Cerro Wire LLC introduces steel pulling grips for commercial building market

Cerro Wire LLC, a leading manufacturer of copper electrical building wire and cable, introduces a complete range of wire equipped with RectorSeal single-use steel pulling grips, the simple, reliable and durable single-use wire pulling tool that reduces set up time and lets you pull up to four times more wire per day. Pulling grips, ideal for the commercial building market, eliminate waste, saving time and money, especially on larger commercial jobs. Rated for use on THHN and XHHN wire, these steel pulling grips reduce total set up time for a 4-wire pull to less than 5 minutes. Eighteen sizes are available, ranging from 1 AWG to 750 MCM. Made with an extremely durable steel body, the pulling grips are far less likely to fail during an installation than a pulling grip made of aluminum. They also have a shorter body length which allows them to corner better, further reducing failure risk compared to other pulling grips.
The contractor can receive the wire with all three or four wire lengths on a paralleled reel, ready to pull. At the end of each wire is a steel lanyard, used to pull the wire through the conduit; lanyards are of staggered lengths to stagger the heads, making entry into the conduit and through nineties easier. To complete the pull, a contractor simply attaches his rope to the lanyard. After the pull is complete, the grips are simply cut off and are disposable. Mr Rick McDonald president of Cerrowire Electrical Distribution said , "No more taking hours of expensive labor just to prepare to pull wire by preparing pulling ends. Contractors using our pre-installed steel pulling grips will add significantly to their bottom line.”

NALCO union stands in way of Vedanta tie up

What would have been a win win situation, Nalco could have channelled its surplus alumina to Anil Agarwal's Vedanta Aluminium which is starved of the input to make aluminium and in the process improved its earnings as well. But severe resistance from the state owned company's employees' union, opposed to supplying to a private sector competitor, has prevented the management from taking a decision. Currently, Vedanta's 1 million tonne alumina plant at Lanjigarh in Orissa is operating at 50% capacity because it has to procure costly bauxite from Gujarat and Chhattisgarh as mining at Niyamgiri in Orissa has got bogged down due to tribal rights issues. About a year ago, Vedanta had proposed that Nalco to supply it the surplus, exportable alumina on which it was ready to pay a 5% to 10% premium over the export realization. By supplying alumina to Vedanta, Nalco would also have saved transportation and port handling charges of around USD 25 per tonne to USD 30 per tonne. However, under pressure from its employees' union, the state-owned undertaking has deferred a decision. Nalco sources confirmed having received such a proposal from Vedanta a year back but the union opposed it on the grounds that the latter being a competitor, could sell the finished product aluminium at lower prices in the market. The union even threatened to call a strike on the issue.

Helix Resources hits copper above electromagnetic conductor in NSW

Helix Resources has reported moderate copper assays from a reverse core hole drilled at the Caballero prospect In New South Wales to test an 800 meters copper in soil anomaly coincident with a 500 meter electromagnetic conductor. A substantial shareholder of Helix is Mark Creasy's Yandal Investments Pty Ltd with 10.3%. The best oxidised copper intersection was: 12 meters at 0.9% copper from 72 meters within a broader zone of 68 meters at 0.4% copper from 24 meters. Notably, as this zone overlies the conductor, it is thought to represent the oxidised portion of a copper-bearing massive sulphide system. The result is encouraging for Helix and highlights potential for a new copper system at the Caballero Prospect. Results for the remaining 28 metres of the hole and re-splits of the oxide copper mineralisation are pending. A second hole targeting copper sulphides in fresh rock is to be drilled below the current hole in the coming weeks.

Brazil primary aluminum output down 8pct in first 7 months

Brazil's primary aluminum output in the first seven months of 2013 reached 776,800t down 8.4% from 847,700 tonnes YoY. National aluminum association Abal said that primary aluminum production in July totaled 110,800t, an 8% decrease from 120,400t produced in the same month of 2012. Companies associated with Abal are CBA, part of local conglomerate Votorantim, US-based Alcoa, multinational resource group BHP Billiton and aluminum producers Albras and Novelis.

Government starts process to exit Hindustan Zinc and Balco

The government has started the process to sell its remaining stakes in the two metals companies Hindustan Zinc and Balco which could fetch it as much as INR 18,000 crore. The cabinet committee on economic affairs is expected to take up a proposal this week for change in regulations governing call and put options which is crucial for divestment in these companies. A senior finance ministry official said that next week, the CCEA is likely to clear stake sale in the two companies via an offer for sale or competitive bidding. A cabinet note has been already circulated for change in the call and put norms and is expected to be taken up in the coming week. The CCEA will subsequently take up the proposal for stake sale in HZL and Balco.
The Govt has started the process to sell its remaining stakes in Hindustan Zinc and Balco, which could fetch it as much as INR 18,000 crore. The government has budgeted INR 55,000 crore from stake sale this year, INR 40,000 crore from regular disinvestment and INR 15,000 crore from residual stake sale in some companies. The government holds a 29.5% in listed Hindustan Zinc, which is worth over INR 14,000 crore at current prices. The sale will lead to immediate flow of foreign capital that the government needs to finance its current account deficit pegged at USD 70 billion. Mr Anil Agarwal headed Vedanta owns 64.92 % in the company through Sterlite Opportunities & Ventures Limited. Government holds 49% in Aluminium Company Balco in which majority is again held by the Vedanta group. Vedanta had offered INR 17,000 crore to buy out the government but the government is keen to sell its residual stake through auction route hoping to get a better price in a transparent manner. Vedanta will also have an option to bid in the auction.

Classic Minerals intersects copper in Fraser Range

Classic Minerals Limited has completed stage one of an initial 5000 meter reverse circulation drilling program at its Fraser Range Project. The program covered 12 holes for around 170o meters drilled into 11 electromagnetic conductor targets with assays received for four holes. A 1 meter intersection from 103 meters at 1.95% copper with anomalous zinc, silver and lead was reported and is regarded as a possible stringer vein which may be associated with a larger mineralized zone nearby. Other assays anomalous for various minerals were also received. The Fraser Range tenement is in an area of highly metamorphosed rocks, with extensive shearing within the Albany Fraser Mobile Belt. The initial holes recorded mostly metagabbro with variable amounts of quartz. Gneissic rocks were also intersected, significant because these are similar to those at Sirius Resources' Nova, copper nickel deposit, located 40 kilometers South West. Samples from the remaining 8 holes have been sent to a laboratory for copper, zinc, silver, lead, nickel, cobalt, gold, tungsten, bismuth, molybdenum and arsenic analysis. Results are expected in within two weeks.

Falling copper prices source of worry – EAZ

Mr Ferdinand Chikambwe executive director of EAZ said that currently, copper prices on the international market are experiencing a downward trend which is posing an economic threat to Zambia that traditionally depends on copper exports to earn foreign revenue. Mr Chikambwe said, “Copper prices are always volatile, and predications are often wrong. So the safety play is to plan for low prices and decided what to do with any windfall once it has actually happened.” He said that the country's projected outlook for 2013 remains positive, but some risk factors hovering on the horizon are threatening to derail national progress. The fluctuating copper prices, fiscal pressures especially the pressure to increase the fiscal deficit due to high government spending and possible inflationary pressure resulting from high fuel and food prices, could have a negative effect on development. Mr Chikambwe said that the expected salary increment for the civil service is a potential inducement for demand pull inflation especially if suppliers of goods and services do not produce enough to meet the anticipated demand. Mr Chikambwe urged Government to share the data and analysis to support the announcement that in 2011 over 316,000 jobs have been created in various sectors. By doing so, Government can ease concerns of various stakeholders on the reality and sustainability of the said jobs. He said , “New jobs produce incomes for those who are employed in those jobs, as well as have a multiplier effect on the incomes and employment of those who produce goods and services for the new employees.” He added that creating jobs in the country is vital because those employed add to the aggregate demand of goods and services, thereby stimulating more production and wider distribution. The economy also benefits from infrastructure that may be developed through additional tax revenue collected by Government from the jobs created.

Labor conflicts looming over BHP Chilean operations and Codelco Salvador

A number of labor conflicts including the threat of strikes are currently looming over the operations of Chilean state copper producer Codelco's Salvador division and global resources giant BHP Billiton's Escondida and Pampa Norte units also in Chile. Mr Gustavo Tapia union representative said , “In the case of BHP's Pampa Norte, which includes Spence and Cerro Colorado copper mines, the workers met with management on August 27, when the company told them that a bonus in place since 2007 would not be given this year.” The union official said that the bonus, which in previous years reached up to CLP 2.5 million was paid based on the company's performance and given the lower than expected results, the company decided to cancel it this year. Despite the bonus setback, both parties agreed to hold new meetings to discuss a series of other grievances as well as the possibility of arranging a bonus based on productivity goals starting next year. Mr Tapia said that a new collective contract is expected to result from the discussions, despite the current contract having been signed some six months ago, as there are a number of pending issues including the disputed bonus.

UC Rusal to upgrade aluminium smelter in Krasnoyarsk

UC RUSAL announced USD 3 million project aimed at environmental modernization of the carbon area which includes production of anode paste at its Krasnoyarsk Aluminium Smelter. The engineering stage will be completed in 2013, and new equipment will be delivered to the production site in 2014. The APP upgrade project will result in a 10% reduction of nitric and carbonic oxide emissions, and it will also cut inorganic dust emissions by 20%. RUSAL raised the funding for the APP upgrade project after implementing an activity focused on reducing per fluorocarbon (PFC) emissions at KrAZ which was planned in line with Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. RUSAL also envisages to invest over USD 6 million in a project to improve sealing of its pitch storage tanks and furnaces at KrAZ and dramatically reduce benzapyrene and tar emissions during the anode paste production process. The project to reduce PFC emissions was launched at Krasnoyarsk Aluminium Smelter in 2006 which helped to cut PFC emissions by 35% from 2008 through 2012. RUSAL's partner on this project is Carbon Trade & Finance (a joint venture set up by Gazprombank and Commerzbank), which acted as the buyer of ERUs and supported various activities on the joint project. In 2010 KrAZ was among 58 bidders in the second carbon credits tender announced by Sberbank of Russia.

Landmark Chinese copper deal with Afghanistan at risk

A consortium of Chinese investors has demanded a review of a landmark USD 3 billion deal to produce copper in Afghanistan. The Ministry of Mines said that China Metallurgical Group CNMET.UL and Jiangxi Copper JXPROM.UL want new terms that would cut their royalties to the government, release them from building a power plant and copper smelter and postpone the laying of a railway.
A spokesman for the ministry said ,"The Afghan government is trying its best to negotiate with the company but contract conditions are clear and previously both sides have agreed about it.” The copper deposit is among the world's largest but is situated in a dangerous province and the site has often come under attack by insurgents, who have succeed in halting work on the mine by forcing workers to flee. Donors hope the largest foreign investment project in Afghan history will help wean it off international aid, which is expected to fall short of the amount needed to pay for its security forces and sustain economic growth. Integrity Watch Afghanistan said that renegotiating the deal, which was agreed in 2007, would dramatically reduce the benefit to Afghanistan and set a bad precedent for others seeking to invest in the already unpredictable country.
Mr Javed Noorani of IWA said , "The terms of the contract they want to renegotiate were the terms that made them the winners in the bidding process. The Chinese investors were seeking to cut royalty payments to the government by almost half to 10% as well as delay production to 2019.”

Minnesota first proposed copper mine in slow lane to approval

The environmental review of PolyMet's USD 600 million Minnesota copper mine will not be released until November 22nd 2013 representing yet another delay for the project that could bring hundreds of new jobs to the Iron Range. State and federal agencies have spent over three years on the mine's environmental impact statement during which time debate has raged over potential risks to the Partridge and St. Louis rivers. The first of potentially multiple public hearings are penciled in for January 2014 but no decisions have been made yet on how much time the public will get to digest the 1,800 page scientific document. Copper mining companies will keep an eye on the proceedings as the region in question from Hoyt Lakes up to the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is one of the largest copper nickel deposits remaining in the world.

Aluminum premiums in Japan said to retreat after US Slump

Aluminum buyers in Japan, Asia's biggest importer, will probably win their first reduction in three quarters for fees they pay to producers after premiums in the US and Europe slumped.
Three executives said that premiums for the three months starting in October are likely to fall to the lowest level of the year from this quarter's USD 249 per tonne to USD 251 per tonne over the London Metal Exchange cash price. According to Laredo, Texas based researcher Harbor Intelligence, the rates to obtain aluminum tumbled the most in 20 months in Europe last month and retreated from a record in the US as lawmakers and regulators scrutinized long waiting times to withdraw metal from warehouses.
The US premium slid to 11 cents a pound from 13 cents in June. Mr Naohiro Niimura a partner at research company Market Risk Advisory in Tokyo said, “The slump in overseas premiums will probably drag down Japanese fees next quarter as new regulation is taking a toll on metals transactions. Prime Minister Mr Shinzo Abe's push to end deflation in Japan may give producers some support in trying to resist cuts.”

Jamaica alumina production is on a rise

The Jamaican economy is expected to record growth ranging between 0.5% and 1.5% over the July to September quarter. Mr Colin Bullock DG of Planning Institute of Jamaica said , “The growth should be spurred by a number of factors including the continued rollout of several capital projects approved in the 2013 to 2014 budget. The gradual restoration of investor confidence, contingent on Jamaica passing of the first quarterly International Monetary Fund performance review, and continued global economic recovery will also drive economic activity.” Mr Bullock pointed to the anticipated return to positive performance for most industries reflecting resurgence in output following the impact of Hurricane Sandy. Meanwhile, mining and quarrying, and construction were the key performers during the April to June quarter, where the economy contracted by 0.4%. He said that mining and quarrying recorded growth of 5% while the building component of the construction sector grew by 1.5%. The figure for mining and quarrying reflected increased production of alumina as crude bauxite production declined. He added that alumina production increased by 8.6% reflecting an increase of 1.1 percentage points in the alumina capacity utilization rate, reflecting higher output from a major producer.

Northline wins freight contract for Rio Tinto Weipa bauxite mine

Northline has won a transport contract to move more than 5000 tonnes of freight annually for Rio Tinto's Weipa bauxite mine. According to the company the freight transported for the mine will be varied, with items moved including printer cartridges right through to capital pieces of equipment like earthmoving machinery. It will be transported from Northline's Cairns depot, where it will be then moved to the mine by a local barge contractor. Mr Craige Witton CEO of Northline said ,“The contract marks a new era for Northline as it realises the potential of its national network to support the supply of freight to remote locations. This new contract will utilise our full distribution network through which we're able to offer economies of scale and apply technologies to reduce costs and increase productivity for Rio Tinto.”

LME copper may drop to USD 7153

LME copper is biased to drop to USD 7,153 per tonne as it has approached the low of the neutral range of USD 7,255 to USD 7,420. The range is formed by the August 16 high and the 23.6% Fibonacci retracement on the rise from the July 30 low of USD 6,721 to this high.
Wave pattern suggests the progress of a downward wave c towards USD 7,153, the 38.2% retracement. A drop to USD 7,230 will confirm the break below the support at USD 7,255. Signals will turn very bullish, should the metal be suddenly pushed over USD 7,420.

Antofagasta profit declines 39pct after copper prices tumble

Antofagasta Plc of Chile H1 profit fell 39% after metal prices declined and costs rose. Net income slumped to USD 395 million from USD 646.1 million a year earlier. Sales dropped 12% to USD 2.78 billion. Copper producers have seen profit eroded by weakening metal prices and cost gains. Poland's KGHM Polska Miedz SA this month posted 56% drop in quarterly profit while Australia's OZ Minerals Limited and Kazakhmys Plc reported H1 losses. Antofagasta said that with new copper supply coming online during the remainder of this year and demand growth largely dependent on the economies of China and the United States, the pricing environment for copper is expected to remain challenging. The company sold its copper at USD 3.15 cents a pound, 16% lower than a year earlier while cash costs climbed 15 cents a pound to USD 1.76. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization fell 31% to USD 1.28 billion missing the USD 1.34 billion average estimate of seven analysts compiled by Bloomberg. Liberum Capital Limited said , “As a single geography, single commodity stock, Antofagasta does not usually throw up too many surprises and so there will be some disappointment in the results. The company fell 3.3% to 884.5 pence by the close of London trading, the steepest decline since August 15th 2013.”

Kazakhmys Plc updates on zinc production

The extraction of zinc metal in ore decreased by 21.7 kilo tonne compared to the H1 of 2012 due to lower grades and ore output from the Artemyevsky mine, the suspension of the high grade Nikolayevsky mine in 2012 and the suspension of the Abyz mine for stripping works in early 2013. During the H1 of 2013, 3.8 kilo tonne of zinc in ore was stockpiled at Akbastau whilst technical studies continue to determine whether it is economic to process the ore. Zinc in concentrate production was 8.5 kilo tonne below the H1 of 2012, with the lower volume of zinc in ore extracted only partially mitigated by the stockpiling of ore from the Abyz mine in the H1 of 2012. Kazakhmys mining's zinc in concentrate production volumes are on target to reach 125 kilo tonne in 2013.

Doosan Heavy wins USD 103 million desalination plant order from Chile

Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Company, a South Korea maker of power equipment signed USD 103 million contract to build a desalination plant in Chile. The facility will have capacity to produce 220,000 tonnes of water per day from mid 2016 for supply to the Escondida copper mine, the world's largest source of copper. Water produced at the plant near Chile's coastal city of Antofagasta will be piped 180 kilometers to the copper mine situated 3,000 meters above sea level. Doosan won the contract in competition with water facility builders including France's Degremont SA and Spain's Acciona SA.

GMDC and Nalco aluminium smelter put on back burner

The aluminium smelter project, part of Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation's ambitious INR 15,000 crore aluminium park in Kutch, Gujarat has been put on back burner as GMDC and its partner National Aluminium Company Limited are yet to finalize the terms and conditions for it. GMDC plans to set up 1 million tonne alumina refinery and a 5 million tonne aluminium smelter. But Nalco has been wary of the proposition with regard to smelter, as converting alumina into aluminium is very power intensive. Sources said that Nalco has expressed its concerns about setting up a smelter and had asked GMDC to arrange electricity at a rate of up to INR 2.2 per unit. If that works out, Nalco has expressed its willingness to invest in setting up the smelter as well. However, GMDC officials maintained that once alumina refinery is set up, smelter project will be taken up after period of 3 to 4 years. The entire project would be executed in phases and in first phase the alumina refinery will be set up with an investment of INR 4,400 crore. They said that in Phase I we have decided to set up the alumina refinery in partnership with Nalco. The smelter will take some more time as things are not yet finalized between the two companies in this regard. Earlier, GMDC had chalked out plan to set up alumina refinery and aluminium smelter having capacity of 5 million tonnes. But both companies could not arrive at a consensus on both parts of the project involving investment of nearly INR 15,000 crore. A GMDC official maintained that the project proposal for the alumina refinery is pending for approval from the board of directors of Nalco. The proposal for the project is with the board of directors of Nalco. They have to take the investment decision. Once they clear the project, then things will start moving forward. Source said that both the boards have given their consent for 80 per cent of the clauses of the project agreements. GMDC has asked Nalco for around 26% equity share for the INR 4,400 crore refinery project.

Indian aluminium up on overseas trend

Indian aluminium prices edged up by 0.71% to INR 120.20 per kilogram in futures trade as participants engaged in enlarging positions, supported by a firming Asian trend. Further better demand in the spot markets also influenced metal prices. At the Multi Commodity Exchange, aluminium for delivery in August traded up by 85 paise or 0.71% to INR 120.20 per kilogram in business turnover of 230 lots. Likewise, aluminium for delivery in September traded higher by 45 paise, or 0.54% to INR 121.15 per kilogram in 54 lots. Marketmen said that apart from increased domestic demand, a firming trend in base metals at the Shanghai Futures Exchange amid speculation that the Federal Reserve may hold off on curbing stimulus measures in September, supported the upside in aluminium prices at futures trade.

Rio Tinto invests in French aluminium plant to cut power costs

Rio Tinto has invested around EUR 80 million in its Dunkirk aluminium plant in last 18months and further plans to invest more in next five years on energy saving and efficiency improvements. Being the largest plant in the European Union with a production of 260,000 tonnes seaside Dunkirk is the biggest single point user of electricity in France consuming 485 MW per hour.
As 25years contract between Rio Tinto and French utility EDF will expires in 2016 its electricity bill which adds up to 23% of production costs could rise as much as 80% from 2017 as contract prices catch up hence the company is investing heavily to improve efficiency
Plant director Colin McGibbon of Rio Tinto said, “The firm's main challenge is to avoid this increase but we confident about reaching a deal with EDF. We need an energy agreement that gives us sufficient visibility and value so that we can keep investing here. We think that is achievable”.