Global Mining Markets: Africa focus, coking coal market shift, Ilva trouble…

Baobab Resources PLC
The editorial focus was on Africa, as we reported from the Metal Bulletin African Iron & Steel Conference in Maputo, Mozambique.

Mozambique-focused junior miner Baobab Resources has gone into partnership with Metallurgical Corp of China (MCC) to develop its iron and steel project. Apparent steel use in sub-Saharan Africa will grow faster than in any other region in the world in 2016, delegates were told.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s apparent steel use is expected to grow by 5.3% to 20 million tpy in 2015, and by a further 10% to 22 million tpy in 2016, Cihan Akdeniz, market analyst at the Turkish Steel Exporters Assn, said.

Steel companies operating in South Africa face significant production and profitability losses due to electricity shortages, reducing their earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) by an average of R110 million ($9.04 million) per year, Nomsa Muthaphuli, senior associate at Bryanston Resources, said.

Meanwhile, land transit and port traffic in southern Africa is set to rise exponentially in the coming decades, but not enough infrastructure construction is planned for the boom.

Mining commodity and steel trade with Africa faces numerous logistical challenges, Jean-Pierre Schoeman, key account manager at logistics provider Damco, told delegates.

Usiminas & Sudeste port
Mineração Usiminas, the mining arm of Brazilian flat steel producer Usiminas, announced on Monday June 22 that it has notified the Sudeste port of theimmediate termination of a port services contract signed in 2011.

“This termination is based, in summary, on [repeated breaches], by Sudeste port, of its obligation to complete the port and to put it into operation, which should have occurred by April 1, 2012,” Usiminas said.

Sudeste port told Steel First on the same day that it will go to arbitration to ensure that the contract with Usiminas is fulfilled.

The decision by Usiminas to terminate the contract was positively received by analysts.

Mineração Usiminas said that its iron ore production plans will not be affected by the termination of the shipping contract.

Trade policy
The Turkish steelmakers association, TÇÜD, has called on the government to take action to protect the country’s steel industry as it shrinks in the face of low-cost imports.

And Mexico’s largest integrated steelmaker, Altos Hornos de México (Ahmsa), has said it will cut more jobs and further reduce output if the government does not take action to fight unfair imports.

Australia has imposed anti-dumping duties on imports of wire rod in coils from Indonesia and Taiwan at rates of 10.1% and 2.7%, respectively.

The Australian Anti-Dumping Commission is proposing to terminate an anti-dumping investigation into flat steel galvanised imports from India and Vietnam.

The US Commerce Department has kicked off anti-dumping and countervailing duty probes against corrosion-resistant steel from China, India, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan.

Chinese ferrous scrap recyclers will benefit from a 30% rebate on value-added tax from July 1.

Around the world

China’s coking coal imports for May 2015 fell to their lowest monthly level since early 2009, when the country was still a net exporter of metallurgical coal.

This could be a starting point of a structural shift in the global coking coal market on the back of China’s slowing economic growth.

In Europe, Italian pipemaker Marcegaglia is redefining its group organisation to give the company a platform for growth, chairman and ceo Antonio Marcegaglia said in an exclusive interview with Steel First.

Meanwhile, Italian steelmaker Ilva may be moving towards to a complete production stoppage if the order to halt operations at the No2 blast furnace at its main site in Taranto, Italy, is confirmed.

And finally, we took at closer look at the shipbuilding sector in Europe, which isconcentrating on high-value, non-cargo vessels in an attempt to remain competitive against the growing numbers of ships produced in Asia, and, in particular, China.(Editor Vera Blei looks at the main news covered by Steel First over the past week)

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