Select Page

Metal supply woes – covid, supply chains, protests, war and more

Need 6061 aluminium UK? In the market for 6082 aluminium round bar? The world of metal supply is looking particularly turbulent at the moment thanks to Russia’s war on Ukraine, the need to deal with climate change, the global cost of living crisis, ongoing worldwide covid-led supply chain issues, and protests at processing plants and mines. Here’s the news from the team at Metalex. 

 

Metal supply woes – covid, supply chains, protests, war and more.

by | Apr 25, 2022 | Aluminium, Aluminium News, Industry News, Metal News, Metal Prices

Metal supply woes – covid, supply chains, protests, war and more 

Need 6061 aluminium UK? In the market for 6082 aluminium round bar? The world of metal supply is looking particularly turbulent at the moment thanks to Russia’s war on Ukraine, the need to deal with climate change, the global cost of living crisis, ongoing worldwide covid-led supply chain issues, and protests at processing plants and mines. Here’s the news from the team at Metalex. 

Mariupol’s Azovstal Iron and Steel Works spared – but US steel will suffer

In Ukraine Mariupol’s Azovstal Iron and Steel Works has become a battleground. Once the source of 4 million tons of crude steel  every year, the plant and its network of underground tunnels are sheltering thousands of Ukrainian fighters plus as many as a thousand ordinary people. As we write, Vladimir Putin has just ordered his fighters to cancel plans to storm the plant. Instead they’re going to blockade it. 

The resulting disruption in the steel supply will affect everything from the auto industry to inflation rates. It could even have a big impact on the fast-growing US renewable energy scene, which is already suffering because of serious supply chain problems. 

Rio Tinto warns about problems on the horizon

Rio Tinto says runaway inflation, covid lockdowns in China and Russia’s war on Ukraine could affect its profits. The firm achieved lower than usual iron ore shipments in the first quarter of 2022. At the same time supply chain issues and labour shortages have affected their efforts to increase operations in Pilbara, Western Australia, from January to March 2022.  

Russian metals group EN+ says things are looking dire 

The Russian London-listed metals group EN+ says difficult trading conditions lie ahead, along with soaring financing costs. The company is having to fund itself in Roubles, the currency has plummeted, and future investment projects may have to be shelved.  It is already stopping production at its Nikolaev aluminium smelter in southern Ukraine.

Peru’s Las Bambas copper mine in suspends operations  

The Chinese mining firm MMG says it is suspending operations at its Las Bambas mine in southern Peru because of ‘safety concerns’ brought about by protests. Local people have entered the property to demand higher financial contributions, and negotiations are being planned. The mine, one of Peru’s biggest, produces 2% of the world’s copper supply. 

Covid sick days and social unrest hit BHP copper and nickel output 

Time off for workers with covid plus general social unrest in Chile mean BHP’s copper and nickel output has fallen sharply. The labour shortages are predicted to affect the rest of 2022. They saw declines in copper production in 2020/21 too, again thanks to serious covid outbreaks at the plant and the social issues Chile has been suffering for some time. 

BHP says repairs to its South Australian mines are also to blame for the reduced output. Nickel production in Western Australia has plummeted 13%, also because of coronavirus absenteeism and labour shortages.

On the bright side the company’s iron ore output has remained steady in the nine months to the end of March 2022. And that means it’s in better shape than the giant Rio Tinto, whose iron ore output fell by 8% in the first quarter of this year because of covid-led labour shortages and supply chain problems.  

Novelis’ new continuous annealing line  

Novelis, the world leader in aluminium rolling and recycling, says it’s investing over thirty million US dollars in a new continuous annealing line at Plettenberg-Ohle in Germany. This’ll double its capacity for aluminium used to make coffee capsules, a fast-growing market. Many coffee brands prefer aluminium to plastic and the metal is also perfect for the circular economy, being infinitely recyclable. 

3D printing revolutionises the aluminium wires market 

3D printing is the latest trend in the aluminium wires market. The tech uses scrap metal to print all sorts of cool aluminium products. Take the Belgian firm ValCUN, which harnesses molten metal deposition (MMD) to first melt the metal, then heat it with plasma, then deposit it. The process apparently uses less heat and energy compared to heating an entire chamber. 

Global supply chain problems for aluminium 

New research reveals global aluminium supply chains might be at risk in China. An analysis by  Horizon Advisory says eight major Xinjiang-based aluminium producers, together making  around  17% of the country’s total output, may be involved in ‘state-sponsored transfer of labour’.  

China says these programmes take people out of poverty and encourage economic development. Others say they are probably a kind of forced labour, detaining Uyghur Muslims and making them work in Chinese factories far from their homes. 

The report by Horizon hints that ‘various global supply chains’, including vehicles, aerospace and electronics, using aluminium made in the region could be exposed to these human rights risks.

Need metals? 

US steel production problems, Chinese aluminium sector issues, as aluminium stockists, brass flat bar suppliers, and experts in all sorts of useful and popular metals and alloys, these are extraordinary times. But we’re carrying on regardless, supplying people like you with the stuff you need. Walk this way for all your metal supplies.  

Please complete the enquiry form located on this page, call +44 (0) 330 223 2653 or email us to discover how Metalex could be supplying you with premium metal products and professional metal processing services.

THE LATEST FROM THE BLOG

Tata harnesses sewage bacteria to help the environment, Azovstal Steel Plant latest, recycling records beaten

Defending the Azovstal steel works in the besieged city of Mariupol has become ‘priority number one’ for Ukraine. The plant is the last place Ukrainian resistance is holding out in the city. The area has become the heart of the war and efforts continue to defend it,...

Metal supply woes – covid, supply chains, protests, war and more.

Need 6061 aluminium UK? In the market for 6082 aluminium round bar? The world of metal supply is looking particularly turbulent at the moment thanks to Russia’s war on Ukraine, the need to deal with climate change, the global cost of living crisis, ongoing worldwide...

About mining metals under the ocean

As a trusted metals supplier we know exactly how important the products we sell to the world we all live in. The built environment, transport across the planet itself and beyond, communications, the goods we buy on an everyday basis, metals are crucial in so many...

Space metals – Which metals are tough enough for lift off?

The forces you get when a space rocket takes off are quite something, especially during the phase of ‘maximum aerodynamic pressure’ when the rocket’s actually thrusting through the earth’s atmosphere. Despite these powerful forces the craft’s liquid fuel systems have...

Aluminium plate supplier special – 2022 aluminium supply and prices

At Metalex we sell an awful lot of aluminium. This time we’re delving into the aluminium sector. At one end China’s covid outbreaks are affecting supplies and pricing. At the other end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to supply worries and prices are already on...

Marvellous Metals

6061 aluminium plate, 7075 aluminium round bar, brass round bar cz121, aluminium extrusion, it’s all familiar stuff. But look deeper and science has discovered some very odd metals indeed, with very strange properties. Let’s explore the ins and outs of Gallium. ...

Massive Metal Mining Machines – The Big Stuff

In our sector, more or less everything is BIG. The machinery, the technology, the processes and the mines themselves are all absolutely massive, whether open cast or underground. This time around we are exploring the mighty world of massive metal mining machines.  ...

US tariff troubles, Scottish steel nightmares Car bonnet sculptures

The festive season is over, the mornings and evenings are lighter, and spring is in the air. We’re stocked with all manner of essential metal supplies, from everyday products like quality 6061 plate to brass square bar en12165 and carbon steel. Suppliers like us keep...

Weird metal stories – Bizarre robots, shape shifters, asteroids

Metals are some of the commonest substances on earth. They can also be some of the oddest, capable of extraordinary feats of weirdness when manipulated by scientists. As steel suppliers, UK  brass suppliers, and experts in handy stuff like 6082 plate and aluminium...

Happy festivities to our metal suppliers UK customers

The price of metals tends to be fairly volatile in ordinary times. Like everyone else, as metals supply professionals we’ve had an ‘interesting’ year as covid, the drive to cut CO2 emissions and international tensions have impacted prices and supplies. But we’re still...

Accreditations & Associations

Aluminium Stockholders Association

Quick Enquiry

Leave this field blank
  • South East
  • South West
  • London
  • South Wales
  • North Wales
  • West Midlands
  • East Midlands
  • North East
  • North West
  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland
  • Nothing found

CALL METALEX NOW ON
0330 223 2653