Metals go greener, factory explosions, copper waste redesignation
It’s all go in the metal supplier world right now, with profound changes happening around the globe. There are the usual uncertainties about supply and demand to deal with, plus a huge effort to make metals more sustainable. While many of the world’s governments delay, argue and fiddle about, our sector is determined to forge ahead with green metals initiatives, and that’s really good to know. Here’s the news.
India’s biggest aluminium producer becomes the country’s biggest green power buyer
We’re popular aluminium suppliers, UK based and one of the countries premier aluminium stockists. We’re also keen on green initiatives and concerned about climate change, so it’s amazing to hear about Vedanta Aluminium Business. It has just become India’s biggest green power purchaser on the Green Market at the Indian Energy Exchange Limited platform, buying a massive 354 million units of solar and non-solar renewable energy for its integrated aluminium production facility at Jharsuguda. Most of it was purchased from IEX’s Green Term-Ahead Market. Vedanta’s purchase accounts for over 35% of the green power traded on IEX in the first quarter of the financial year.
IEX, the respected energy market, is India’s biggest power exchange. It supports flexible, competitively priced green energy. Thanks to them companies like Vedanta are making good progress towards CO2 emissions targets, at the same time producing environmentally friendlier value-added products.
Dengfeng Power Group Co aluminium factory explodes
A Dengfeng Power Group Co Ltd aluminium alloy factory has exploded in China following serious floods that submerged the Henan province facility. Apparently a nearby river overflowed its banks in the night, flattening a factory wall at around 4am. The company switched the power off and evacuated people from the flooded plant immediately. The water kept rising and, at 6am, reached a high-temperature area which blew up. Video clips reveal the sky turning yellow before a massive ball of flame erupted from the factory. Luckily nobody was reported missing and there were no injuries.
Rumours fly – Will Apple ditch aluminium for titanium?
JP Morgan Chase predicts the iPhone 14 itself or one of the Pro versions due for launch in autumn 2022 will feature a titanium case instead of the usual aluminium. If so it’ll be the ‘most groundbreaking change in the iPhone 14 Pro’, but some worry the move might put budget-conscious buyers off. While Titanium is as strong as steel it’s almost 45% lighter than steel. It resists scratches and damage from bending. While it can’t beat the light weight of aluminium – titanium is 60% heavier – it is twice as hard as aluminium and doesn’t corrode.
The world’s steel industry decarbonises
Investors representing more than 55 Trillion US dollars’ worth of assets have laid out the actions the steel sector needs to take to decarbonise, according to the guidelines set out in the Paris Agreement. The report, called Global Sector Strategies: Investor interventions to accelerate net zero steel, was revealed by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, one of the founding investor networks in the Climate Action 100+ corporate engagement investor initiative.
The report says steel companies need to make strict new decarbonisation goals with targets in the short, long and medium term, directly in line with the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero Emissions 2050 scenario as well as and Climate Action 100+ Net-Zero criteria. Steel must ‘demonstrate the feasibility of emerging technologies’ as fast as possible, and take instant advantage of the existing opportunities to slash emissions, including carbon capture, carbon storage, and furnaces that run on hydrogen. The deadline for companies to report back on the scope of these emerging technologies at a large scale is the end of 2022.
The investors also say steel must align its capital spending with net zero emissions, create solid plans for investing in low-carbon steel tech, and call a halt to investing in areas where emissions can’t be reduced.
Darlington steel firm suffers a blow
As steel suppliers in the UK, this is sad news. Up in the North East of England, in Darlington, jobs are being lost at the Cleveland Bridge plant, where they’re making 53 workers redundant. The company was founded way back in 1887 and is responsible for countless major engineering projects around the globe.
China’s ‘waste’ copper is re-classified as a ‘resource’
In 2020 China imported a whopping 4.67 million tonnes of refined copper. It’s a different story for 2021, with import volumes plummeting by 10% in the first 6 months of the year and a monthly total that dropped below 300,000 tonnes in May and June.
It’s partly down to policymakers reversing a ban on what was previously considered ‘waste’ copper. Now scrap copper has been re-classified as a ‘resource’, it’s flooding into the country and reducing the need for fresh imports of refined metal. Some say this is going to derail the recovery of copper’s price. On the other hand the copper China doesn’t need could be imported to the US instead, where the copper market is looking unusually healthy.
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