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The latest news from your favourite metal suppliers UK

As experts in metal supplies we like to keep our fingers on the pulse. This time around there’s the usual mix of good and not-so-good news, a blend of brilliant climate innovations on one hand and bad times for the UK steel industry on the other, plus stiff new EU tariffs on Chinese aluminium goods and a moratorium on ocean floor mining from a handful of business giants. Here’s the news.

 

Climate innovation – The IAI reports on how to slash CO2 emissions

While governments prevaricate and delay, our sector is busy innovating to mitigate climate change. Take the aluminium sector, whose product is a key material for electric vehicles but is also notoriously tricky to manufacture in a way that reduces CO2 emissions.

The International Aluminium Institute is keen to reduce the metal’s climate impact. It represents over 60% of the world’s aluminium production businesses and has just released a report detailing ‘new climate pathways’ for its members. The Aluminium Sector Greenhouse Gas Pathways to 2050 report reveals how recycled materials, electrification and new technologies should be able to slash emissions on a large scale. The idea is to support the aluminium sector in front-loading decarbonisation according to the Paris Agreement over the decades to come, aiming for global warming of 1.5C or less.

Right now aluminium production is the source of a not-so-impressive 2% of yearly worldwide human-led emissions, and that’s set to grow by 50% by the year 2050 as demand soars for digital products and electric vehicles. As aluminium plate suppliers we’re delighted to see the aluminium sector making an effort.

Respected business giants reject ocean floor-mined metals

The premium car manufacturers BMW and Volvo, plus Samsung’s EV battery people, have all promised to support a moratorium on deep seabed mining for the minerals used in electric vehicle batteries.

Google is also on board, making it clear that it’s vitally important to protect our fragile ocean ecosystems, which are already threatened by over-fishing, pollution, noise, and climate change.

Deep sea bed mining is still relatively new but a few short-sighted prospecting businesses are already wanting the right to mine ocean deposits like the metallic nodules that grow around hydrothermal vents. All those involved say that deep sea mining must be managed in a way that protects the marine environment, something that conservationists agree with but is very hard to achieve, maybe even impossible.

The companies involved also said that every single possible alternative to deep sea minerals must be explored first, urgently, to see if demand for primary metals can be reduced. The ideal outcome is a resource-efficient, closed-loop materials economy supported by ‘responsible terrestrial mining practices’. Will common sense and a focus on the future overcome corporate greed? Let’s hope so.

The EU gets tough with duties on Chinese aluminium products

The EU has slammed duties on aluminium products from China. It’s all down to an investigation showing a tranche of products were on sale for ‘unfairly low’ prices.

The EU, which oversees trade policy for its 27-nation Union, is setting strict anti-dumping duties between 21.2 – 31.2% on Chinese producers of aluminium extruded items, namely aluminium bars, aluminium rods, and aluminium tubes, lower tariffs than the 30.4% – 48.0% provisional duties imposed half way into the investigation.

UK steel sector faces very worrying times

Liberty Steel’s owner Sanjeev Gupta is promising not to close any of his steel plants, but at the same time creditors want to wind up some of the group’s key businesses. GFG Alliance, the conglomerate owning Liberty Steel, is in deep financial trouble after creditor Greensill collapsed a few weeks go, an event that brings fears for the future of GFG Alliance its 35,000 worldwide employees.

Here in Britain GFG employs around five thousand people, including about 3000 steel workers. While Mr Gupta is ‘very confident’ he’ll find a short term answer to the problems, and equally confident about long term refinancing, things are not looking good right now.

Apparently Mr Gupta has had some interest from an undisclosed number of financiers, even though his company owes a ‘substantial’ debt of ‘many billions’ to Greensill. Greensill says the debts amount to £3.6bn. One of the creditors, Credit Suisse, which funded Greensill, wants to close down a key Liberty subsidiary in an effort to recoup its losses. In the meantime the UK government has turned down Mr Gupta’s plea for a £170m loan because of worries over the lack of transparency around the company’s structure plus a reluctance to use taxpayers’ money to save companies outside the UK.

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Politicians come and go, disasters happen then fade away, but we’re still here for you, stocking all the metal supplies you need at keen prices, with expert advice on tap whenever you need it.

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