China's top iron ore trading platform eyes record volumes on robust steel output

Date Sep 20 2018 15:02:15 Source:Foreign media

Volumes at China's biggest physical iron ore trading platform may hit record levels this year, with demand for the steelmkaing raw material pushed up as steel output has been strong despite pollution-linked curbs, its president said.


Volumes traded on the Beijing Iron Ore Trading Center Corporation (COREX) from January to mid-September have risen 20 percent from the same time in 2017 to 24 million tonnes, and are on course to beat last year's total of 33.6 million tonnes, said company president You Song.


The last quarter of the year is typically the strongest in terms of transactions on the platform, he said.


"Our target this year is 36 million tonnes, but we have a chance to break 38 million tonnes," You said on the sidelines of an industry conference organised by the China Iron and Steel Association.


That would be a new annual high for the platform that began in 2012 and where cargoes from top iron ore suppliers Vale, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton are among those sold. The last record of 35.35 million tonnes was set in 2016.


Despite production restrictions in many cities including top-producer Tangshan, China's overall steel output only slipped 1.1 percent in August from a record 81.24 million tonnes in July, as many mills ramped up output to chase strong margins amid firm domestic demand.


"We think production of steel will remain stable, so demand for iron ore will remain stable," said You.


Iron ore imports by China - the world's largest buyer – have only dropped 0.5 percent to 710 million tonnes in January-August.


Apart from matching iron ore buyers and sellers on dollar-denominated cargoes, COREX also matches buyers and sellers on yuan-priced iron ore at China's ports and has seen volumes increase from June, You said, reflecting increased interest for smaller shipments from mills and traders.


From potentially 500,000 tonnes in traded volumes this year for yuan-denominated cargoes, transactions could reach 2 million tonnes next year and probably 10 million tonnes by 2020, You said.


    "Once the business takes off in the market, volumes will increase very fast," he added. 

List of World's Top Ten Nickel Mine Producers

Date Sep 20 2018 14:23:32 Source:Scrap monster

 The recent data from Mining Intelligence ranks nickel mine producers of the world, based on the estimated production totals during the previous year. Accordingly, Vale, Norilsk Nickel and Glencore emerged as the top three producers in terms of nickel derived from mines. The ranking is purely based on mine production and does not include nickel provided by external parties.


The Brazilian miner, Vale, was the topmost nickel producer during the previous year with a total estimated output of 243 kilotonnes. Nearly 47% of the output came from Sudbury Mine and Voisey's Bay Mine in Canada. In second place was the Russian miner, Norilsk Nickel, whose output totaled 163 kilotonnes. Out of this total, nearly 155 kilotonnes were produced by its Kola and Polar Division mines. Glencore, in third place, produced 130 kilotonnes of nickel during 2017.


The other miners to feature in the top-10 producers’ list were BHP Billiton (70 kilotonnes), Anglo American (44 kilotonnes), South32 (41 kilotonnes), Sumitomo (32 kilotonnes), Western Areas (25 kilotonnes), Lundin Mining (22 kilotonnes) and Terrafame (21 kilotonnes).


Global nickel prices witnessed unforeseen fluctuation during the course of the current year. In early-June ’18, the prices had surged higher to more than $15,000 per tonne, up by almost 25% from the end-2017 levels. Since then, the prices have fallen to almost $12,400 per tonne on the LME.

China steel companies create JV to foster industry consolidation

Date Sep 19 2018 14:44:51 Source:Foreign media

China's three major steel groups and a state-backed asset management company have create an asset management joint venture to offer financial support for consolidation in the steel sector.


Baowu Steel Group, Ansteel Group, Magang Group and China Orient Asset Management Co have invested 2 billion yuan ($291.30 million) to set up Huabao Metallurgical Assets Management Co, according to a statement issued by Magang on Monday.


Baowu will hold 37.5 percent of the new joint venture, while Orient Asset and Ansteel will take 25 percent each with Magang holding 12.5 percent.


    "I hope each shareholder of Huabao could fully use their actively manage the non-performing assets in steel and related industry through market measures," said Wei

Yao, chairman of Magang Group in the statement.


The establishment of Huabao will help China to meet its goal of cutting excessive production capacity in the steel sector by phasing out inefficient mills through mergers and acquisitions that will further streamline the industry. 


By 2020, China's top 10 steelmakers will account for 60 percent of national capacity, up from one-third currently, according to central government's latest five-year plan.


In 2015, Baosteel acquired its rival company, Wuhan Iron and Steel, and formed the country's biggest steel company Baowu Group.


    "Huabao will aim to offer a new solution for consolidation in steel sector," said Chen Derong, chairman of Baowu Steel Group in a separate statement.

MMG slashes Las Bambas copper forecast

Date Sep 19 2018 11:37:13 Source:Mining weekly

Hong Kong- and Australia-listed MMG has lowered its 2018 copper concentrate production guidance for the Las Bambas mine, in Peru, to between 375 000 t and 395 000 t, from an earlier guidance of 410 000 t to 430 000 t.


The lower production forecast is as a result of wall instability restricting access to mining in sections of the Ferrobamba pit, where instability was also a problem in late 2017.


Mill throughput rates, although having improved, also remain below planned levels, the company said on Tuesday.


As a result, production will be lower and costs will go up, with the C1 cost guidance having been increased to between $1.10/lb and $1.20/lb, compared with a previous guidance of $1/lb to $1.10/lb.


MMG noted that the issues were not expected to have an impact on production in the medium term.

India Likely to Announce New Policy Actions to Curb Rising Gold Imports

Date Sep 19 2018 10:35:29 Source:Scrap Monster

As part of new steps to arrest fall in currency and control the widening current account deficit (CAD), the Indian government plans to adopt new policy steps to curtail gold imports, which causes heavy dollar outflow.


According to government sources, there are no plans whatsoever to hike import duty on gold at the moment. This is mainly on account of fears that such an action would trigger smuggling activities. Incidentally, smuggling activities are already on the rise, ahead of the upcoming festive season. In addition, the government may not prefer a hike in import duty, especially at a time when the next general elections are around the corner.


Meantime, government sources declined to specify the policy actions to be taken to check rupee depreciation and CAD widening. It must be noted that the Indian rupee has declined nearly 6% in August alone. Also, CAD has widened to 2.4% of the Gross Domestic product (GDP) during the initial quarter of fiscal year 2018-’19.


The country has recorded tremendous surge in gold imports recently. The imports skyrocketed by nearly 93% during August. Furthermore, the demand is expected to peak during the festive season.


Speaking to media, Surendra Mehta, Secretary, India Bullion & Jewellers Association said that the gold industry is currently not looking at any curb, as restrictions on gold import are likely to affect market. He suggested rising of duty on gold dores from current 9.35% to make it equivalent with the prevailing 10% duty structure for gold bar imports into the country.