It’s madness in the world of metal supply – But we’ve got your back!
The energy price crisis, Russia’s war on Ukraine, a looming shortage of crucial metals… it’s all go out there. As trusted metal supplies experts, we’re weathering the storm. Whatever happens we’ll bring all of our considerable expertise into play to source the metal supply you need, and sell it at a fair price bearing in mind these challenging times. Here’s the news.
Here comes a whopper of a worldwide copper shortage
Bloomberg and others are reporting on the forthcoming global ‘great copper squeeze’. A recent downturn in copper prices is set to make the supply deficit worse as the worldwide economic slump affects investment in copper. The metal’s price has plummeted almost a third since March 2022. Now copper investors are selling fast, worried a global recession will send demand even lower.
All this has led mining companies and traders to predict a massive shortfall in supply a couple of years down the line. This alone, set against a rocky wider economic picture, could ‘hold back global growth, stoke inflation by raising manufacturing costs and throw global climate goals off course’.
Strongest ever 3D printed titanium alloy created Down Under
Engineers at Monash University in Australia have made an extraordinary 3D-printable titanium alloy. It beats other forms of the metal hands-down for strength, with highest strength-to-weight ratio of a 3D printed metal… ever. First they used an everyday 3D printing method to melt and fuse the powdered metal into a solid. Then they treated it with heat at 480 – 520°C to create the new microstructure that makes the alloy so strong.
Russian aluminium causes ructions – to buy or not to buy?
Welcome to the aluminium sector’s moral maze. Rio Tinto has just cut a Russian company out of a huge Queensland-based alumina operation to avoid breaching sanctions and illegally boosting the bank accounts of two Russian oligarchs.
The Aussie government’s sanctions against billionaires Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg, both of whom are openly supportive of Putin, has led to the firm freezing out Rusal’s subsidiary Alumina and Bauxite Company (ABC) from the operation. ABC previously provided around 20% of the bauxite needed to make alumina, giving the Russian firm an equal share of the output to sell.
At the same time Rusal is considering on a plan to deliver aluminium direct to London Metal Exchange’s Asia warehouses. The price of aluminium has fallen to an 18 month low, predicted to plummet even lower. And there are fears that the sharp US interest rate rise on the way will only make things worse.
During August, China’s aluminium extrusion exports fell for the third month in a row. And the power crisis, production cuts, and shortages of aluminium have left European consumers in a moral quandary about Russian aluminium, the metal being essential for transport, construction and packaging. Boeing stopped buying the metal from Russia in March and others will probably follow, but it’s a tough economic decision.
Meanwhile the aluminium consumer Constellium plans to keep buying from Russia’s Rusal in 2023, as it has throughout this year.
Mega metal firms’ zero emissions promise
The metal sector is going to places many governments fear to go, as metals industry leaders support plans for zero-emissions aluminium and steel. The plans were released at New York Climate Week, aiming to produce near-zero emissions versions of the metals. The move is supported by the steel makers ArcelorMittal, Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN), Liberty Steel, SSAB, Rio Tinto, Tata Steel, thyssenkrupp and Vale, and the aluminium producers Alcoa, Rio Tinto and EGA.
Shougang Group – which is one of the world’s top 10 steel producers – has also signed up to a Memorandum of Understanding to support low-carbon solutions for the steel value chain, via the delightfully named ‘Mission Possible’ partnership.
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