Need of a supportive environment for the growth..
    Die Casting Plays Pivotal Role in Metal Industry

Airslip Billet Plant for Secondary Aluminium.......

India Presents A Huge Market for Mining Industry
M&MT 2011 - Ended on a high note
Electrotherm (India) Ltd.
Inductotherm Group
Eldigi Measurematics
ABP Induction Systems P. Ltd.
Hooseini Metal Rolling Mill
Pioneer Group of Industries
Tamra Dhatu Udyog P. Ltd.
G-Tech Engg. Foundry Co.
Metal Power  (I) Pvt. Ltd.
Asian Metallurgy 2011


Ventanas smelter to commence operation

A Chilean court suspended an order to halt world No. 1 copper producer Codelco's Ventanas smelter following an environmental incident. State-owned Codelco, which was preparing to halt its Ventanas smelter, which produced nearly 385,000 tonnes of copper cathodes in 2009, had no immediate comment on the court's new decision. The Ventanas smelter was halted for planned maintenance this month, but belched acrid smoke when one of the ovens was restarted, prompting a complaint by nearby residents and the evacuation of a local school. Codelco said that the court closure order was unjustified. The plant had been operating normally since resuming operations on March 24, following the maintenance. Energy and Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said earlier Codelco must take steps to avoid a repeat of the environmental incident.

Battery demand to boost lead

Lead will be the first base metal to benefit when Japan starts buying the materials it needs to rebuild, as hospitals and businesses turn to battery-powered electricity because of badly damaged nuclear plants. Restoring power is a pressing need after a natural disaster. In Japan the task is particularly daunting because the earthquake damaged nuclear reactors, which meet almost a third of the country's electricity demand. Because of the widespread power disruptions, there will be a big increase in batteries for back-up generators for power stations and telecommunications and hospitals. This use of back-up power will also quickly run down batteries and increase the demand for their replacement. Replacement batteries account for about 40 percent of lead demand, original equipment about 9 percent and industrial batteries, like back-up generators, about 29 percent. Last year, Japan accounted for 2.3 percent of global lead consumption. Lead is the one metal that will unambiguously benefit from the earthquake, with the need for back-up power. Utilities and emergency services as well as businesses need to have battery-powered back up power supply, so lead demand should rise. In January, the global lead market was expected to move into a deficit this year as demand for batteries picks up, partly because of car production growth. Longer term copper and aluminium demand is expected to rise as the country replaces power lines, as well as steel used in infrastructure and building. Zinc and nickel, used in galvanizing steel, will follow closely behind. Copper and zinc are expected to be the principal beneficiaries of a recovery in Japanese demand, followed by nickel and then aluminium. Industrial metals markets will likely experience a sharp correction in demand followed by a significant recovery during rebuild. Japan accounted for about 5 percent of global copper and aluminium demand last year. Some of the world's top auto makers in Japan were forced to halt production, but when they restart, demand for metals like aluminium will increase. A large number of cars were also damaged or destroyed, and while some scrap will be retrieved, most will have to be replaced. Deutsche Bank expects a quarter or so of weak metal demand in Japan, which will then be offset by a sharp increase.

Collahuasi mine lifts force majeure

Chile's Collahuasi, the world's No. 3 copper mine, lifted a force majeure on copper concentrate exports imposed after an accident at its key sea terminal in December. Collahuasi, jointly owned by Anglo American and Xstrata, said it had gradually normalized concentrate exports using alternative export routes, and hoped to complete repairs to the damaged ship loader at its Patache port during the second quarter. The sales disruption at Collahuasi, which produces about 3.3 percent of the world's mined copper or 535,000 tonnes annually, helped drive copper prices to new highs and highlighted the vulnerabilities of the industry in the world's top producer. Collahuasi declared force majeure, a contract clause that frees it of liability on shipment delays, on December 20. Some shipments were delayed, but none were canceled. The current schedule for repairs at Patache Port is targeting completion during the second quarter. The mine has been selling its copper via alternative ports. To date, Collahuasi has applied a contingency plan which has enabled the company to gradually normalize exports of copper concentrate through the Ports of Arica, Iquique and Antofagasta.

Excise levy to hit Indian aluminium utensil makers

Imposition of excise duty on utensils has not augured well for the utensil manufacturers in the region, with the industry being befuddled over the decision. Federation of All India Aluminium Utensil manufacturers President Bharat Garg maintained, levying of 1 per cent Excise duty on aluminium has left the industry confused. In the Union budget 2011-12, of the 370 items which were exempted from Central Excise Duty but chargeable to Value Added Tax, 130 items have been brought less than 1 per cent Excise duty. Representatives from the aluminium utensil industry are not impressed with inclusion of utensils under the Excise ambit. Garg said, earlier the compounding levy scheme was followed in utensil manufacturing whereby fixed amount (depending on number of machines installed) were being charged upon. Now with the 1 per cent excise duty imposed, it has led to further chaos. The imposition of excise duty suggests exemption up to 15 million of sales are allowed for in the industry but with the compounding levy scheme also in place, this would lead to further chaos with regards to how the utensil industry could claim the benefits. Members of Aluminium Utensil Manufacturing Association Jagadhri (Haryana) also maintained, while 370 items as mentioned in the budget speech are taxable under VAT, prejudice should not have been done with select items. Aluminium Utensil Manufacturing Association member Tarun Goyal maintained the imposition of 1 per cent Excise duty on utensils was certainly an unfortunate decision. He added since utensils also come under the necessity category, due care ought to be taken to exempt the item from Excise. The imposition of Excise duty would have a definite impact on the prices of utensils as well, which are likely to firm up in the long run. Goyal demanded that since utensils are necessary, the 1 per cent Excise duty should be removed from the utensils.

Minera Andes to spin off Argentina subsidiary

Minera Andes plans to spin out its Los Azules copper project in Argentina into a new publicly traded company. The Toronto-based exploration company said the move will let it unlock value from Los Azules and allow it to focus on developing its San Jose gold-copper project, which is located in the vicinity of Goldcorp's recently acquired Cerro Negro project in Argentina. Minera Andes is headed by Rob McEwen, who was the founder and former chairman of Goldcorp, the world's second largest gold miner by market capitalization. McEwen, who also heads other junior mining companies, owns about 31 percent of Minera Andes. The company said that based on its preliminary assessment, the Los Azules project could produce about 375 million pounds of copper annually over a 25-year mine life. The project is expected to cost roughly $2.9 billion to build. Under the terms of the spin-out offer, shareholders of Minera Andes will retain their common shares in Minera Andes and will be entitled to receive one common share of the new company for every share of Minera Andes held.

Copper mine output capacity to surpass 24 million by 2014

Annual copper mine production capacity is expected to reach 24.1 million tonnes in 2014, rising at an average rate of 4.9 percent a year in the 2011 to 2014 period, the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) said. In part, owing to delays in the development of projects originally slated to come on stream earlier, 71 percent of this growth (almost 3 Mt) is expected to occur in 2013-2014, especially in the case of concentrates. Of the total mine production capacity increase, copper in concentrate capacity is expected to grow by 3.5 million tonnes or 5.2 percent a year to reach 18.9 million tonnes and solvent extraction-electro winning (SX-EW) production capacity by 675,000 tonnes or 3.6 percent a year to reach 5.1 million tonnes. Meanwhile, annual smelter capacity growth is expected to lag behind the growth in concentrates, growing by an average of only 3.0 percent a year to reach 20.6 million tonnes in 2014, an increase of 2.3 million tonnes from 2010. The ICSG also predicts world copper refinery capacity will reach 27.5 million tonnes in 2014, up 3.6 million tonnes or 15 percent from 2010. About 2.9 million tonnes of the expansion is expected to come from electrolytic refineries and 675,000 tonnes from electro winning capacity. More than one half (2.0 million tonnes) of the world refinery capacity increase during the period is expected to come from electrolytic refineries in China. About 30 percent or 1.1 million tonnes will come from electrolytic capacity increases in India, Indonesia, Iran and Kazakhstan. About 16 percent, or 570,000 tonnes, will be from electro winning capacity increases in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Peru and Zambia. Most of the new mine projects and expansions are located in Brazil, Chile, China, DRC, Mongolia, Peru, the United States and Zambia. Together these countries account for around 3.1 million tonnes, or 76 percent of the projected mine capacity increase during this period.

Hindalco raises Rs 7,875 cr loan for smelter unit in MP

Aluminium major Hindalco Industries raised Rs 7,875 crore as loans for its 3.59 lakh tonnes per annum aluminium smelter project in Mahan of Madhya Pradesh. The company has successfully achieved financial closure of the Mahan project with the signing of common rupee loan agreement for Rs 7,875 crore on March 30. The plant is being developed at a cost of Rs 10,500 crore and the loans arranged cover entire debt requirement for the project. It added that Royal Bank of Scotland N.V and Kotak Mahindra Bank acted as lead arrangers for the loan, while 31 banks and insurance companies participated in the syndication. The Mahan plant of Hindalco will have a smelting capacity of 359,000 metric tonnes a year and the company will also generate 900 MW captive power from the project. Hindalco is currently in various stages of construction of four aluminium smelting and one refining plant, apart from expansion of capacity at its existing facilities.

Nalco to set up carbon reduction unit at CPP

State-owned National Aluminium Company plans to set up a carbon absorption unit at its coal-fired Captive Power Plant (CPP) at Angul to reduce carbon emission and get carbon credits. The company has earmarked 0.18 acre of land for the carbon sequestration project, which is expected to be completed within 18 months, said a company release. The company, however, did not mention the total cost of the project. Carbon sequestration is a method to manage and store carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere by burning carbon-based fuels. In this method, a battery of systems is introduced to the gas emitting chimneys and the gas is then modified to suit algae cultivation. Algae, unlike plants, need higher carbon concentration to grow. The algae so produced can be used for production of bio-fuel, poultry & cattle feed, aquaculture feed, pharmaceutical products and a kind of organic fuel having high calorific value. The company also aims to generate revenue by implementing the project. By successfully implementing this project, Nalco can avail the benefit of carbon credits under Clean Development Mechanism. Carbon credits are certificates that are awarded to groups or institutions that have significantly reduced their carbon emissions. The carbon credit holders can use the permit or can sell it to other industries that emit more carbon than permissible limit.

    Nickel Asia shipments surge 97% to P1.97 B in first quarter on robust demand

Nickel Asia Corp. said the value of its nickel ore shipments in the first quarter surged 97 percent to P1.97 billion on the back of robust demand and higher nickel prices. In a filing with securities regulators, Nickel Asia said it sold an aggregate 1.4 million wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore from its Rio Tuba and Taganito mines, up eight percent from 1.3 million WMT a year earlier. The Rio Tuba mine shipped and delivered 396,000 WMT of saprolite ore and 826,000 WMT of limonite ore while the Taganito mine shipped a total of 203,000 MWT of saprolite ore. The average exchange rate for January to March 2011 was P43.79 to the dollar. In terms of price, the estimated realized nickel price applicable to one million WMT of ore shipped in the first quarter was at an average of $11.61 per pound of payable nickel as against $8.64 per pound during the same period last year. The balance of the shipments was sold on the basis of negotiated prices per WMT of ore, which averaged $18.69 per WMT of ore compared to $13.51 per WMT for the same period. The company's ore shipments are expected to grow further as two other mines – Hinatuan and Cagdianao – will start shipments within the month.
To date, the company has so far executed contracts with various customers for the delivery of 6.6 million WMT of saprolite and limonite ore .for the current year. This is apart from the estimated 2.9 million WMT of limonite ore expected to be delivered to the Coral Bay nickel processing plant this year. Last year, Nickel Asia's shipments reached 8.3 million WMT. Nickel Asia posted a net income of P1.48 billion last year, more than three times the P302.9-million profit recorded in 2009. On a per share basis, net income was P1.10 compared with only P0.32 the previous year. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) jumped 138 percent to P4.26 billion from P1.79 billion. Revenues jumped 78 percent to P8.34 billion as total volume of nickel ore sold and delivered from the company's four operating mines reached a record 8.34 million WMT as against 6.46 million WMT in 2009.

Blackthorn Resources JV hits more copper at Mumbwa in Zambia

Blackthorn Resources continues to see potential for the advancement of the Mumbwa joint venture in Zambia, after the last five drill holes of the phase four program hit copper. Blackthorn holds a 60% interest, with BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) 40%. These final assays from a 14,548 meter drill program included; 14 meters at 0.93% copper from 370 meters, 4 meters at 0.79% copper from 510 meters and 2 meters at 0.63% copper between 354 meters. The program drilled 15 targets along the Mushingashi-Mutoya anomaly which trends for over 20 kilometers. Scott Lowe, managing director of Blackthorn, said “Receipt of the final set of assay results now completes the outstanding work from the Phase 4 exploration program.”It is important to note that the scale of exploration during Phase 4 was very broad with drill holes spaced in some cases 2,000m or further apart and covering a very large area of the Mumbwa tenement." Adding the potential of more copper hits, there are still a number of other untested anomalies within the Mumbwa tenement. In addition to the testing of these targets, Blackthorn said further exploration at Kitumba has the potential to boost confidence levels for the mineral resource status, as well as improvements to the grade and volume of the inferred mineral resource. Lowe added on the joint venture, "BHP Billiton may or may not elect to continue participation in the project.”However, irrespective of BHP Billiton's decision, we see a very positive role for Mumbwa within the Company's asset portfolio.” Mumbwa is located in the central province of Zambia, with exploration focusing on the IOCG style of mineralization.

    Korea Resources Corp to list fund resources overseas

State-run Korea Resources Corp (KORES) said it was seeking to list its Canadian, South African and Australian units to fund resources acquisitions overseas. KORES is leading South Korea's drive to boost self-sufficiency of key mineral resources such as iron ore, coking coal, copper, and rare metals to feed its manufacturing-based economy, ranked Asia's fourth-largest. The company is very much interested in expanding into the southern hemisphere around the three major pillars of South America for copper, Australia for coal and Africa for rare metals, KORES president Kim Shin-jong said. Kim said it was aiming to secure 200,000 tonnes of copper output annually from mines in six South American countries and to list the assets on the Toronto stock market within five years. KORES is also developing 11 coal projects and aims to list them in Sydney, while it wants to take its around six African projects, including ventures for rare metals such as cobalt and chrome, public in Johannesburg. Kim made the comments in Madagascar where its Ambatovy nickel project is due to start test production later this year with a target of raising annual output to 60,000 tonnes from 2013. A KORES-led Korean consortium owns a 27.5 percent stake in the project and South Korea plans to bring 30,000 tonnes of the metal home annually through a 15-year contract, meeting a quarter of its annual nickel consumption. KORES estimated the project will boost the country's self-sufficiency of the metal to 61.8 percent in 2013 from 36.8 percent in 2010. Toronto-based diversified miner Sherritt International is developing the $5.3 billion project in partnership with KORES, Japan's Sumitomo Corp and SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. KORES estimated that the project will generate $1.8 billion of revenue annually, or $1 billion in pre-tax distributable earnings. The Korean consortium is likely to recoup its $900 million investment in four years, Kim said.

    Bans prompt Philippine govt for compensation bill

The Philippines' mining industry is concerned about an increasing number of provincial bans on that are stopping approved projects, and said the government could be left to foot a hefty compensation bill. South Cotabato's ban on open-pit mining has put at risk the country's largest mining project, the $5.9 billion Tampakan copper-gold project, run by global miner Xstrata Plc's, even though the ban conflicts with the national mining law. Resolutions declaring a moratorium on mining have been issued by local governments in seven other provinces. The provinces cite environmental factors as behind their decisions. There is not one country that is mineralized that has ever put a stop on its mining industry. We are coming dangerously close to being the first, said Nickel Asia president Gerard Brimo. The Philippines, with mineral deposits estimated to be worth $1 trillion, hopes to attract foreign investment into mining to create jobs and boost growth. Manila is hoping about $1 billion of investments will enter the sector this year. But instead of attracting funds, Benjamin Philip Romualdez, president of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, said the government could instead find itself facing compensation claims. Xstrata and its partner, Indophil Resources NL, could seek reimbursement of their initial investments in Tampakan - estimated to have reached $200 million - from the government if the project is cancelled. South Cotabato Governor Arthur Pingoy said that he was still pushing for a review of the code banning open-pit mining that was put in place by his predecessor, even after he signed formal rules fot its implementation. The ban also poses a threat to the coal mining operations of Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp in the province. Production at Tampakan is scheduled to start in 2016, with the largest undeveloped copper-gold prospect in Southeast Asia estimated to contain 13.5 million tonnes of copper and 15.8 million ounces of gold at a 0.3 percent cut-off grade.

Vedanta posts record zinc, aluminium output in Q4

Indian-focused miner Vedanta Plc saw record aluminium production in its fourth quarter and a 29 percent jump in refined zinc from its Indian operations, helping it take advantage of rising metal prices. Output of refined zinc, the group's most profitable product, was 194,000 tonnes in the fourth quarter ended March 2011 from its Indian mines, with production at its Skorpion Zinc mine in Namibia totaling 37,000 tonnes in the three months. Fourth-quarter production of saleable iron ore, its second most profitable product, was hit by a ban on shipments from the Indian state of Karnataka. Production fell 21 percent to 5.5 million tonnes. India's top court earlier this week lifted the ban on iron ore shipments from the southern state. Aluminium output in the fourth quarter rose 7 percent to 170,000 tonnes. Vedanta is still awaiting Indian approval for the long-delayed purchase of Cairn Energy's (CNE.L) Cairn India unit (CAIL.BO). The Indian government had been expected to reach a decision, but instead referred the matter to a panel for further review. The two companies have extended the date by which all conditions may be completed or waived to May 20.

Copper Climbs to Two-Week High in New York Amid Supply Concerns

Copper rose to the highest in almost two weeks on signs that demand will outstrip mine output. Usage in China, the world's biggest consumer, and other emerging markets will gain faster than production, spurring a global deficit, according to Rio Tinto Group. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. said this week it's “very confident” about Chinese demand, even as the country raises interest rates. Prices jumped 23 percent in the past year, touching a record in February. “We are having a supply issue with the metal,” said Bart Melek, an analyst at TD Securities in Toronto. “We continue to see Chinese authorities to be fairly benign in the way they attack monetary policy.” Copper futures for May delivery advanced 4.65 cents, or 1.1 percent, to settle at $4.4165 a pound at 1:25 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after touching $4.437, the highest since March 25. Prices climbed to a record $4.6575 on Feb. 15. Consumption may outpace output this year by as much as 500,000 metric tons, Andrew Harding, head of Rio's copper business, said in an interview.

German Al packaging production up 14pc

The aluminium packaging manufacturers in Germany have recovered from the economic crisis more quickly and better than expected in 2010, according to a report by the GDA, the federation of the aluminium producing and processing industry in Germany. Packaging, based on or including aluminium, recorded a 13.6% hike in growth in 2010 with 405,100 mt of aluminium foil, tubes, flexible packaging, and aerosol and beverage cans produce, up from 356,600 mt in 2009. GDA executive director Stefan Glimm said, "In terms of production we have almost reached the level we were at before the financial crisis." Strong demand came from the most important markets for aluminium packaging - cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and food industries. "Our sector is expecting stable development at a high volume level in 2011 similar to the general economic forecasts," said Glimm. But rising prices for raw materials such as plastics and higher operating and energy costs are squeezing margins, he added. Besides an upturn in domestic demand, the German market also experienced strong export demand in 2010. Export sales account for about 70% of the turnover of the companies in the sector.

HZL to contribute Rs 2,400 cr to Exchequer

The Vedanta Group firm Hindustan Zinc said that its contribution to the exchequer is likely to go up by 27.3 per cent over the last fiscal to over Rs 2,400 crore in current fiscal During the last fiscal, the company had contributed Rs 1,888 crore to the state coffer through various taxes. "There has been a steep rise in the income tax and dividend tax since last fiscal, from Rs 860 crore in FY10 to Rs 1,122 by FY11 (estimated), a clear increase of 31%. Rajasthan would also be getting a higher royalty of Rs 687 crore in FY11 (estimated) as compared to Rs 587 crore in FY10," the company said in a release. "In terms of excise and customs duty, the contribution of Hindustan Zinc would also rise to Rs 383 crore (estimated) from Rs 280 crore in the last financial year. There would also be increase in the sales tax and other taxes contribution from Rs 161 crore to Rs 212 crore this financial year (estimated)," it added. Hindustan Zinc, acquired by Anil Agarwal-led Sterlite Industries in 2002, has seen a five-fold increase in metal production to around 1 million tonne now.

OMC seek Niyamgiri relief in the Supreme Court

The public sector mining major Orissa Mining Corporation which signed an agreement to sell bauxite to Vedanta Aluminium, has moved to the Supreme Court seeking relief over the High Court ban on mining bauxite at Niyamgiri hills. Contrary to the claims of Orissa steel and mines minister that Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) would follow the state government to file a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Union ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) cancelling the Stage-II forest clearance for bauxite mining at Niyamgiri hills, VAL has clarified that it has no locus standii to undertake such a move. Legally, we have no role to play on the issue. The mining lease at Niyamgiri belongs to the Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) and we have only an agreement with the corporation for getting bauxite. VAL has no locus standii to file a petition in the Supreme Court as the order of MoEF was against OMC and not VAL, Mukesh Kumar, president and chief operating officer of VAL said. This has put to rest all speculation on the company filing a petition in the apex court on the issue. Meanwhile, the OMC has filed a petition in the Supreme Court, contesting the order of MoEF on cancellation of Stage-II forest clearance. OMC had complied with all the conditions of MoEF on Stage-I clearance and there was no justification on the part of the ministry to cancel Stage-II forest clearance for bauxite mining at Niyamgiri hills. After the environment ministry had canceled the Stage-II forest clearance, we had requested the ministry to reconsider the order but we did not get any response even after two months. Consequently, OMC has filed a petition in the Supreme Court”, Raghunath Mohanty, state minister for industries and steel & mines told media persons. He added that VAL would follow OMC's steps and file a petition in the apex court in this regard soon.

Rusal Plc's profit beats forecast

Russia's United Company Rusal Plc , the world's top aluminium maker, said that its net profit in 2010 more than tripled, beating forecasts, and expects strong global demand for the light metal to continue this year. The emerging markets of China, Brazil, India and Russia will be driving the growth of aluminium consumption in 2011, Rusal said in a statement. Demand in China, the world's largest producer and consumer of aluminium, is expected to rise 12 percent this year, higher than an estimated 8 percent increase in global consumption. Higher aluminium prices lifted Rusal's adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in 2010 by 336 percent to $2.6 billion, largely in line with a consensus $2.62 billion earlier. Rusal posted a net profit of $2.87 billion last year, up from $821 million in 2009 and against an average forecast of $1.96 billion. For the fourth quarter, it made a profit of $1.45 billion, down from $1.65 billion for the October to December period in 2009, based on calculation from full year data. Rusal, also listed in Paris, said the average aluminium price on the London Metal Exchange rose 30.3 percent last year from 2009 and the average price of alumina, the key material for aluminium production, also gained 36.5 last year. Increasing demand amid an economic recovery around the globe is expected to support prices of aluminium, which is widely used in the transport, packaging and building sectors. The Russian firm forecast aluminium prices to continue to trade at the $2,500-2,600 level throughout 2011. However, rival Aluminum Corp of China Ltd (Chalco), which returned to the black in the fourth quarter, cautioned earlier this month that the sector faced headwinds in China from high costs and excess capacity. Rusal planned to increase aluminium output by 2 percent in 2011 and lift alumina production by 8 percent. Analysts said net income was volatile because of the impact from the revaluation of its 25 percent stake in metals producer Norilsk Nickel. The market value of RUSAL's stake in Norilsk Nickel increased by 66.8 percent in 2010 to $11.12 billion.

Sumitomo Metal's H1 output to decline 24%

Sumitomo Metal Mining Co plans to produce 155,000 tonnes of copper in the first half of the 2011-12 fiscal year (April – March), down 24 percent from the preceding six months due to plant maintenance that will start in September. The company said it had produced 203,782 tonnes in the October-March period, slightly above its plan for 202,000 tonnes. Sumitomo Metal Mining also said it planned to produce 199,000 tonnes of copper in the second half of the fiscal year, with total output for the year planned at 354,000 tonnes, down about 12 percent from the year before. The company plans 60 days of maintenance at its mainstay Toyo plant in Ehime Prefecture, starting on Sep. 13. Sumitomo Metal Mining is the only copper smelter among Japan's top three whose production facility was unscathed by a devastating quake, but it is bracing for a long period of plant maintenance in September. Rivals Pan Pacific Co and Mitsubishi Materials Co have suspended part of their operations in the aftermath of the magnitude 9.0 quake and subsequent tsunami on March 11, and said they would delay announcing their first-half copper production plans.

BAMCO Introduces New Line of Aluminum Composite Panels

Pioneer in the development and production of composite metal panels, BAMCO has unveiled its aluminum composite panel portfolio called FABLOGIC. The products are marked as 'The Composite Metal Expert'. The FABLOGIC portfolio comprises numerous models of aluminum composite panels that are produced utilizing Lean production standards. The products can be tailored for shape, finish and color. They fulfill LEED and ASTM specifications to assure sustainability and quality. Allan Pasternak, co-founder of BAMCO, stated that the company is happy to introduce the FABLOGIC portfolio to its customers.
The FABLOGIC's C-500 is produced using a rout-and-return process. It comes with a silicone caulk joint. The G-500 utilizes entire-length interlinking perimeter extrusions and recessed hard silicone gasket joinery. The lightweight D-500 utilizes rain screen technology and requires less maintenance. It can be produced in intricate curves and shapes. The I-500 is the latest generation system in the FABLOGIC portfolio. It utilizes internal gaskets to offer a complete climate-sealed system with an aesthetic appeal of rain screen or open joint system. The FABLOGIC panels can be insulated at the back and can be fixed over different substrates. The portfolio includes 6- or 4-mm composite panels with widths up to 5' and lengths up to 24'. The panels feature FR core material that fulfills the specifications of NFPA 285 multi-story fire testing according to IBC 2009.

Brazil to triple metals production by 2030

Brazil's booming mining sector will more than triple output of iron ore, copper and gold by 2030, according to a government plan released. The plan also noted that the sector should boost local processing of minerals and be wary of excessive dependence on China.
The broad 20 year plan which foresees investments of around USD 270 billion during the next 20 years highlights growing concern in Brazil that its commodities heavy economy is not creating enough jobs and is subject to the whims of the Asian giant. Mr Edison Lobao minister for mines and energy of Brazil said at the launch of the plan in Brasilia that it is clear there is a need for change in the management of our mineral resources. The document said that Brazil is entering a phase of reverse specialization or increased exports of raw, unprocessed minerals with an ever smaller proportion undergoing local processing before shipment.

Novelis expands German Al recycling

Novelis Inc, the foreign subsidiary of Aditya Birla group's metals flagship company Hindalco, announced the investment of $18 million in the construction of a new recycling center at Aluminium Norf GmbH (Alunorf) in western Germany. The company is the world's largest producer of rolled aluminium and a global leader in aluminium recycling. Construction has started on a multi-chamber melting furnace and ancillary equipment that will recycle 50,000 metric tonne of aluminium scrap per year to feed the rolling mills of Alunorf, the world's largest aluminium rolling complex. Located near Neuss, Germany, Alunorf is a joint venture of Novelis and Norsk Hydro ASA. The Novelis recycling center will process aluminium scrap from Novelis plants as well as from the manufacturing facilities of customers across Europe. It is the second phase of a recycling expansion project at Alunorf that began in 2009 with the construction of a similar recycling facility funded by the joint venture partner, Norsk Hydro. The combined capacity of the integrated recycling operations will be 100,000 metric tonne per year when the Novelis facility comes on-stream in late 2011.
"Recycling is a key component of the Novelis sustainability strategy," said Tadeu Nardocci, president of Novelis Europe and senior vice-president of Novelis Inc. "Such investments deliver environmental benefits while providing an important source of metal for Novelis.”

China collateral copper stock build threatens bull run

While 2011 could prove to be the best year ever for copper prices, the specter of rising stocks in top consumer China as collateral for investments threatens to spoil the party. Codelco, sounded a warning shot at the CESCO copper industry gathering in Santiago, saying copper stocks in China were abnormally high and needed to be watched carefully. "It's not normal. There is something going on," Codelco CEO Diego Hernandez told reporters. "Stocks are high and some people believe the stocks are being used as a financing tool."The level of stocks is not particularly high compared to historical levels, but it's a concern." Non-mining companies in China have been buying copper to use as collateral for loans, analysts say. There are some 600,000 tonnes of copper sitting in bonded warehouses in Shanghai and another 100,000 tonnes in China's southern ports. That represents around 4.4 percent of world mined copper output of about 15.8 million tonnes a year, according to data from the Chilean government. But it is the scale of the stock build, 300,000 tonnes since the start of this year that has triggered jitters. Still, Codelco's Hernandez agrees with most market players in predicting an acute supply shortage this year that will keep prices high.
He added that Codelco had no insight on whether Chinese companies had started to sell stocks to cash in on prices, which have pulled back in recent weeks after hitting new life highs in February. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange CMCU3 closed at $9,330 a tonne, off a session high of $9,475 and versus a last bid at $9,359, when it touched a two-week intraday low. However, Charlie Sartain, CEO of Xstrata Copper sees signs some de-stocking has started. "Underlying demand in China is still there. There has been some significant stockpiling, which has been progressively drawn down," Sartain told. "They have been doing this because it is difficult to get financing through traditional means. What they would do is buy copper with letters of credit -- get delivery now but pay later," said Nikos Kavalis, a senior analyst at London-based consultancy GFMS, who met Chinese copper product fabricators in mid-March. "February import data shows a decline; so it seems that some of this (financing) activity has declined now. If it drops even more it could hit the market, but at the end of the day China is growing strongly.”

Hindalco Industriesgets financial closure for MP aluminium project

The city-based aluminium manufacture company Hindalco Industries Ltd, has secured the financial closure for the greenfield aluminium smelter project in Madhya Pradesh (Mahan Project). With a capacity of 359,000 TPA of aluminium supported by 900 MW captive power plant, the total cost of the project is Rs 10,500 cr. The company has signed the common rupee loan agreement for Rs 7,875 crore, which constitutes the entire debt requirement of the project. The mandated lead arrangers are, SBI Capital Markets Ltd, Citi Bank N.A., The Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. and 31 bank / insurance companies participated in the syndication.

NALCO registers high output, sales during FY 2010-11

The National Aluminium Company (NALCO) has said that the company has registered high output and sales levels during the financial year (FY) 2010-11 as compared to the total production and sales registered by the company during the financial year 2009-10. NALCO has produced 443,597 tonnes of cast metal during FY 2010-11 as against the cast metal production of 431,488 tonnes, reported by the company during the FY 2009-10. NALCO's alumina hydrate production stood at 15.56 lakh tonnes, while its bauxite output stood at total 48.24 lakh tonnes, during the financial year 2010-11. The captive power unit of NALCO has generated around 6,608 million units of power during FY 2010-11 as compared to 6,293 million units of power generated by this power plant during the FY 2009-10. NALCO has also reported high annual sales of 438,952 tonnes of metal during the financial year 2010-11 as against 435,979 tonnes of metal sales, reported by the company during the financial year 2009-10.

Hindustan Copper to extend its capacity to 12.41 mtpa by 2016-17

Hindustan Copper has made a formal announcement declaring its plans to increase its production capacity in copper ore to 12.41 million tons per annum in coming six-seven years. The state-run company would be investing a huge amount of Rs 3,677 crore to accomplish the same. "The company has prepared an ambitious expansion plan to expand capacity of 3.21 million tonne to 12.41 million tonne at an estimated cost of Rs 3,677 crore, which would be funded from internal resources, fresh issue of shares and debt," said, the Ministry of Mines in its proposed budget 2011-12.

Falcon Minerals targets nickel, copper & platinum at Collurabbie

Falcon Minerals has targeted nickel, copper and platinum at the company's wholly-owned Collurabbie Nickel-Copper-PGE Project in Western Australia. The company plans to drill 10 diamond drill holes over 4,000 meters several targets at the Spartacus Prospect, and two more holes to test mineralization extensions at the Olympia Prospect. A recent electromagnetic survey has collected data on 13 lines. Four highly conductive zones have been identified over a strike of 2 kilometers at Spartacus. Falcon expects drilling to last six weeks with results soon after the completion of drilling. Late last year Falcon intersected mineralization at Collurabbie. Highlights include: 2 meters at 0.96% nickel, 1.25% copper and 3.49 grams per tonne (g/t) PGE from 143 meters; and 6.79 meters at 0.35% nickel, 0.24% copper and 0.51 g/t PGE from 163.9 meters. Six diamond drill holes at the project identified mineralization for a total of 1,375 meters with down hole electromagnetic surveying also carried out on five of the drill holes, aimed to test for significant conductors associated with massive nickel sulphides. Collurabbie is located 250 kilometers north-northeast of Leonora, Western Australia.

Hindustan Zinc Q4 Mined Metal Production Up 19%

Hindustan Zinc Ltd., reported fourth-quarter mined metal production of 231,000 tonnes, up by 19 percent from the 194,000 tonnes for the quarter ended March last year, backed by higher contributions from Rampura Agucha and Sindesar Khurd mines. For the quarter, refined zinc production was 29 percent higher at 194,000 tonnes, compared to 150,000 tonnes in the corresponding quarter a year-ago, helped by a major contribution of 46,000 tonnes from the new 210 ktpa Rajpura Dariba Smelter, which was commissioned in March last year.
Lead production during the quarter was 18,000 tonnes, lower by 10 percent than the 20,000 tonnes produced in the year-ago quarter, while silver production was 50,000 kilograms, in line with the corresponding prior quarter. For the year ended March 31 this year, the company reported mined metal production of 840,000 tonnes, compared to 769,000 tonnes last year, an increase of nine percent. Refined zinc production for the year was 712,000 tonnes, compared to 578,000 tonnes last year, reflecting a 23 percent growth, backed by 165,000 tonnes contribution from the new 210 ktpa Rajpura Dariba Smelter, which was commissioned in March 2010.
Lead production during the year was lower by 13 percent at 63,000 tonnes, compared to 72,000 tonnes produced a year-ago, while silver production was marginally higher at 179,000 kilograms. The company said the commissioning of the 100 ktpa lead smelter at Dariba would be completed in the first quarter of this fiscal, which would increase lead and silver production. The new 1.5 mtpa mill at SK Mine is ramping up well, and would achieve its rated capacity in FY12. 48MW of the 150MW expansion in wind power generation capacity announced in January this year was commissioned during the quarter, and the remaining 102MW would be commissioned in FY12. Post expansion, the company's wind power generation capacity would increase to 273MW, it said. With the commissioning of second 80 MW CPP unit in February 11, full 160MW CPP capacity at Dariba is operational. At the BSE, Hindustan Zinc share are being traded at Rs.141.40, up by 1.62 percent from the previous close.

Rio Tinto to invest US$238 million in Kennecott Utah Copper's Bingham Canyon Mine

Rio Tinto has approved US$238 million to advance a feasibility study for extending the life of Kennecott Utah Copper's Bingham Canyon Mine in Salt Lake City, and for the purchase of related long-lead time equipment. The study will look at extending the mine's life from 2019 to 2028 through pushing back the south wall and constructing supporting infrastructure and equipment. This includes a fifth grinding line at the Copperton Concentrator, expanding the tailings impound and upgrading power generation facilities. The feasibility study has been discussed with the local community as part of an extensive community engagement programme that has been running since August 2010 in relation to the potential expansion and securing the necessary regulatory permits.
A final investment decision is expected in the first half of 2012.

GFMS: Copper Market to Remain In Deficit in 2011

The global copper market is likely to remain in a supply/demand deficit during 2011 and the metal is expected to hit fresh record highs in the second half of the year, the metals consultancy GFMS said. Still, a “noteworthy” correction may well occur ahead of any new peaks, GFMS said. The consultancy released its Copper Survey 2011 in Santiago, Chile, in conjunction with the CESCO Week annual industry gathering. Senior copper analyst Nikis Kavalis outlined the main findings of the report. GFMS estimated that the copper market went into deficit in the second half of last year after a small surplus in the first six months of 2010. The swing into deficit was the result of accelerated growth in mature economies' consumption, further increases in Chinese off take and lackluster mine-production growth. Even though increased secondary production boosted total refined output, global refined consumption exceeded supply by 286,000 tons, GFMS said. “The sharp improvement in copper fundamentals rekindled investor interest in copper, after a period of relative weakness, in the aftermath of the European sovereign-debt crisis,” Kavalis said. Copper hit a series of record highs in 2010 and early 2011, peaking at $10,148 a metric ton on Feb. 14.
Global refined consumption should remain strong in 2011, helped by continued economic recovery in mature economies, as well as strong underlying increases in demand from developing countries, led by China, GFMS said. Mine production is also expected to accelerate and scrap volumes should rise further. Still, GFMS said, refined production is unlikely to outpace demand this year and the market will remain in deficit at least until year-end. In addition, the large number of bullish speculative positions means potential for major liquidation should there be any negative news for copper such as European debt problems, geopolitical events, and industrial production in key consuming nations or Chinese monetary policy. Any such liquidation could mean prices falling well below $9,000 a metric ton, GFMS said. Still, the consultancy said it would look for prices to remain well above $8,000. Any declines would likely mean consumers moving back into the market to replenish stockpiles that have been kept low in recent months. Also, bargain hunting can be expected from investors. Additionally, GFMS said any negative disturbances to the copper market would likely be short-lived, with investors eventually regaining confidence in copper's longer-term fundamental picture. With an ever-tightening market, copper is likely to climb toward $11,000 in the second half of the year, GFMS said.

Vedanta still committed to Cairn India deal

Indian-focused miner Vedanta Plc said it remained committed to sealing its long-delayed $9.6 billion acquisition of Cairn India, despite delays that could set it back at least another month. The deal, widely seen as a litmus test for foreign investment into India, hit a further hurdle, when the Indian government failed to reach a final decision but instead stuck to its stance in a controversy over royalty payments and referred the deal to a ministerial panel. Speaking after the group published mixed production numbers for the fourth quarter -- hitting records for aluminium and zinc but posting drops for iron ore and copper from its Zambian operations -- Vedanta Chief Executive M. S. Mehta said the company would stick to its plan. "We remain committed to pursuing the Cairn transaction," Mehta told analysts. He gave no details on Vedanta's expectations over the timing or outcome of a decision, or on whether Vedanta could have to renegotiate terms and conditions.
Cairn Energy agreed in August to sell a majority stake in Cairn India to Vedanta, but the deal has been delayed due to a dispute over royalty payments by Cairn India's partner, state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Analysts at Liberum in London said that even a worst case scenario outcome for Vedanta would see a potential royalty payment undoing a rally in the sector's shares, "but not excessively diminishing the value of the deal". Shares in Vedanta were up 0.95 percent at 2,454 pence at 0957 GMT, underperforming a 0.76 percent rise in the FTSE350 mining index, after two days in the red over uncertainty surrounding the delayed Cairn deal, the largest to date in India's oil and gas sector.
"Everything is dominated by the Cairn India sale," said Tom Gidley-Kitchin, analyst at Charles Stanley. "One doesn't really want to pile into the shares until this is clarified, and that could take another month." Cairn and Vedanta which will take on substantial debt but also turn itself into a diversified mining group as a result of the deal have extended their deadline to May 20. Vedanta, which like other miners has benefited from soaring commodity prices, posted record fourth quarter output for aluminium and for zinc production from its Indian operations. Output of refined zinc, the group's most profitable product last year, was 194,000 tonnes from its Indian mines in the fourth quarter ended March 2011, up 29 percent, with production at its Skorpion Zinc mine in Namibia totalling 37,000 tonnes in the three months. Iron ore, however, another of the group's key products and its second most profitable in 2010, was hit by a ban on shipments from the Indian state of Karnataka and the end of a third party agreement in the state of Orissa last November. Fourth-quarter production fell 21 percent to 5.5 million tonnes. The Supreme Court earlier this week lifted the ban on iron ore shipments from Karnataka. Vedanta said its iron ore capacity expansion programme remains on track to complete by the end of full year 2012-13. Aluminium output in the fourth quarter rose 7 percent to 170,000 tonnes. Copper cathode production at its Indian smelter was in line with the previous quarter at 80,000 tonnes.

Lead futures strengthen on global cues

Taking positive cues from global market and pick-up in industrial demand, lead regained strength with prices rising by 0.49 per cent in futures trade on Mar 30, 2011. At the Multi Commodity Exchange, lead for delivery in April traded higher by 80 paise, or 0.66 per cent, to Rs 122.80 per kg, with a business turnover of 814 lots. Similarly, the metal for delivery in March gained 60 paise, or 0.49 per cent, to Rs 122.70 per kg, with a trade turnover of 2,452 lots.

    Copper futures down on profit-booking

Copper futures prices fell by 0.61 per cent to Rs 422.70 per kg on 1st April 2011, as speculators booked profits after gains amid a weak trend at the London Metal Exchange. At the Multi Commodity Exchange, copper for delivery in April shed Rs 2.60, or 0.61 per cent, to Rs 422.70 per kg, with a business volume of 3,412 lots. It had ended 0.40 per cent higher at Rs 425.30 per kg in on 31st March 2011, trade. The metal for delivery in June also declined by Rs 2.50, or 0.61 per cent, to Rs 428.55 per kg, with a business volume of 239 lots. Market analysts said besides profit-booking by speculators, weak trend at the London Metal Exchange (LME) also put pressure on the copper futures prices here. At the LME, copper was down 0.77 per cent in the morning trade on 1st April 2011.

Japan's copper production to tumble this fiscal year

Japan's copper production will likely tumble in the financial year starting April 1 as two out of three big smelters have suspended part of their operations since the earthquake, while the third, Sumitomo Metal, is bracing for a long period of plant maintenance. Japan, with annual domestic production of around 1 million tonnes, is the world's second-biggest copper consumer after China. President Nobu Kemori of Sumitomo Metal Mining, Japan's second-biggest copper smelter, said recently the company's copper output in the year beginning on April 1 could fall 10 percent to around 360,000 tonnes due to plant maintenance at its Toyo smelter in western Japan. The smelters can't put off the planned maintenance at the Toyo plant, which will take about two months and is the first big one in its 40 years of operations. Sumitomo Metal Mining is the only copper smelter among Japan's top three whose production facility was unscathed by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11. Sumitomo Metal, which is to announce its April-September copper production plan, produced an estimated 202,000 tonnes in the October-March period, the second half of the 2010-11 financial year. The other two big smelters, Pan Pacific Co and Mitsubishi Materials Co, said they will delay announcing their first-half copper production plans. Pan Pacific Copper, Japan's biggest copper smelter and part of JX Holdings Inc, has said it aims to resume operations at its 136,000 tonnes-per-year Hitachi refinery northeast of Tokyo in April.

Novelis to make India debut in October

Hindalco Industries plans to bring Novelis, its Atlanta-based subsidiary and world leader in aluminium rolling products, into India this October. Tapping the fast growing flat rolled aluminium products market in the country, with applications in the automotive sector, beverage cans and electronics, among others, Hindalco is setting up a 500 kilo-tonne per year plant in two phases, with an investment of $130 million (Rs 600 crore) in its first phase. The first phase will have a capacity of 135 ktpa and will be up and running by October. The rest will follow as the demand goes up. The plant was originally set up in Rogerstone, Britain, but was dismantled and the machinery is being brought to India, as it was a high-cost plant and couldn't survive competition from low-cost producing countries such as China. The project is underway for the transfer of all key equipment for flat rolled production to the new unit at Hirakud, Orissa. Orders have also been placed for other equipment to balance production. This will enable the company to produce a wide range of superior engineering products, including can-body stock, for the local and export markets. The products will be sold by Novelis, as they are a known brand. Hindalco will have to make sure where do we get the maximum benefit for Hindalco and Novelis together. The company will look at the export market from this plant itself. Currently, the demand for can-body products in India is 1.2 kg per capita as against 12 kg per capita in China. Even if we produce half of what is consumed in China, our production will go up by six times, said Debu Bhattacharya, managing director of Hindalco (and vice-chairman of Novelis), said.

No impact of public protest on Aluminium Bahrain

Aluminium Bahrain, which owns the world's fourth-biggest smelter, is in full operation despite weeks of protests and the government's declaration of martial law. Aluminium Bahrain is operating at full capacity, and remains unaffected by the current situation in the kingdom, the company said in a statement. The company hasn't suffered from any logistical disruption in the supply of raw material nor in the production and the export of aluminium. Alba, which produces around 860,000 tonnes of aluminium per year, said it have put in place contingency plans "for any eventuality if and when the need arises". The only contingency measures taken by Alba up until now were the adjustment of the organization's workforce shifts. Bahrain declared martial law, looking to end protests by its Shi'ite Muslim majority, with Saudi troops on hand in the Sunni-ruled kingdom to help quell the unrest.

BHP Billiton approves $554mn Escondida spend

Global miner BHP Billiton has approved a $554 million investment in the world's largest copper mine, Chile's Escondida. The project will relocate crushing and conveying facilities in Escondida's main pit to improve access to higher grade ore and help boost production from 2013, BHP said in a statement, adding its share of the project's costs totaled $319 million. BHP has a 57.5 percent stake in Escondida, while Rio Tinto owns 30 percent. JECO Corp, a consortium formed by Mitsubishi Corp, owns 10 percent and JECO 2 Ltd owns 2.5 percent.

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