Archive | Steel and Stainless Steel Industries

[Dr. Peter Warrian] U of T expert says future is bright for Canadian steel – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star -June 12, 2017)

But if Canada wants to retain a manufacturing industry, then the steel
industry will need to be a part of it, he said, because steel is the
materials backbone of manufacturing.

Dr. Peter Warrian, a University of Toronto professor and Canada’s leading academic expert on the Canadian steel industry, told city council that the industry will always have a volatile market but the need for steel in the future could certainly increase.

While prices rose substantially – 40 per cent – between October 2016 and March 2017, allowing cash flow improvements for steelmakers like Algoma, the problem remains that the cyclical nature of the industry will not see those high prices be sustained for long periods of time. And that means, investments into pension plans, injections of capital improvements and maintenance plans will not get the long-term attention they need, he said.

And while this has been a problem experienced to Algoma, the local steelmaker found itself in a serious cash crunch because of the long-term contacts it had inked that found itself paying for raw materials at exceptionally high prices – much higher prices than actual market values, Warrian said. Continue Reading →

Chevy’s Anti-Aluminum Ads with the Ford F150 haven’t Helped Sell the Silverado – by Patrick Rall (Torque News – June 7, 2017)

It has been just over a year since Chevrolet rolled out their Silverado ads featuring a new Ford F150 bed being damaged by dropping various objects onto the aluminum surface and in that year, Ford sales have risen while Silverado sales have dropped – showing that the automotive consumer may not favor negative advertising.

Back in June 2016, Chevrolet rolled out a series of commercial for the Silverado which featured their truck parked next to a new Ford F150. In these commercials, “real people” looked on as a load of paver stones was dropped from a frontloader into the bed of each truck.

The Silverado’s steel bed held up to the bricks without only scuffs and dents, while the bed of the F150 saw more severe damage. Of course, the “real people” reacted with great surprise at this and when a large, steel toolbox pushed over the edge of the bedside did significantly more damage to the F150’s aluminum bed, the onlookers were equally stunned. Continue Reading →

A Revitalized Pittsburgh Says the President Used a Rusty Metaphor – by Kim Lyons, Emily Badger and Alan Blinder (New York Times – June 2, 2017)

PITTSBURGH — President Trump picked the wrong city as a counterpoint in announcing his plans on Thursday to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord. “I was elected,” the president said, “to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

But the president was hardly speaking about a place of domestic political strength: Although Mr. Trump carried Pennsylvania last fall, 75 percent of voters in Pittsburgh voted for Hillary Clinton.

In defiance of the president, city leaders vowed again on Thursday to pursue their own climate action. Pittsburgh, they point out, is the wrong metaphor anyway: The former steel hub has spent the last 30 years trying to remake its economy in precisely the mold that climate advocates envision. Continue Reading →

Ontario Sault Chamber advocates for steel in Ottawa – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – June 5, 2017)

Sault Ste. Marie’s Chamber of Commerce joined their counterparts from Windsor-Essex Regional and Hamilton in Ottawa last week for an all-party Parliamentary steel caucus meeting. The message, said Sault Chamber Rory Ring, is simple.

Canada and the United States should not be fighting each other. Instead, as a joint North American market, they should work jointly to make sure the non-market economies are dealt with without creating blows to their own intertwined economies.

That’s the message the joint Chamber group was sending to the steel caucus, which will be attending an international meeting later this month in Washington. Sault MP Terry Sheehan, co-chair of the all-party Parliamentary steel caucus group said the same message has and will continue to be pushed by the steel caucus and from the Canadian government to its US counterparts. Continue Reading →

The Hard-to-Believe Steel Shortage That’s Unfolding in China – by Jasmine Ng, Perry Williams and Stephen Engle (Bloomberg News – June 5, 2017)

The world’s top steelmaker may have a shortage of steel. China has a lack of rebar, according to iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., which says a shortfall of the key product helps to explain a divergence between the price of the commodity it digs up with the alloy it’s made into.

There’s a shortage of rebar, Fortescue’s Chief Executive Officer Nev Power said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Beijing on Monday, citing closures in China of some steel producers, especially operators of induction furnaces. Rebar, or reinforcement bar, is a basic item used to reinforce concrete.

China makes half of the world’s steel, and in recent years it’s been more associated with excess production, soaring steel exports, and sinking prices. Continue Reading →

Coal exports disrupted in cyclone-hit Australia as floodwaters rise – by Jamie Freed and Tom Westbrook (Reuters U.S. – April 3, 2017)

SYDNEY – Damage to rail lines in cyclone-hit northeast Australia is set to disrupt exports of the steel-making material from the world’s largest coking coal region, underpinning prices and raising the prospect of major producers declaring force majeure.

The extent of the damage, which will hit coal mines operated by BHP Billiton Ltd and Glencore PLC, was revealed in the wake of deadly Cyclone Debbie, which struck last week and left a disaster zone stretching 1,000 km (600 miles). Four people have died in floods in Queensland and New South Wales states, with another three missing.

Coal hauler Aurizon Holdings said on Monday it would take up to five weeks to repair parts of its network of rail lines that connects mines to ports in Queensland, with alternative routes being considered for coal transported on the worst-affected Goonyella line. Continue Reading →

New mines bank on steel industry’s need for metallurgical coal – by Brian Bowling (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – March 12, 2017)

Contractors for Corsa Coal Corp. are busy digging a hole larger than a football field in Somerset County. Their goal is the Middle Kittanning seam — buried about 120 feet deep.

The Canonsburg-based company is on schedule to open its Acosta Deep Mine in May, with a plan for at least 70 miners to remove about three miles of metallurgical-quality coal — used in steelmaking — over the next decade. Starting a new mine in an era when many are shutting down feels good, said Robert Bottegal, Corsa’s general manager for engineering.

“There will be some more jobs in the area, which is great,” Bottegal said. The number of bituminous coal mines operating in the United States plummeted from 1,010 in 2001 to 431 in 2015, according to the U.S. Continue Reading →

In China’s rustbelt towns, displaced coal, steel workers lose hope and voice – by Sue-Lin Wong (Reuters U.S. – March 5, 2017)

SHUANGYASHAN, CHINA – After protests by unpaid coal miners made headlines around the world last year as China’s parliament was meeting, a $15 billion assistance fund offered by the ruling Communist Party became a symbol of the government’s need to ensure social stability.

As the National People’s Congress gathers again a year on, the number of protests has dropped sharply and authorities are promising to create more jobs for workers in China’s northeastern belt, where the employment outlook is more grim than in many other parts of the country.

China is pledging to cut further excess and inefficient capacity in its mining sector and “smokestack” industries this year as part of an effort to upgrade its economy and reduce pollution, but the move threatens to throw millions more out of work. Continue Reading →

Nippon Steel agrees with Glencore, Teck on 43 percent rise in first quarter coking coal – by Yuka Obayashi (Reuters U.S. – December 13, 2016)

TOKYO – Japan’s biggest steelmaker Nippon Steel said on Tuesday it has agreed with Glencore Plc and Teck Resources Ltd on a coking coal price for first quarter of 2017 supplies that is 43 percent higher than the previous quarter.

The companies agreed on a price of $285 a ton for supplies of Australia’s premium hard coking coal for the January-March quarter next year, a Nippon Steel spokeswoman said, without giving any details.

If other international steelmakers follow this price, it would be the highest industry quarterly benchmark since the fourth quarter of 2011. Continue Reading →

Tom Dodds’ new best friends dabble in the Ring of Fire – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – November 11, 2016)

Al Coutts, president of Noront Resources, swooped into Sault Ste.Marie, Nov. 4, for a tour of the city, courtesy of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation.

It’s not known if this is the start of a beautiful friendship with the Ring of Fire, but the nickel and chromite mine developer decided to tweet a photo of Coutts and his chief development officer, Steve Flewelling, with economic development chief executive Tom Dodds on the city‘s waterfront.

“He came out, we gave him a tour of the town,” said Dodds, “we showed him possible areas…of industrial land that would make sense to them. “We’re walking into city hall and he says, let’s take a picture. I said, if you’re feeling inclined to publicize that you’re here, far be it for me to say no. “

Dodds cautioned that the visit was very exploratory and doesn’t want to build unrealistic expectations that the Toronto-based mine developer is in a position to target the Sault for a chromite processing operation. Continue Reading →

U.S. coking coal miners seen slow to respond to price rally – by Nicole Mordant (Reuters U.S. – November 2, 2016)

U.S. miners of steel-making coal will be slow to lift output, even with prices tripling so far this year, as they need to renew operations shuttered during a five-year price collapse that pushed many into bankruptcy court, industry watchers say.

Delays in bringing on new supplies of steel-making coal, also known as metallurgical or coking coal, are expected to help keep global prices higher for longer. With operating costs higher than their Australian peers, U.S. miners typically bring supply online when prices rise and are cut back when they fall.

“Given how decimated the whole industry has gotten over the last two to three years, there is just not a lot of ready-use production that could come online,” said Jeremy Sussman, analyst at Clarksons Platou Securities in New York. Continue Reading →

Surge in price of steelmaking coal puts spark of life in northeast B.C. mines – by Derrick Penner (Vancouver Sun – November 1, 2016)

In the weeks since Conuma Coal Resources Ltd. bought Walter Energy Canada Holding Inc.’s northeast B.C. mines out of bankruptcy in September, the fledgling miner has reopened one mine and shipped its first trainload of coal.

It wasn’t what the company was expecting to do, but it jumped into action as prices rose, then surged, for coal used in steel making. Prices recently hit US$200 a tonne for fourth-quarter delivery, up from US$92 in the third quarter and just US$81 in the first quarter of 2016.

“We just feel so fortunate,” said Ken McCoy, the CEO of Conuma’s parent company, ERP Compliant Fuels of West Virginia. It wasn’t what the company had planned when it bought the mines. “Our intention was to buy these properties and sit on them, because the market just wasn’t there,” McCoy said. Continue Reading →

Bedrock Industries reaches deal to buy U.S. Steel Canada (CBC News Hamilton – November 1, 2016)

American Company Bedrock Industries Group has reached a deal to buy beleaguered U.S. Steel Canada, U.S. Steel announced today. The sale is subject to court approvals.

In a statement, provincial minister of finance Charles Sousa called the move an important step towards the former Stelco’s restructuring that will “save jobs, protect pensions and assist in providing post-employment benefits for active and retired employees at USSC’s Hamilton and Lake Erie facilities.”

The agreement comes as the latest in a lengthy restructuring and court process that continues to roll on — and one that is certainly not complete. While the province has a rosy outlook about the news, the steelworker’s union has a decidedly bleaker one. Continue Reading →

Essar Global teams up with Cargill in bid for U.S. Steel Canada – by Greg Keenan and Andrew Willis (Globe and Mail – October 21, 2016)

The former parent company of Essar Steel Algoma Inc. is teaming up with agriculture and industrial giant Cargill Inc. to renew its bid to buy U.S. Steel Canada Inc., sources familiar with the companies’ plans say.

Essar Global, which made a public bid for U.S. Steel Canada in August, is trying to jump ahead of Bedrock Industries LP, which has been anointed by the Ontario government as the favoured bidder to take the troubled steel company out of protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

The August bid for U.S. Steel Canada, formerly known as Stelco Inc., was rejected by the company and the court-appointed monitor overseeing the restructuring. Sources familiar with the new bid say it is also unlikely to succeed, as Bedrock is offering better terms and deep-pocketed Cargill’s participation is limited to a loan. Continue Reading →

China’s steelmakers the relative winners in coking coal surge – by Clyde Russell (Daily Mail/Reuters – October 21, 2016)

LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) – While no steel maker will be happy with the explosion in coking coal prices, Chinese mills are the best placed to deal with the impact, given they are nowhere near as exposed to spot prices as competitors in the rest of Asia and Europe.

The spot price of premium hard coking coal <_.PHCC-AUSSI> in Australia, which dominates global exports, surged to $242.90 a tonne on Oct. 20, taking the rally so far this year to a staggering 210 percent.

While only a small percentage of coking coal cargoes are actually sold at the spot price, the quarterly contract price was recently settled above $200 a tonne and customers of Australia’s BHP-Mitsubishi Alliance, the world’s largest coking coal exporter, will be paying prices linked to monthly indexes. Continue Reading →