The goal is to build a fleet of sustainable vessels suitable for ocean research and conservation.
The low carbon aluminium uses a combination of process scrap and recycled metal plus primary metal and the end result is made using renewable energy. And this begs the question – why, exactly, are Norsk Hydro blocking the LME’s plans for low-carbon aluminium trading when they themselves deal in the stuff?
The first vessel, the Arksen 85 ‘Project Ocean’, is being built by the aluminium specialists Wight Shipyard on the Isle of Wight, due to be completed in the spring of 2022.
Pessimism around copper pricing and demand melts away despite Covid
We saw some dreadful forecasts around the price of and demand for copper recently, but luckily they have not materialised. There was a dramatic four-year low in March, when the virus hit Europe and the US, but since then copper has fought back. And that’s remarkable considering the construction, communications and transportation sectors have taken such a blow.
In fact, since March, copper has shown no signs of slowing down. The Chinese economy was the first major economy to return to pre-virus growth in Q2 2020. Their National Bureau of Statistics revealed a hike in Q3 GDP of 4.9% on 2019. Between April and June they enjoyed a 3.2% rise and they still remain ahead of their rivals. At the same time it looks like the Chinese economy will grow 2% in 2020, the country having managed to control the virus well in recent months. This is fuelling demand for copper as well as aluminium and nickel.
Rising copper prices can also be laid at the feet of the virus-led restrictions imposed on copper mining industry in Chile, Mexico and Peru, and there’s been some extra interest in the metal thanks to a weaker US dollar.
UK steel sector relaxes thanks to EU Tariff Rate Quota allocations
The UK steel sector is relieved. The European Commission has finally published its proposed Tariff Rate Quota allocations for UK steel exports from the new year, without which our steel industry could have faced an £80m bill. This means the UK steel sector can reassure EU customers that the steel they get from next year won’t automatically have a massive 25% tariff slapped on it.
The Sinuo chair by Simon Galanský
Steel can be used to make much more than big, heavy, blocky things. The Bratislava-based designer Simon Galanský has created an extraordinary minimalist chair from bright orange steel rods, a curvy masterpiece that looks as comfortable as it is stylish. The design is inspired by the playful nature of a ‘meander’, a series of lovely continuous lines that generate a light, elegant structure with a completely unique form.
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