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 manufacturing running, and help people like you create amazing structures. We also like to keep a finger on the pulse of our industry. Here’s the latest metals sector news.
UK and US will address divisive steel tariffs
The UK Secretary of State for International Trade, the US Secretary of Commerce and the US Trade Representative have announced the beginning of bilateral discussions to deal with excess global capacity in steel and aluminium, including the USA’s tariffs on imports from the United Kingdom under Section 232 as well as the UK’s retaliatory tariffs on some US exports to the UK. Everyone is, apparently, dedicated to figuring out a mutually beneficial outcome ensuring steel and aluminiums’ viability across both markets. Watch this space to see how they fix the knotty ‘shared challenge of global excess capacity’.
Nova Met’s new recycled aluminium purification operation
Nova Met is an alliance between two important players in the metals recycling industry. Now they’re setting up a secondary aluminium production site in the Le Havre port. As specialists in collecting and recycling aluminium scrap they’ve just signed the all-important land use agreement with the port, and this month they’ll be starting up the new recycled aluminium purification and preparation operations. Because aluminium is 100% recyclable, as well as vital everything from transport to construction, packaging to engineering, there’s always a need for the metal. It’s great to see the sector steadily becoming more sustainable as recycled aluminium becomes the source of even more ‘green’ international growth and innovation.
China’s record breaking aluminium imports
China is the world’s biggest aluminium producer and consumer. Through 2021 the country broke records, importing an astounding 3.2 million tonnes of unwrought aluminium and products, including primary and unwrought alloyed metal, up from 2.7 million tonnes in 2020. At the same time the aluminium giant Alcoa Corp says its refined aluminium shipments may fall by 3.8% over 2022, 100,000 tonnes less than last year. The reduction is being laid at the feet of the divestiture of the US Warrick Rolling Mill and ‘changes in the smelting portfolio’.
How Scottish politicians bungled an important steel plant deal
Business and politics are rarely a great match. In Scotland, SNP ministers are facing outrage over the enormous steel plant clean-up costs they’ve become liable for. The crazy thing is, they only owned the two works for a few short moments.
Taxpayers face a huge bill thanks to a so-called ‘novel’ deal designed to save Lanarkshire’s Clydebridge and Dalzell sites. In early 2016 the SNP agreed to act as an intermediary in the sale of the rolling mills in an effort to save 140 jobs. They bought both plants for £1 from Longs Steel, a subsidiary of Tata, then instantly sold them on to Liberty House for £1.
Sadly the deal was ‘un-tested’. While it should have been a ‘fleeting technical exercise’, it now looks like taxpayers are responsible for the clean-up of the sites. The Scottish Government has asked the UK Government to refer the problem to the European Commission, who will be able to provide a ‘definitive’ ruling.
Delicate sculpture made from car bonnets, spades and oil drums
They’re far from conventionally beautiful. But the used car bonnets, spades and oil drums used by the Canadian artist Cal Lane are transformed into stunning works of art. A former welder, Lane is fascinated by the possibilities of materials, particularly interested by the “the industrial, man-made structure, masculine, modernist quality of steel”, which for her represents the walls put up by the society she was born into. The delicate filigree she inscribes into huge hunks of metal reveal the conflicts she struggles with.
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