Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Steel Trade Today - Wednesday, Jan 21, 2009

STEEL TRADE TODAY
Indian Edition
Chandra Sekhar Wednesday, Jan 21, 2009
Price Index - India
  20-Jan 19-Jan Change
ILPPI 6871 6888 -17
IFPPI 6683 6723 -40
INDSPI 6782 6809 -27
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Indian

Indian ship breaking industry defies rational expectations

Import parity pricing for TMT at Mumbai dips by USD 40

Indian steel price index slide reflects continued market weakness

Import parity pricing for wide plates at Mumbai is USD 615

SAIL RSP sets a record of 1,502 cycles for hot metal ladle

Indian import parity price for billets goes down in 1 week

JSPL hopes to start output at Patratu plant by 2010

SAIL expansion cost likely to reduce

TATA Sasol JV and JSPL bag CTL projects

Details of steel export and imports at Mumbai

Directory of Overseas Scrap Suppliers to India

Indian changes classification for PC wires

Orissa defers decision on TATA Steel proposal

Water scarcity forces Orissa to drop investment in power

Slowdown signs - Graphite India may cut jobs

POSCO war zone - Protestors seek cancellation of MoU

Slowdown signs - Indian ports fall short of traffic targets

Entry tax on iron and steel abolished in Kanpur

Vedanta scraps INR 233 crore Maytas contract

PSUs losing first mover advantage in nuclear power

Report on mining irregularities in Karnataka is out

Ukraine coal output rose 3% in 2008 - Coal ministry

Coal minister urges Indian utilities to import coal

Caledon Resources confirms discussions that may lead to offer

Others

Production pruning - BHPB suspends Ravensthorpe Nickel operations

Production pruning - Rio Tinto Alcan curtails production

Steel inventories in US and Canada continue downward trend in December

HR prices FOB Black Sea remain under pressure

China may hike tax rebate to stimulate export

Russian gas deliveries towards Ukraine initiated

Saritas breaks ground for new stainless steel facility at Gebze in Turkey

Malaysian steelmakers urge for lower electricity and gas prices

BHBP posts production report for July to December 2008

Eurometal sees further steel prices fall in 2009 before recovery

ISSDA calls for removal 5% import duty on ferronickel

BHPB bid for Rio - UBS says that BHPB may renew bid

WTO to probe legality of US duties on Chinese steel pipes

IPE prices see major reduction in Saudi Arabia in F1 of January

Japanese suppliers see rail inquiries from ME, Africa and SEA

Iron ore laden CSL Argosy freed after running aground near Annapolis

Lion halts operations at its HBI and DRI mills on high gas cost

Liberia inks pact with China Union for Bong iron ore mines

Directory of Steel Pipe Makers in China

Russian tycoons plan Kremlin backed BHP

Production pruning - Kumba warns of falling output

Slowdown signs - Chinese house prices may cool down in 2009

Wide plate prices see major improvement in MEA

Salzgitter to invest in flue gas treatment plant

Production pruning - Evraz sees full production in 2009

Directory of Mining Industry in India

Indian Steelmakers Directory 2008

CAPEX cuts - Saudi smelter project delayed after Rio pullout

Allegheny Technologies names new VP for its international operations

Indian FMC permits MCX to launch imported thermal coal futures

US DoC to review AD duty on Taiwanese carbon steel pipes

Rio Tinto in no rush to sell US assets

Recession reports - South Korea to help ailing builders and shipbuilders

CRS prices see mixed trend in MEA in 15 days of January

Xinyu Steel new 3 million tonne HSM under test runs

Newcastle is world largest coal export terminal


Indian ship breaking industry defies rational expectations

- 21 Jan 2009

The consistent drop in the demand for vessels owing to downtrend in the global seaborne trading activity, in the aftermath of unprecedented economic recession, has left the shipping industry in a quandary. Freight rates have plummeted by an unprecedented 93% from the peak level of 11,793 this May 2008.

The downslide of BDI during last 7 months is given below

MonthBDI
July’089379
Aug’088280
Sept’086691
Oct’083025
Nov’08839
Dec’08700
Jan’09868


Gigantic fall in the freight market led to increased availability of vessels for dismantling at all the major ship breaking locations in the world. The resultant selling and purchase frenzy of vessels has led to availability of volumes nearing record levels. At the forefront of this recycling game is India followed in milder contempt by Bangladesh, China & Pakistan.

As per the latest analytical weekly report for GMS Shipping, the market sentiment is positive in India and Pakistan and the prices are quite stable
Country Market SentimentGeneral Cargo Prices Tanker Prices
India Positive USD 263/lt ldtUSD 285/lt ldt
Pakistan Positive USD 257/lt ldtUSD 285/lt ldt
Bangladesh Neutral USD 255/lt ldtUSD 280/lt ldt
China Neutral USD 220lt ldt USD 230lt ldt

(Source: GMS Weekly 16th Jan’09)

On January 19th 2009, about 95 to 100 vessels are available at Alang in various categories totaling 600,000 LDT (Light Displacement Tonnage). Out of which two vessels are in above 20,000 LDT category and 16 of them are between 10,000 LDT to 20,000 LDT, with balance being of lesser LDTs. Most of these vessels are pre 1980 manufactured.

As per market information, the average daily dispatch of plate cuttings from Alang is about 7,000 tonne per day and at the current rate it would take about 3 months to dispose of the steel coming out of ships already beached at Alang. The source added that considering the weakness in global shipping market, more ships would arrive although Bangladesh is likely to emerge as their favorite destination in short term.

The increased availability of plate cuttings, which are cheaper input material for rolling by small mills, is likely to give scope to small mills to reduce rebar prices to fight aggressive pricing policies being adopted by Indian steel majors.

To know more details on steel prices subscribe to services of www.steelprices-india.com by registering or send a mail to admin@steelprices-india.com. Kindly note that this is a paid service

(Sourced from www.steelprices-india.com)

Import parity pricing for TMT at Mumbai dips by USD 40

- 21 Jan 2009

As per market prices prevailing at Mumbai on January 20th 2009, import parity pricing for TMT is about USD 490 per tonne on CNF basis down by USD 40 as compared to USD 530 per tonne on January 12th 2009.

Following expenses are factored in
1. Port expenses at INR 400 per tonne for break bulk
2. Margin of INR 500
3. Conversion rate of 49

The FOB prices for rebars at Black Sea are reported to be in the range of USD 440 per tonne to USD 480 per tonne. Considering freight of USD 45 the CNF prices work out to USD 485 per tonne to USD 525 per tonne, making imports viable for coastal projects.

To know more details on steel prices subscribe to services of www.steelprices-india.com by registering or send a mail to admin@steelprices-india.com. Kindly note that this is a paid service

(Sourced from www.steelprices-india.com)

Indian steel price index slide reflects continued market weakness

- 21 Jan 2009

The domestic Indian Steel price declined on January 20th 2009. The Indian Long Product Price Index (ILPPI) fell by 17 points and Indian Flat Product Price Index (IFPPI) fell by 39 points. The overall Indian Steel Price Index (INDSPI) fell by 27 points

Class19-Jan20-JanChange
ILPPI68886871-17
IFPPI67236683-39
INDSPI68096782-27

ILPPI – Long Product Price Index
IFPPI – Flat Product Price Index
INDSPI – Indian Steel Price Index

Category19-Jan20-JanChange
PI - TMT66506642-8
PI - WRC73447326-17
PI - Angle65166480-36
PI - Channel65726533-39
PI - Joist63356313-22


Category19-Jan20-JanChange
PI - Narrow Plates63636318-44
PI - Wide Plates69346864-69
PI - Hot Rolled65156467-48
PI - Cold Rolled72957288-8
PI - Galvanized69846978-6

To know more about these indices please visit
http://steelprices-india.com/spi_services/spi.html

If you want to know the prevailing prices and changes across the week on daily basis, please subscribe to services of www.steelprices-india.com

Import parity pricing for wide plates at Mumbai is USD 615

- 21 Jan 2009

As per market prices prevailing at Mumbai on January 20th 2009, import parity pricing for 12mm to 200mm plates in 2500mm width in grade equivalent to IS 2062 GrB is about USD 615 per tonne on CNF basis.

Following expenses are factored in
1. Port expenses at INR 400 per tonne for break bulk
2. Margin of 1500 which includes importer margin plus agent commission plus retailer margin plus 60 to 90 days credit
3. Conversion rate of 49

The FOB prices for wide plates at Black Sea are reported to be in the range of USD 520 per tonne to USD 560 per tonne. Considering freight of USD 45 the CNF prices work out to USD 565 per tonne to USD 605 per tonne, making imports viable.

To know more details on steel prices subscribe to services of www.steelprices-india.com by registering or send a mail to admin@steelprices-india.com. Kindly note that this is a paid service

(Sourced from www.steelprices-india.com)

SAIL RSP sets a record of 1,502 cycles for hot metal ladle

- 21 Jan 2009

Statesman News Service reported that Steel Authority of India Limited’s Rourkela Steel Plant has achieved a record of 1,502 cycles in one of its 140 tonne hot metal ladle used in the blast furnaces as compared to the previous best of 1,423 cycles recorded in October 2008.

Official sources said that by bringing in incremental improvements in the maintenance and operation of the 140 tonne hot metal ladles RSP has surpassed its own records regularly in the ladle life.

The collective effort of employees of blast furnace ladle repair shop-II, refractory department, SMS-II played a significant role in this direction. Superior hot metal quality with respect to silica content and hot metal temperature, improvement in cast house practices and operational discipline also contributed substantially in registering this excellent performance.

It said that the improved life of the ladles not only reduces cost of refractory per tonne of metal but also increases ladle availability to blast furnace shop and facilitates timely casting. This in turn leads to higher productivity and considerable cost reduction.

These ladles play a vital role in transporting liquid hot metal from the blast furnaces to the steel melting shops.

(Sourced from Statesman News Service)

Indian import parity price for billets goes down in 1 week

- 21 Jan 2009

As per market prices prevailing at Mumbai on January 20th 2009, import parity pricing for billets is about USD 408 per tonne on CNF basis as compared to USD 430 per tonne as on January 12th 2009.

Following expenses are factored in
1. Port expenses at INR 400 per tonne for break bulk
2. Margin of INR 500
3. Conversion rate of 49

To know more details on steel prices subscribe to services of www.steelprices-india.com by registering or send a mail to admin@steelprices-india.com. Kindly note that this is a paid service

(Sourced from www.steelprices-india.com)

JSPL hopes to start output at Patratu plant by 2010

- 21 Jan 2009

It is reported that Jindal Steel & Power Ltd hopes to start steel production by 2010 at Patratu plant in Jharkhand.

According to a senior JSPL official, the Patratu plant will produce 3 million tone of steel per year.

It did not have any land related problem as it took over the sick Bihar Alloy & Steel Ltd, which has about 600 acres of land at Patratu although it requires about 2,500 acres for the entire project.

Mr Askari H Zaidi VP corporate communications of JSPL said that “Besides the existing 600 acres, we have so far purchased about 350 acres directly. We are in the process of acquiring more land for the project. We hope to start work on the first phase in 2010 for producing 3 million tonne of steel.”

(Sourced from JPC)

SAIL expansion cost likely to reduce

- 21 Jan 2009

ET reported Steel Authority of India had originally planned to double capacity by 2010, at an estimated cost of INR 54,000 crore but this had threatened to go up to INR 80,000 crore early last year when overbooked equipment suppliers increased prices. However, with the changed market dynamics, SAIL expects to meet its target at costs close to the original estimate.

The report cited an official working with the ministry of steel as saying that “The global economic slowdown has had a positive impact for SAIL. Equipment suppliers are now willing to offer larger discounts and also promising timely delivery. As per initial calculation, this could reduce our expansion cost substantially.”

As per report, SAIL has begun renegotiating equipment purchase deals that have not yet been finalized and is even exploring the possibility of getting discounts on existing supply deals. The move is aimed at getting best bargains from suppliers who are also facing demand compression and looking desperately for buyers.

It expansion and modernization program involves taking up its present steel making capacity from 15 million tonne to over 26 million tonne by 2010. Roughly half of the orders for equipment have been placed and work on the remaining lot is being finalized.

(Sourced from Economic Times)

TATA Sasol JV and JSPL bag CTL projects

- 21 Jan 2009

It is reported that TATA group’s JV with Sasol of South Africa and Jindal Steel and Power has been awarded the prestigious USD 6 billion to USD 8 billion pilot project to convert coal into liquid petroleum. The project will produce 80,000 barrels crude oil a day by liquefying coal reserves.

An inter-ministerial group that scrutinized applications from 22 firms has recommended the two companies for the award of coal blocks for the coal to liquid projects to TATA-Sasol JV Strategic Energy Technology Systems and JSPL.

In all, 22 firms including RIL, the Anil Ambani Group’s Reliance Infrastructure, SAIL, GAIL, Indian Oil, GMR Infrastructure and Vedanta had applied for the pilot projects in Orissa.

From this, the IMG short listed firms having a minimum net worth of INR 40 billion and an agreement with a foreign firm for technology to convert coal into liquid petroleum and called for presentations.

An official said that Reliance Industries proposal have not been accepted as it had offered a direct liquefaction process, which was not favored considering the low reactive content of coal.

Official said that GAIL and GMR did not submit agreements with the technology provider, as required for selection. The two firms, however, submitted copies of letters from technology providers after the IMG had finalized its report and the chairman of the panel rejected them.

While, SAIL had withdrawn its application, Vedanta did not submit the additional information sought.

(Sourced from myiris.com)

Details of steel export and imports at Mumbai

- 21 Jan 2009

As per data available from market sources, steel import at Mumbai in December 2008 has gone down by 52% YoY and 26% YoY, where as exports went down by 4% YoY and went up by 98% MoM.

 Dec'07Dec'08Change
Import210336101211-52%
Export106818102271-4%
Net imports103518-1060-101%

In tonnes

 Nov'08Dec'08Change
Import135953101211-26%
Export5157510227198%
Net imports84378-1060-101%

In tonnes

On the other hand, steel imports at Mumbai during April to December witnesses drop of 40% YoY, where as exports went up by 11% YoY

 A-D'07A-D'08Change
Import22369181340405-40%
Export992481109872711%
Net imports1244437241678-81%

In tonnes

Directory of Overseas Scrap Suppliers to India

- 21 Jan 2009

India is large market for import of steel scrap and this is the directory which is going to help many interested group to know this industry.

Published in September 2008, 'Directory of Scrap Suppliers to India' has been comprehensively researched and prepared, to bring you a fully up to date guide to overseas scrap supplier.

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Content:
This report covers name and product details of 1191 overseas scrap suppliers to India in alphabetical as well as location wise order. Look at the information you'll get in the 'Directory of Scrap Suppliers to India'

• Company name -1191 entries
• Address-1191 entries
• Email-1074
• Phone number-1140
• Fax number -431 entries

Format:
PDF File
Total no of pages – 545

Delivery by Email on receipt of payment

Price:
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Additional Charges would be levied for delivery of file on a CD or in printed form

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Ordering the report is simple. You can order your copy to reports@steelguru.com, who will send you an invoice of the report.

Indian changes classification for PC wires

- 21 Jan 2009

Department of commerce under commerce & industry ministry vide notification no 79 (RE-2008) / 2004-2009 dated January 14th 2009 amended Schedule – I (Imports) of the ITC (HS) Classifications of Export and Import Items, 2004-09 as under:

The following items will be added to the Appendix III to Schedule 1 (IMPORTS) of ITC(HS) Classifications of Export and Import Items

SlApplicable BIS StandardsName of the products
69.1785(Part 1)Specification for plain hard-drawn steel wire for pre-stressed concrete; Part 1 Cold-drawn stress relieved wire.
70.1785(Part 2)Specification for plain hard-drawn steel wire for pre-stressed concrete; Part 2 as drawn wire.
71.6003Specification for indented wire for pre-stressed concrete.
72.6006Specification for uncoated stress relieved strand for pre-stressed concrete.
73.13620Specification for fusion bonded epoxy coated reinforcing bars.
74.14268Specification for uncoated stress relieved low relaxation seven ply strand for pre-stressed concrete.

Orissa defers decision on TATA Steel proposal

- 21 Jan 2009

PTI reported that the Orissa government has deferred a decision on according permission to a proposal of TATA Steel for setting up a 1.5 million tonne per annum steel unit. The decision was taken at the state level single window clearance authority meeting

Mr Ashok Meena MD of the Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation Limited said that "TATA's proposal is deferred for decision in view of difficulties in acquiring land."

Sources said that the meeting discussed land acquisition for the company. The meeting also discussed TATA's Kalinganagar project which has not yet come up though the MoU for the 6 million tonne per annum steel plant was signed way back in 2005.

A senior industry department official said that "Delay in implementation of the Kalinganagar project was also a factor for not giving the go ahead to the steel major's new proposal."

Though the state owned Industrial Development Corporation said that land was available near TATA's sponge iron factory, it said that it would be difficult to acquire for the proposed new unit.

TATA which has a sponge iron unit at Bileipadar under Joda tehsil in Keonjhar district had evinced interest to set up a 1.5 million tonne per annum steel plant adjacent to its old factory. The steel major which asked for 100 acre for setting up a second steel mill, also demarcated a huge open space near its sponge iron plant.

(Sourced from PTI)

Water scarcity forces Orissa to drop investment in power

- 21 Jan 2009

PTI reported that the Orissa government has deferred proposals of at least 5 mega power projects, while recommending the proposals of L&T and Jindal Steel and Power Ltd for approval of the High Level Clearance Authority in the wake of stiff opposition by farmers, who are against supply of river water for industrial purpose.

Official sources said that the decision to drop or defer the investment proposals in power sector was taken at the state level single window clearance authority meeting last evening.

The SLSWCA recommended two proposals of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd and Larsen and Toubro subject to fulfillment of certain conditions. The proposal of Larsen and Toubro to set up a 1,680 MW thermal power plant at an investment of INR 10,200 crore at Dhamra in Bhadrak district was accepted with certain conditions.

Besides, rush of thermal power projects in Angul-Talcher belt also influenced the government not to go ahead with certain projects due to rising pollution.

A senior industry department official said that “L&T was asked to use sea water for its power plant instead of depending on river water,” adding that the MoU with the company would be signed only after it withdrew a case against the state government. &T had filed a case in Delhi High Court against the state government over a dispute relating to leasing of an iron ore mine.

(Sourced from Press Trust of India)

Slowdown signs - Graphite India may cut jobs

- 21 Jan 2009

Reuters reported that Graphite India Ltd may lay off employees across facilities in coming months as it cuts production on slowing demand.

Steel companies, which are among Graphite's major customers are battling slowing demand from auto and infrastructure firms, which has resulted in production cuts.

Graphite India said that “In the last few months, the steel industry, the main market segment for the company's primary product graphite electrodes has been impacted by the global recession and many customers have cut down their production substantially, leading, to a reduction in demand for the Company's products till off take for steel improves.”

It added that “Consequently, the company and its subsidiaries have decided to adopt a far more resilient and dynamic production program to allow altering the production volumes including reducing the same, keeping in view market realities to optimize performance and capital management. This may also include having to lay off some of its permanent employees at the different manufacturing facilities in the coming months.”

(Sourced from Reuter)

POSCO war zone - Protestors seek cancellation of MoU

- 21 Jan 2009

The Hindu reported that protesting against the proposed mega steel plant in Jagatsingpur district by South Korean steel major POSCO and university in Puri district proposed by Mr Anil Agarwal controlled Vedanta group, several hundred people staged demonstration.

Leaders representing various organizations, which were spearheading the anti land acquisition movements in the 2 districts, demanded scrapping of memorandums of understanding reached with the 2 companies.

They said that thousands acres of fertile irrigated lands were being handed over to these companies which were only concerned about their profits at cost of displacement of thousands of poor people.

According Special Economic Zone status to these two projects threatened sovereignty of the country, founder of Navnirman Samiti Akshaya Kumar said addressing the gathering.

However, all leaders criticized the State Government for arresting Mr Abhaya Sahoo president of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti as saying that the action was a violation of basic human rights.

Besides Navnirman Samiti, Bharatiya Kishan Majdoor Union, Vedanta Biswabidyalaya Sangharsh Samiti and Rastriya Yuba Sanghathan participated in the demonstration. They threatened to continue their agitation till the State Government cancelled those two projects.

(Sourced from The Hindu)

Slowdown signs - Indian ports fall short of traffic targets

- 21 Jan 2009

BL citing Indian Ports Association reported that in the first 9 months of the current fiscal, traffic growth in India’s major ports was 3.43% YoY at 391.8 million tonne as compared to 378.8 million tonne in the same period last fiscal.

However, the shortfall from the target of 426.3 million tonne was 8.10%.

Except Ennore and Kandla, no other ports achieved the targets set for them for the period, the extent of shortfall ranging from more than 15% to less than 1%.

An interesting feature is that with a 9.63% growth in traffic, at 44.1 million tonne during the period under review, Jawaharlal Nehru port climbed to third position, displacing Chennai.

As per report, the total traffic handled by major ports in the last quarter was 130 million tonne compared to 134.6 million tonne in the same period last year a drop of 3.42%.

Iron ore traffic during the period, at 23.5 million tonne recorded a drop of more than 4%. On the east coast, Visakhapatnam and Chennai ports experienced a sharp drop in iron ore throughput Visakhapatnam 36% at 3.2 million tonne and Chennai 37% at 1.6 million tonne.

Paradip, however, was an exception. At a throughput of 3.2 million tonne, the growth in Paradip was more than 12%. In fact, if we consider the total traffic handled by these three ports during the last quarter of 2008, we will find that except Paradip, the two other ports, namely Chennai and Visakhapatnam, posted a negative growth Visakhapatnam 12.4% and Chennai 11.9%. It posted a positive growth, a meager 0.5% at 10.9 million tonne.

On the west coast, Kandla posted 4.95% growth at 17.8 million tonne during the quarter under review and retained the number one position but two other major ports, namely Mumbai and JNPT, posted negative growth Mumbai 17.73% at 12.3 million tonne and JNPT 4.17% at 13.757 million tonne.

The container throughput during the 9 month period ended December 2008 at 5,140,000 TEUs showed a drop of more than 8% from the target and a growth of about 5% over the same period of last year. However, in the October to December quarter 2008, the container throughput at 1,585,000 TEUs registered a decline of 4.75% as compared to the throughput of 1,664,000 TEUs handled in the same period of the previous year. In fact, the country’s biggest container handling port JNPT posted a negative growth in container throughput during the quarter under review 955,000 TEUs.

(Sourced from Business Line)

Entry tax on iron and steel abolished in Kanpur

- 21 Jan 2009

TOI reported that providing a major relief to consumers and iron and steel traders in the city, the state government abolished the entry tax on iron and steel.

The India government made several amendments on its decision, taken on September 30th 2008, to impose the tax. The tax on iron and steel equipment has been completely removed. Tax has been reduced on refrigerators, ACs from 5% to 1% and on paper, from 5% to 2%. However, on tyres and tubes, no reduction has been made.

It has also been decided that 1% tax on semi finished iron goods used in industries like pig iron, cast iron, index, mould, scrap, bloom, billets will continue.

Mr RD Singh joint commissioner, corporate tax said that "There was pressure on government from both traders and public to reduce the tax. The tax reduction will apply only to those articles of public benefit."

Mr Umang Agrawal president of Iron and Steel Traders Association said that "The trade of iron and steel in Kanpur region itself is INR 3,000 crore, which was being hit. Apart from the obvious benefits to consumers, it will also help 2,500 city based traders. The entry tax was a multiple level tax and traders at each level of sale were paying the tax."

He added that the entry tax on raw materials should also be done away with.

(Sourced from Times of India)

Vedanta scraps INR 233 crore Maytas contract

- 21 Jan 2009

BS reported that Vedanta Alumina has cancelled a INR 233 crore contract with the Hyderabad based Maytas Infra for construction of a township in Jharsuguda on plea of slow progress of work.

It has decided to assign the township project to Sidharta Constructions.

Meanwhile, Vedanta Aluminium has started direct payments to the laborers engaged by Maytas. Maytas owed INR 45 million to INR 50 to the laborers.

(Sourced from Business Standard)

PSUs losing first mover advantage in nuclear power

- 21 Jan 2009

BL reported that amid growing opportunities in the newly opened nuclear power sector, state owned Indian firms are losing the initiative to their private sector counterparts.

While, private players such as Punj Lloyd and Larsen & Toubro have already drawn first blood in the nuclear reactor sector by tying up with US firms Thorium Power and Toshiba owned Westinghouse Electric Co respectively for technology collaborations, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd is still in the process of identifying a partner for the new Light Water Reactor based projects on the anvil.

In the field of uranium sourcing, close on the heels of a little known Mumbai based Taurian Resources bagging uranium mining rights in Niger and Jindal Steel & Power, through a Mauritius based unit has bought over a uranium mine in Mongolia from a Canadian firm, even as State owned monopoly Uranium Corporation of India Ltd is still to get off the block in its attempts to secure blocks abroad.

A senior Central Electricity Authority official said that “The first mover advantage is definitely important in a newly opened up sector. In the nuclear sector, the odds are actually in favor of public sector players and firms such as UCIL and BHEL started out as overwhelming favorites to cash in on the opportunities due to their expertise in the nuclear business and their state owned status. Despite this, private sector players are getting the first mover advantage.”

(Sourced from Business Line)

Report on mining irregularities in Karnataka is out

- 21 Jan 2009

DownToEarth reported that the investigation, commissioned by the Kanataka to the Lokayukta, a one member grievance cell, found irregularities at all stages from granting licenses to exports.

As per report, the Lokayukta’s report has recommended that the state ban iron ore exports.

The report revealed that mining was rampant on land for which permission was not granted and that sometime revenue and forest officials did not check feasibility of the sites but gave permission to mine. On several occasions, the sketch of the mining map shown to the department of mines and geology did not match with the site and overlapped forest areas.

Mr Santosh Hegde, the Lokayukta said that “Officials of the mining and forest departments should visit areas to check if mining is going on as per the Indian Bureau of Mines’s standards, but visits are made to collect bribes. In the 10 mines that we surveyed, more than 1,000 hectares of forestland were destroyed. Mining on more than 100 ha was illegal.’’

There are numerous stockyards that store iron ore, without mandatory clearances, said the report released on December 18th.

The next stage involves transporting the iron ore. Overloading trucks is common. A truck licenced to carry 15 tonne to 16 tonne of iron ore invariably carries 2 tonne to 25 tonne. Double rear axle vehicles authorized to carry 20 tonne to 25 tonne carry 50 tonne. Mr Hegde said that “Overloading is illegal. No royalty is paid for the extra iron ore these lorries carry.’’

He said that “If ore is transported from the forest area, forest officials give the entire permit book to transporters, which does not restrict the number of trips a vehicle can make.”

The investigations also found that hillocks were flattened, waste dumped down hilltops, agriculture destroyed and water sources contaminated. In Sandur town in the district, mining dust had contaminated well water. Earlier, water flowed down the hillocks and fed the underground water system but now it picks up mining dust and forms puddles, the report said. Medicinal plants in Bellary too had disappeared.

He added that irregularities were found in the de-reservation of 2670.5 square kilometer of forest area in Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Hassan, Kolar, Chitradurga and Mysore districts. Private players cashed in on reserve forests for mining. He said that “People are the worst affected. They do not enjoy any advantages from mining in their region. A development cess should be levied on mining, which should be used for the development of the areas mined.”

Mr Hegde said that Mysore Minerals Ltd, a state unit had suffered iron ore losses worth INR 600 crore to INR 700 crore between 2000 and 2006. It illegally subleased some of the best mineral bearing lands to private companies and entered into joint ventures where the partner company’s balance sheet showed profits but MML did not get any dividend. He added that the state had suffered losses worth INR 36,000 crore in three years because of illegal mining. He said that when asked that “What is the point in exporting when you don’t have profits? I would suggest ban exports and even trading of iron ore within Karnataka.”

The report further added that Mr Dharam Singh former CM permitted transportation of iron ore from patta land on the pretext that it was float ore, which needed to be removed for agriculture. Mr Hegde found the ore was extracted without permits from cultivable land. The report recommended action against eight IAS officers, most of them on MML’s board, and former director, mines and geology departments for allowing mining on patta lands.

(Sourced from www.downtoearth.org.in)

Ukraine coal output rose 3% in 2008 - Coal ministry

- 21 Jan 2009

Ukrainian Coal Industry Ministry announced that Ukraine increased production of raw coal by a preliminary 3% to 77.654 million tonnes in 2008.

The volume of coal mining exceeded the planned indicator by 9.4% or 6.699 million tons.

According to the ministry, production of coking coal fell 6.2% to 26.642 million tonnes, while output of steam coal grew 8.5% to 51.031 million tonnes.

In 2008, the enterprises, which are part of the Coal Industry Ministry, increased coal extraction by 7.57% or 3.193 million tonnes to 45.386 million tonnes. In particular, power generating coal extraction rose by 8.37% or 2.714 million tons compared with 2007, to 35.139 million tons, coking coal extraction by 4.89% or 0.478 million tons to 10.247 million tons.

The Coal Industry Ministry forecasts a decrease of coal extraction in Ukraine by 16.27% or 8.300 million tons to 42.700 million tons in 2009, because of a probable reduction of the demand for coal as a result of the financial crisis.

(Sourced from Ukrainian News Agency)

Coal minister urges Indian utilities to import coal

- 21 Jan 2009

PTI reported that the Indian government recently urged power utilities to import coal as a short term measure to tide over the shortage in supplies.

Mr Santosh Bagrodia minister for Coal said that although there was actually no shortage of coal supplies in the country, power utilities should import coal for meeting short term crisis. He said that power companies located at pitheads should have a stock for 15 days and those situated far can pile it for 21 days.

Mr Bagrodia said that companies which had been allotted captive mines but had not started production would be de-allotted. The Coal Ministry would also float global tenders to revive abandoned coal mines for their revival. He further reiterated that the Centre would not raise coal prices inspite of rise in costs.

(Source fro Press Trust of India)

Caledon Resources confirms discussions that may lead to offer

- 21 Jan 2009

Caledon Resources plc, the AIM and ASX listed Australian coking coal producer, is currently in discussions with a number of parties about a variety of potential transactions, some of which may or may not lead to an offer for Caledon’s entire issued and to be issued share capital.

The discussions are at a very early stage and, consequently, there is no certainty as to the terms and structure of any such transaction nor that an agreement will be reached between Company and any of the parties. Shareholders are advised to take no action at this time. Any further announcement will be made as appropriate.

Analysts indicated that Caledon's major shareholder, Polo Resources which owns 26.3% of Caledon would have a signifant "say in any takeover, and the future of Caledon". Whether Polo Resources was one of the parties involved in the discussions was not clear. However, Caledon's coking coal assets may be of interest to a number of parties at current prices.

(Sourced www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk)

Production pruning - BHPB suspends Ravensthorpe Nickel operations

- 21 Jan 2009

BHP Billiton announced that it will immediately commence the safe ramp down and indefinite suspension of the Ravensthorpe Nickel operations in Australia.

It said that “As a consequence, Yabulu (Australia) will cease processing mixed nickel cobalt hydroxide product from Ravensthorpe and will revert to processing ore only. The Group plans to complete a future options study for Yabulu during the first half of calendar year 2009.”

The release added that “The decisions announced today are largely the result of the diminished prospects for profitability of Ravensthorpe and Yabulu in the current environment, significant and continuing deterioration in the outlook for the nickel market, and the projected level of capital expenditure required in order to achieve and sustain projected production volumes at Ravensthorpe. As a result, the total workforce at these operations and associated Perth-based functional areas will be reduced by approximately 800 employees and 1,000 contractors by June 2009.”

In addition, the rate of mining at the Mount Keith (Australia) operation will be reduced in order to preserve its economic viability. The overall rate of concentrate production at Mount Keith will remain largely unchanged. Improved processing technology will enable the operation to source and process more ore from existing stockpiles. The Mount Keith workforce will be reduced by approximately 100 employees and 200 contractors by end February 2009.

All affected employees will be supported through the implementation of these changes and BHP Billiton will work with suppliers, customers and the local communities to minimize the impact of these decisions.

Mr Jimmy Wilson president of Stainless Steel Materials of BHPB said that "We fully understand the impact that today’s announcement has on our employees, contractors and their families. These decisions are never easy but are the consequence of our long held practice of continually reviewing all of our operations to ensure that they are competitive. We will continue our usual practice of maximizing internal re-deployment opportunities and, where these are not possible, will provide full entitlements and support services to employees and their families, including outplacement services.”

He added that “"We also recognize that the local communities will have concerns about how this will impact them. We will honor any agreements we have made and continue to keep the communities updated throughout this process."

Production pruning - Rio Tinto Alcan curtails production

- 21 Jan 2009

Rio Tinto Alcan has curtailed production and cuts costs in response to global economic conditions

The key measures announced are

1. A further 6% reduction in aluminium production, bringing the total reduction to approximately 11% and close to 6% reduction in alumina production

2. Reduction in global workforce by approximately 1100 roles (300 contractors and 800 employee roles)

3. Substantial cost reduction programs in Rio Tinto Alcan facilities worldwide

4. Permanent closure of Beauharnois smelter at Quebec in Canada
5. Production at Vaudreuil alumina refinery in Canada to be temporarily curtailed by 400,000 tonnes

6. Expected sale of interest in Alcan Ningxia joint venture in China

Mr Dick Evans CEO of Rio Tinto Alcan said that “Our goal is to align production with customer demand and reduce our operating costs as much as possible. Increasing efficiency throughout our operations and streamlining our organization will be crucial to achieving our objectives and preserving value for shareholders. We are taking steps towards optimising our world class portfolio of low cost, long life assets, the majority of which are in the lowest half of the industry cost curve."

Steel inventories in US and Canada continue downward trend in December

- 21 Jan 2009

According to the latest Metals Activity Report from US based Metals Service Center Institute, shipments of steel products from US and Canadian metals service centers fell by nearly 30% for a second consecutive month in December, while inventories of the metal continued a steady decline in year over year comparisons.

December shipments of steel products from US metals service centers fell 29.3% from year earlier volume to about 2.4 million tons. Full year 2008 US steel shipments of about 46.8 million tons were down 10.6% from 2007. Steel inventories at the end of December of 8.6 million tons were 16.1% below December 2007 stocks and at current shipping rates, equal to a 3.6 month supply.

In Canada, December steel shipments from metals service centers of 322,400 tons were down 29.2% from December 2007. Full year 2008 Canadian steel shipments of about 6.7 million tons were 10.9% below 2007 annual volume. Canadian steel inventories at the end of December of about 1.2 million tons were 34% below year end 2007 stocks and at current shipping rates, represent a 3.6 month supply.

The Metals Activity Report, based on data from metals service centers in the United States and Canada, is produced by the Metals Service Center Institute and a third party econometrics and strategy firm, McCoy, Scott & Co.

HR prices FOB Black Sea remain under pressure

- 21 Jan 2009

Market sources have informed of some low price deals for HR coils at Black Sea.

As per report, that some parcels of HRC stock parcels were available at USD 320 per tonne to USD 330 per tonne FOB Black Sea at some of the Ukrainian ports from stocks last week.

But now it seems, it seems that they have run out and now it is difficult to find offers for stock cargos lower than USD 340 per tonne to USD 350 per tonne FOB Black Sea.

At the same time producing mills are offering their production at USD 360 FOB as minimum and better quality material is being traded at USD 370 per tonne to USD 390 per tonne FOB Black Sea.

To keep tab on steel prices subscribe to services of www.steelprices-india.com by registering or send a mail to admin@steelprices-india.com. Please note that this is a paid service.

China may hike tax rebate to stimulate export

- 21 Jan 2009

According to the latest statistics disclosed by the Ministry of Commerce, China's total imports and exports value increased by 17.8% in the year of 2008, but the value witnessed a negative increase in the last two months. Officials from MoC noted the foreign trade situation will be tougher in 2009 and the ministry is likely to increase the tax rebate to bolster the export.

In 2008, the total imports and exports value posted at USD 2561.63 billion up by 17.8% YoY out of which exports stood at USD 1428.55 billion up by 17.2%YoY and the trade surplus posted at USD 295.46 billion up by 12.7% YoY. EU, America, Japan, ASEAN and Hong Kong were China's five largest trader partners during the year with EU, America and Hong Kong ranked the top three.

Though the total imports and exports value in 2008 increased by 17.8%, the growth rate has dropped by 6% compared with the previous year's 23.5%. In Nov and Dec 2008, the total value dropped by 9% and 11.1% respectively, the first two consecutive months decrease since July 2001.

Against the gloomy trade atmosphere, MoC disclosed that it is going to hammer out a host of stimulus policies, such as enhancing the financial and tax support, promoting the trade upgrade, improving the import-and-export financial service and heightening the trade convenience etc.

Governments at all levels should further perfect their services and provide a better platform for enterprise to perform their competitiveness, such as improving enterprises' overseas marketing skills through international exhibitions, creating a sound external environment by establishing free trade zone and supporting enterprises through adjustment of processing-and-trade policy as well as tax rebate policy. Meanwhile, the National Customs Director Meeting also noted that customs across the country will improve its passing efficiency and simplify the procedures for products examine and approve. The customs also encourage enterprises to fully utilize the flexibility and low-cost of bonded warehouse and grasp the opportunity to import low-cost products.

(Sourced from www.Mysteel.net)
Visit www.Mysteel.net for real time access to China steel news!

Russian gas deliveries towards Ukraine initiated

- 21 Jan 2009

Russian gas giant Gazprom announced on January 20th 2009 that “Today at 5.50 Moscow time Gazprom sent the first request to the NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy United Dispatching Center for the transit of 99.2 million cubic meters of gas a day starting from 10.00 via the Sudja gas metering station already under the operational pressure and prepared to feed gas since January 13.”

The release said that “ After the requests from European and Russian consumers had been adjusted, the second request was sent to the ODU for the supply of 423.8 million cubic meters of gas a day towards Ukraine (the second request includes the first one). Of this amount, 348.8 million cubic meters is to be exported through all the major gas metering stations at the exit and entry points of the Ukrainian gas transmission system, with 75 million cubic meters to be supplied to Ukrainian consumers.”

The release added that “At 10.05 Ukraine started transiting Russian gas to Europe, with first volumes pumped via the Sudja metering station. At 11.10, upon approval by the Ukrainian party of the second request, gas was supplied to Ukraine’s consumers through other metering stations as well.”

Russian gas transit to Europe across Ukraine and gas supplies to Ukrainian consumers were initiated under the agreements reached at night on January 18 by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Timoshenko. These agreements stipulate that starting from 2009 both countries switch in their relations in the gas sector to the generally accepted and transparent European gas pricing rules.

Within the scope of the agreements reached, on January 19 Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy signed in the presence of the heads of the Russian and Ukrainian governments new separate long-term contracts for Russian gas transit to Europe via Ukraine and for gas supply to Ukraine’s consumers. The contracts provide for no intermediates between the companies.

The contracts are effective from 2009 through 2018.

The transit contract stipulates for the retention of a beneficial transit rate at USD 1.7 for transit of 1,000 cubic meters per 100 km. The volume of gas transit via Ukraine in 2009 will amount to 120 billion cubic meters. From January 1, 2010 the transit rate will be market based and will be calculated based on the generally accepted European formula.

Pursuant to the contract for gas supply to Ukraine, the price of gas for Ukraine’s consumers is calculated based on the commonly accepted European formula with the discount rate of 0.8. Thus, in the first quarter of 2009 the price of gas for Ukraine’s consumers will account for USD 360 per 1,000 cubic meters. The price will be adjusted under the formula on a quarterly basis. In 2009 the volume of gas supply to Ukraine will be 40 billion cubic meters. Starting from January 1, 2010 Gazprom will start selling gas to Ukraine at the European market price with no discounts.

For the first time the generally accepted European price formula, already applicable for all consumers of Russian gas, has been used in the Russian-Ukrainian relations in the gas sector. The ten-year contracts for gas transit via Ukraine and for gas supply to Ukrainian consumers will be independent from each other. This provides additional guarantees that the situation with the termination of gas transit via Ukraine to European consumers will never repeat.

Ukraine is the last Republic from the former Soviet Union to have switched to market and absolutely transparent relations with Gazprom in the gas sector.

Saritas breaks ground for new stainless steel facility at Gebze in Turkey

- 21 Jan 2009

It is reported that stainless steel service center major Saritas Celik Sanayi ve Ticaret AS despite the global crisis, in memory of its 50th anniversary, has started a new major investment project in Gebze Industrial Zone near Istanbul. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on January 15th 2009.

A company release said that “Our objective is to keep our permanent leadership in our region and become one of the largest stainless steel service and distribution centers worldwide. The new investment is located in the most advanced and prestigious industrial zone in Gebze on a total 160,000 square meter property.”

Mr Selcuk Saritas MD Saritas Celik Sanayi ve Ticaret AS said that “New investment will consist of a high capacity stocking system with high stock level in a wide range of stainless grades including duplex series and new processing lines with latest technology and maximum capabilities. The project will cost around 120 Million USD and this amount may increase in case of further expansion. Investment will be carried on during 2009 till 2011. Current facilities will also be kept in process.”

Saritas, an independent and 100% belonging to Saritas family, was founded in 1957. It is dealing with stainless steel since 1970’s. It is focused on stainless steel flat products since 1980’s and invested on the first service center in 1998 in Dudullu Industrial Area of Istanbul. It supplies stainless steel with wide range of stock from 0.40 mm to 100 mm thickness and has the capability of cutting to length, slitting, grinding, brushing and plasma cutting. Saritas is also ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certified by TUV Sud.

Malaysian steelmakers urge for lower electricity and gas prices

- 21 Jan 2009

Bernama reported that Malaysian Iron & Steel Industry Federation has urged the government to cut electricity tariff and reduced the gas price as soon as possible. In a statement, it said that the easiest and fastest method for the cut would be to revert to the levels of the previous rates before July 1st 2008.

According to MISIF, the lower prices will assist the steel industry to better manage costs. The industry has since August 2008 suffered a 60% to 70% drop in demand and also a severe reduction in prices of materials and products. It said that the reduction in energy cost will go along way to ease the situation for the manufacturing sector, especially steel for which energy and gas contributed about 16% of production cost.

It may be noted that on June 4th 2008, the government announced its decision to increase the gas price to the Malaysian power sector and a corresponding adjustment to the electricity tariff, both effective from July 1st 2008. The gas price for industrial users consuming less than 2 million standard cubic feet per day was increased from MYR 9.40 per million British thermal units to MYR 32.56 per million British thermal units, while for consuming above 2 million standard cubic feet per day, it was raised from MYR 11.32 per million British thermal units to MYR 32.56 per million British thermal unit. The electricity tariff went up by 26%.

MISIF is an industry group under the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers and was formed to organise the iron and steel industry into an effective group to represent Malaysia's interest in the Asean Iron & Steel Industry Federation.

(Sourced from www.bernama.com)

BHBP posts production report for July to December 2008

- 21 Jan 2009

Global mining giant BHP Billiton has announced its production update for July to December 2008 period

The highlights given are as under

1. Record half year production of iron ore and copper cathode.

2. Record half year iron ore shipments.

3. Half year production records at Western Australia Iron Ore, Saraji, Poitrel and Hunter Valley Coal (all Australia), Samarco (Brazil) and Cerrejon Coal (Colombia).

4. Olympic Dam (Australia) achieved a half year record ore hoisted.

5. Record half year and quarterly gas production at North West Shelf (Australia) due to the start up of Train 5 and Angel projects.

It said that “BHP Billiton delivered a robust production performance in the first half of the 2009 financial year. This result was achieved within a challenging environment that resulted in prudent decisions being made regarding production adjustments as well as maintenance being brought forward.”

The release added that “Production adjustments announced by BHP Billiton to date have been limited to Samarco (Brazil) and the Samancor manganese operations. In Western Australia Iron Ore and our metallurgical coal operations, we have received requests for deferrals from some long term contract customers. However, this has not impacted iron ore or metallurgical coal production in the first half of the 2009 financial year. Whilst we sold the deferred long term iron ore tonnages into the spot market, we will likely have to opportunistically adjust our metallurgical coal production in line with the weaker demand, during the second half of the 2009 financial year.”

Mr Marius Kloppers CEO of BHP Billiton said the company’s performance and market position meant that it was strongly placed for both the current market conditions and the longer term market recovery.

He said that “Given the very challenging environment the whole industry has faced over the past few months, our production performance was particularly strong. We have also been quick to take appropriateaction to respond to market conditions, such as the previously announced production adjustments and project withdrawals, and we will continue to do so if required. “Our strong balance sheet and uniquely diversified portfolio of high quality and low cost assets place us in a competitive position in these market conditions and we expect to take full advantage of the recovery when it occurs. We continue to invest in growth, but with a highly disciplined and value-focused approach. We also remain alert to potential value accretive acquisition opportunities that may arise in the current market.”

Eurometal sees further steel prices fall in 2009 before recovery

- 21 Jan 2009

Mr Nasser VP of Eurometal expects further prices fall in 2009 before the recovery of the market. He said that steel stock in Europe is likely to remain high in January 2009 as the major customers do not work in this period.

Mediterranean semis price decreased during a day by 0.2% to USD 332.5 per a tonne. For the steel shipped in three months, the price has increased to USD 361.5 per a tonne. The price for Far East semis has not changed at USD 325 for shipment at once and USD 330 for shipment in three months. The market participants expect possible increasing pressure on semis prices if steel scrap shipments difficulties remains. However the situation is rather stable.

At the same time European re bar producers have reported that steel scrap deficit makes them increase prices although the market is rather weak. As a result ex works prices have increased from USD 400 to USD 410 per a tonne to USD 410 to USD 420 per a tonne. However, further prices growth is impossible as there will be no demand at these prices, the manufacturers say. At further scrap prices growth they admit production stop.

LME official prices for Mediterranean steel semis on January 14th 2009 made USD 330 per a tonne for shipment at once and USD 368 for shipment in 3 months. Far East semis price was USD 330 for shipment at once and USD 335 for shipment in 3 months.

(Sourced from www.prime-tass.com)

ISSDA calls for removal 5% import duty on ferronickel

- 21 Jan 2009

PTI reported that Indian Stainless Steel Development Association has sought removal of 5% import duty levied on ferronickel.

In a letter to Mr Pramod Kumar Rastogi union steel secretary, it said that 5% duty imposed on ferronickel as part of the tariff levied on ferroalloys used in making products like stainless steel should be removed as the raw material was not produced in the country.

Mr NC Mathur president of ISSDA said that "Ferronickel is central to stainless steel making. The raw material is not available in the country. To maintain a competitive scenario, it should be made available at nil duty."

He added that "Moreover, in view of large imports of stainless steel at low prices, we request the steel ministry to ask the finance ministry to consider the customs duty for ferronickel items at nil level."

Meanwhile, Indian Ferro Alloy Producers Association said that it is actually needed as ferronickel was a 100% imported item in the country.

Nickel prices in the international market is hovering in the range of USD 10,500 a tonne to 13,000 per tonne. The domestic manufacturers have to bear an additional cost of INR 2,400 a tonne on account of the duty.

(Sourced from www.ptinews.com)

BHPB bid for Rio - UBS says that BHPB may renew bid

- 21 Jan 2009

Bloomberg citing UBS AG reported that BHP Billiton Ltd may make a fresh offer for Rio Tinto Plc should shares of the London based company continue to decline.

Mr Paul Galloway analyst of UBS in a note said that BHP has significantly outperformed Rio Tinto since it dropped its offer for the company November 25th 2008 as Rio Tinto is trading at a 26% discount to BHP on a future earnings basis.

He wrote that “While we acknowledge that BHP is better financially positioned during the present climate, we view the discount that Rio trades at as excessive. If the equity market continues its indifference to the Rio story then BHP may consider making a fresh offer for Rio at some future date.”

Rio Tinto has fallen 40% in London since Nov. 25 when BHP abandoned a hostile bid citing Rio’s debt, regulatory hurdles and falling commodity prices.

However according to U.K. Takeover Panel regulations BHP cannot make another offer for Rio until 12 months have elapsed since the original bid was withdrawn.

(Sourced from Bloomberg)

WTO to probe legality of US duties on Chinese steel pipes

- 21 Jan 2009

Bloomberg reported that World Trade Organization judges agreed to decide whether US duties on imports of Chinese steel pipes break global trade rules.

China said that US is breaking a number of agreements with the taxes as US chose to impose duties on Chinese imports to compensate for subsidies. The first was a similar decision last June on a different type of steel pipes.

The Chinese delegation in a statement to the WTO’s dispute settlement body in Geneva said that “China is greatly concerned by the various substantive and procedural problems found in the U.S. anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations and measures against Chinese products at issue.”

US said in July 2008 that it would impose duties on USD 200 million of steel pipe shipments from China, South Korea and Mexico. Chinese exporters of the light, rectangular piping face countervailing duties, used to counter subsidies, of as much as 200% of the product’s price and anti-dumping duties, which compensate for goods sold overseas at prices below those at home, of as much as 265%.

(Sourced from Bloomberg)

IPE prices see major reduction in Saudi Arabia in F1 of January

- 21 Jan 2009

It is seen that IPE 14-16-18 prices fell by 12% in Saudi Arabia in the first 15 days of January 2009

CountryCURDecJanChange
UAEAED301130000%
Saudi ArabiaSAR40213600-12%
QatarQAR39483746-5%
KuwaitKWD228224-2%
BahrainBHD402382-5%


The price movement in July to December 2008 is tabled below
CountryCURJulAugSepOctNovDecChange
UAEAED460046004600424040603011-35%
Saudi ArabiaSAR535351005110484047204021-25%
QatarQAR524749984997470346323948-25%
KuwaitKWD327327327309302228-30%
BahrainBHD535510511484472402-25%

To keep tab on steel prices subscribe to services of www.steelprices-middleeast.com by registering or send a mail to admin@steelprices-middleeast.com. Please note that this is a paid service.

Japanese suppliers see rail inquiries from ME, Africa and SEA

- 21 Jan 2009

It is reported that there is a possibility that Japan's integrated steelmakers will get inquiries from nations in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia for Japanese supplies of heavy rails in large amounts.

According to market sources, behind the possibility are many cancellations of the provisional agreements under which China's several steelmakers have taken heavy rail orders for export shipments to destinations in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia.

Rail requirements are estimated to total nearly 4,500,000 tonnes for the rail weighing 50 kilogram per month. The central government intends to give priority to purchases of rails from domestic steelmakers such as Panzhihua Iron & Steel Group Co, Baotou Iron & Steel Group Co and Anshan Iron & Steel Group Corporation. As a result, chances are Chinese steelmakers will find it difficult to negotiate for new deals of rail exports to the world's destinations.

On their part, Japanese integrated steelmakers face the prospects of slack rail exports to the USA for shipments in 2009 because of an economic slump there. Besides, pressure is building on the Japanese steelmakers to make a major review of price terms in the rail exports they negotiate anew with US railroad corporations. As a result, there is speculation that the Japanese steelmakers' rail exports to the USA this year may decline to around half their export volume last year.

(Sourced from TEX Report Ltd)

Iron ore laden CSL Argosy freed after running aground near Annapolis

- 21 Jan 2009

The Associated Press reported that a cargo ship that ran aground in the Chesapeake Bay north of Annapolis has been re floated after thousands of tonnes of iron ore were unloaded.

The Bahamian flagged vessel CSL Argosy ran aground in the Craig Hill Channel on Saturday while heading to Baltimore and was freed around 10 PM on Monday.

The Coast Guard said more than 19,000 tonnes of iron ore was moved to barges to lighten the ship and was delivered to Baltimore.

The ship is anchored near Annapolis while the crew inspects the ship, but the Coast Guard there are no signs of damage or pollution.

The cause of the grounding is under investigation.

(Sourced from AP)

Lion halts operations at its HBI and DRI mills on high gas cost

- 21 Jan 2009

The Star reported that Perwaja Holdings Bhd is still uncertain whether to stop production at its direct reduced iron plant, while Lion Group has temporarily stopped operations at its hot briquetted iron and DRI steel mills given the high cost of gas.

As per report, Lion’s Antara Steel Mills Sdn Bhd’s HBI plant in Labuan and the Lion DRI Sdn Bhd plant in Banting, which use gas as feedstock in their production process, have stopped production since October and November 2008 respectively.

Mr Tan Sri Pheng Yin Huah MD of Perwaja said that the plant was currently still running at 50% of its installed capacity of 1.5 million tonnes a year. He added that "We want to see the government bring down the gas tariff as soon as possible to reflect the current world gas prices. It is difficult for many players, including Perwaja, to cope with the high cost and want the government to revert to the previous gas prices before the hike in June 2008."

Meanwhile, a Lion Group spokesman said that it’s HBI and DRI plants could no longer bear the high cost of gas, which had doubled to MYR 22.58 per million British thermal units since June 2008. He added that "Given such high cost, we are unable to compete with overseas producers whose gas prices are much lower than ours. Since we stopped production, they are currently doing maintenance work. We will try to re deploy them to other operations and not retrench anyone unless all the other operations are also affected by the increasingly difficult operating environment of high cost and weak demand."

The spokesman said that the high electricity tariffs effective July 1st 2008 also affected the group’s steel making plants as well as other steel mills in Malaysia which use huge amounts of electricity in their electric arc furnaces to produce molten steel. He added that "Many steel mills, including our Megasteel Sdn Bhd and Amsteel Sdn Bhd, are now running at about 30% to 40% capacity."

(Sourced from biz.thestar.com.my)

Liberia inks pact with China Union for Bong iron ore mines

- 21 Jan 2009

APA-Monrovia reported that the Liberian government and the Chinese mining company China Union have finally signed a 25 year USD 2.6 billion mineral development agreement for the mining of iron ore in Bong Mines in central Bong County in northern Liberia.

The concession agreement was signed on Monday following days of intense negotiations between Liberia’s inter ministerial council and officials of China Union. The agreement is expected to be sent to the national legislature for ratification and subsequent approval.

Speaking during the official signing ceremony, Lands, Mines and Energy Minister, Dr Eugene Shannon and National Investment Commission Chairman Dr Richard Tolbert, described the signing of the agreement as a significant milestone for Liberia’s economic revitalization.

Dr Tolbert said the signing and subsequent ratification of the mineral agreement with China would improve private capital growth and enhance government’s development efforts.

Mr Yin Fu You CEO of China Union said that the signing of the agreement is the beginning of successful corporate relations with the Liberian government.

The concession which will provide more than 3,000 job opportunities has been described as the largest investment ever in Liberia, more than the USD 1.7 billion mineral development agreement signed nearly two years ago with the world’s largest steel company, Mittal.

(Sourced from APA-Monrovia)

Directory of Steel Pipe Makers in China

- 21 Jan 2009

Welded pipe and seamless pipe are the two major categories of tubular products in China and are not only used domestically but are exported across the world.

China's seamless pipe enterprises began expansion from 2004. By end of 2006, the nation's capacity of this products reached 16.5 million tonnes. As the world's first producer, China has over 300 seamless steelmakers, a part of which possess first rate manufacturing technology and most advanced facilities, bringing domestic sufficiency close to 90%.

On welded pipe, the producers are distributed more scattered, bulk of which are privately owned and have a relatively big capacity. Yet, many productions are affected by seasonal factors and actual output can be less than the total capacity of 37 million tonnes. ERW accounts for around 80% of the total welded pipe production capacity.

Published in December 2008, 'Directory of Steel Pipe Makers in China ' has been comprehensively researched and prepared, to bring you a fully up to date guide to Chinese steel pipe industries.

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Content:
This report covers name and product details of 1208 steel pipe manufacturers of China in alphabetical as well as location wise order. Look at the information you'll get in the 'Directory of Steel Pipe Makers in China'
• Company name -1208 entries
• Address-1208 entries
• Email-1193 entries
• Phone number-1207 entries
• Fax number -1203 entries
• Mob -487 entries

Format: PDF File
Total no of pages – 629
Delivery by Email on receipt of payment

Price: SD 500 or equivalent in INR
Additional Charges would be levied for delivery of file on a CD or in printed form

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Ordering the report is simple. You can order your copy to reports@steelguru.com , who will send you an invoice of the report.

Russian tycoons plan Kremlin backed BHP

- 21 Jan 2009

According to Ms Larisa Zelkova spokeswoman for Mr Vladimir Potanin, two Russian metals billionaires have proposed the creation of a mining giant part owned by the Kremlin that would wipe out existing debts and rival the world's top miners.

Russian billionaires Mr Potanin and Mr Oleg Deripaska who both own stakes in Norilsk Nickel, plan to invite other companies to swap some of their debt to the state for a stake in a much larger company.

Ms Larisa Zelkova said that "We are preparing proposals on swapping debt for a stake in a big company a Russian BHP Billiton."

Ms Zelkova declined to identify the companies involved and give more details. Russia's steel and mining giants, which enjoyed record profits as commodity prices boomed, were left exposed to massive debt repayments as the global financial crisis reversed demand. Many have refinanced their loans with state owned banks.

Mr Kevin Dougherty co-manager of the Pharos Russia Fund said that "The impetus for this deal is that some of these companies want state support servicing their debt and see this mega merger as an easier path than undergoing individual restructuring. The state is also keen to form such a national champion, so this fits in with their interests as well."

Vedomosti business daily said that the proposed national company, in which the state could take a blocking stake of at least 25% plus one share, would be formed by merging Norilsk the world's largest nickel miner with several steel makers. The newspaper said that Metalloinvest, Evraz Group and Mechel were included in a draft proposal to be sent on Monday to Mr Igor Sechin deputy PM of Russian. Potash miner Uralkali could also join the group.

The state in exchange for a stake in the company, could write off the debts of each company's owners and contribute its 60% stake in the world's largest titanium maker, VSMPO Avisma.

Vedomosti said that the Russian group's market capitalization could reach between USD 70 billion and USD 100 billion, placing it among the biggest mining companies in the world. BHP Billiton has a market capitalization of USD 125 billion.

(Sourced from Businessspectator.com)

Production pruning - Kumba warns of falling output

- 21 Jan 2009

Anglo American controlled Kumba Iron Ore warned of a dip in output and reduced in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Kumba told shareholders the first three quarters of 2008 had been strong and resulted in the company expecting full year headline earnings and basic earnings to be between ZAR 6.8 billion and ZAR 7.5 billion against the previous period’s restated ZAR 3.1 billion and ZAR 3.2 billion respectively due to high iron ore prices and a weaker rand versus the dollar.

It said that “However, the performance for the year was adversely affected in late 2008 by the unprecedented volatility in the global economy.”

It added that “Production volumes in the fourth quarter were marginally reduced as Sishen Mine increased the quality of its production in order to secure export volumes. n addition certain export sales volumes were lower than planned due to lower demand and limited volumes of lower quality production were sold at below contractual prices.”

Slowdown signs - Chinese house prices may cool down in 2009

- 21 Jan 2009

It is reported that Beijing is planning to construct 28.3 million square meters of residential buildings this year and 43% of this would be affordable housing. Shanghai, too has a similar plan with affordable housing accounting for 45% of the newly constructed dwellings this year.

Mr Qi Ji vice minister of housing and urban-rural construction, said the government would spend CNY 900 billion on building affordable housing over the next three years.

Mr Huang Yu vice president, China Index Academy a property research institute said "The entrance of so many government-subsidized dwellings would definitely drag down property prices and reinforce people's wait-and-see attitude."

Mr Ma Jun chief economist of Deutsche Bank said the trend of property market usually follows the overall economy. He said that "There is still room for property prices in China to fall this year."

Mr Huang, however, feels that property transaction volumes would rebound this year as prices adjust themselves to more reasonable levels. He said that "The second-home buyers will play an important role in this year's housing market as more favorable policies can be expected to reduce transaction costs."

Experts are of the view that the government needs to introduce measures such as permitting buyers to deduct their home purchases from income tax to revive the property market. Finance ministry officials, however, feel that new tax incentives are unlikely in the near term.

Wide plate prices see major improvement in MEA

- 21 Jan 2009

Plates in 3x12 meters in S275 JR grade have seen major improvement in prices across MEA except for UAE in the first 15 days of January 2009.

CountryCURDecJanChange
UAEAED57505080-13%
Saudi ArabiaSAR3600480025%
QatarQAR3540470825%
KuwaitKWD3704038%
BahrainBHD36050629%


Price reduction trend in UAE is attributed to the fact that these plates did not go down much during July to December 2008
CountryCURJulAugSepOctNovDecChange
UAEAED5600550054005400532057503%
Saudi ArabiaSAR580355905665544038403600-38%
QatarQAR568455325547530437793540-38%
KuwaitKWD397396394394394370-7%
BahrainBHD580559567544504360-38%


To keep tab on steel prices subscribe to services of www.steelprices-middleeast.com by registering or send a mail to admin@steelprices-middleeast.com. Please note that this is a paid service.

Salzgitter to invest in flue gas treatment plant

- 21 Jan 2009

It is reported that Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH has decided to invest in a flue gas treatment plant which will enable the sinter plant of the Salzgitter works meeting the stringent conditions of the German 'TA Luft' environmental legislation. The order for engineering, supply, erection and commissioning of this plant has been awarded to Paul Wurth Umwelttechnik.

The Paul Wurth EFA flue gas desulphurization technology utilizes an entrained flow absorber with hydrated lime and lignite coke as reagents and thus, hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids, dioxins and furans are bound in addition. These reactions are followed by bag filter dry cleaning of the gas, down to extremely low dust content. Comparatively low specific consumption of the reagents and moderate investment cost brought the operator to favor the EFA technology.

The new gas cleaning facility will be installed downstream of the existing electrostatic precipitator and main blower; more than 680,000 cubic meters per hour of sintering off-gas are going to be processed. The project schedule foresees commissioning of the plant in March 2010.

(Sourced from www.steel-grips.com)

Production pruning - Evraz sees full production in 2009

- 21 Jan 2009

Reuters reported that Mr Alexander Abramov of Russian steelmaker Evraz Group in an interview with Vedomosti newspaper said that Evraz has raised output in January and will probably return to full production this year.

Mr Abramov said that "I have been an optimist for five days now since I realized that demand was coming back. January is usually a dead month but suddenly we had demand for reinforcing rods and wire.”

Mr Abramov said that Evraz plants are using 20% to 30% more capacity in January than in December.

Mr Abramov said that its mills in Ukrainehave returned to full production. He said that "We have restored production almost completely in Ukraine. The fall of the hryvnia helped, since our Ukrainian businesses are export oriented to a large degree and a cheaper national currency, was a key factor in restoring the economics of our Ukrainian assets."

Evraz reported production of 13.7 million tonnes in the first nine months of 2008.

In late October Evraz announced production cuts at domestic mills by about a quarter starting from November and cut capital expenditure for the end of 2008.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Directory of Mining Industry in India

- 21 Jan 2009

Mining in India is over 6000 years old. Mining industry in India includes both metallurgical and mineral mining industries in India and together they form the backbone of the industrial development of India as they provide the basic raw materials like coal, petrol, mining minerals, steel, copper, Aluminium metals etc. to the India manufacturers.

It was only after independence that the mining sector in India experienced a phenomenal increase in growth rate. In total there are 84 minerals being produced in India including 4 fuels, 11 metallic, 49 non-metallic industrial and 20 minor minerals. The products of Indian mining sector consist of coal, lignite, limestone, iron ore, bauxite, copper, lead, zinc and many more contributed by over 3100 mines located all over the country. Productions from open cast mines account for more than 80 percent of the total mineral production in the country. So the quantity of minerals being excavated annually from the Indian mines can be determined by summing up the quantity of overburden with the annual mineral production.

Published in January 2009, 'Directory of Mining Industry in India' has been comprehensively researched and prepared, to bring you a fully up to date guide to Indian mining industries.

Why spend hundreds of hours searching for new contacts? Invest in a copy TODAY!

Content:
This directory covers name and product details of 162 mining industries of India in alphabetical as well as location wise order. Look at the information you'll get in the 'Directory of Mining Industry in India'
• Company name -162 entries
• Address-71 entries
• Email-141 entries
• Phone number-162 entries
• Fax number -156 entries
• Mob -6 entries

Format:PDF File
Total no of pages – 96
Delivery by Email on receipt of payment

Price: SD 350 or equivalent in INR
Additional Charges would be levied for delivery of file on a CD or in printed form

How to order: rdering the report is simple. You can order your copy to reports@steelguru.com , who will send you an invoice of the report.

Indian Steelmakers Directory 2008

- 21 Jan 2009

Published in February 2008, “Indian Steelmakers Directory 2008” has been comprehensively researched and prepared, to bring you a fully up to date guide to India's rapidly growing steel makers. This Directory will be extremely useful to businesses that deal specifically with companies in the iron and steel industry, ferro alloys, consumable suppliers, raw material sellers, equipment makers and others.

Whether you are a product manager, in charge of marketing, raw material seller, in equipment business or simply interested to remain in touch with the latest developments in the Indian steel industries, this directory will save you time and effort in finding the information you need.

Why spend hundreds of hours searching for new contacts? Invest in a copy TODAY!

This directory covers name and details of 720 of Indian steelmakers in Alphabetical as well as location wise order.

Look at the information you'll get in the 'Indian Steelmakers Directory'

• Company name -723 entries
• Address-723 entries
• Phone number-723 entries
• Fax number -590 entries
• Email -446 entries

Report Summary:
1. Published: Feb 2008
2. Format PDF File (Delivery by Email on receipt of payment)
3. Total no of pages – 396

Price: USD 1250 or equivalent in INR
(Additional Charges would be levied for delivery of file on a CD or in printed form)

You can order your copy to reports@steelguru.com

CAPEX cuts - Saudi smelter project delayed after Rio pullout

- 21 Jan 2009

Reuters reported that Saudi Arabian Mining Company, Maaden, will delay by 3 years the start of production at a planned aluminium smelter after mining giant Rio Tinto Alcan abandoned the project.

It may be pointed out that Rio Tinto Alcan said in December 2008 it had dropped plans to take a 49% stake in the USD 10 billion smelter because of the global financial crisis.

Mr Abdullah Dabbagh CEO of Maaden said that “We are looking for the plant to be in production in 2015.”

He added that the firm remained committed to going ahead with the project but it would now be carried out in phases. Mr Dabbagh further said that “We are making presentations to our board with a new plan. It is going to take place in two or three phases.”

Maaden has said that it could reconsider the size of the smelter in the light of the global financial crisis. The two companies had initially announced plans to start production at the smelter in 2012. Maaden, in which the Saudi government is the largest shareholder, holds the remaining 51% in the capital of AlumCo. It intends to develop a 740,000 tonnes per year aluminium smelter using bauxite from Saudi mines.

Maaden is investing SAR 60 billion in projects including phosphate, bauxite, gold and industrial minerals. The investments are a crucial part of government plans to diversify an economy heavily reliant on oil export income.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Allegheny Technologies names new VP for its international operations

- 21 Jan 2009

LexisNexis reported that Allegheny Technologies Incorporated, a diversified specialty metals producer, revealed on January 16th that Mr Carl R Moulton will become the company's new vice president, International, with effect from March 1st 2009.

Mr Moulton will take over from Mr Douglas A Kittenbrink, executive VP Corporate Planning and International Business Development.

Mr Kittenbrink is leaving the company to make more time for his family's business pursuits and to work with non profit and charitable organizations.

Currently president of ATI's Uniti titanium joint venture, Mr Moulton will keep this role and will also take on responsibility for the group's commercial activities in Europe and Asia, as well as its STAL Precision Rolled Strip joint venture.

Mr Moulton's career began as a sales representative with Allegheny Ludlum in 1972 and he joined Jessop Steel in 1981 as VP of marketing. He was president of Jessop Steel when ATI acquired Jessop in 1993. Since then he has served in various commercial and strategic roles at ATI and became president of Uniti LLC when it was formed in 2003.

Indian FMC permits MCX to launch imported thermal coal futures

- 21 Jan 2009

PTI reported that commodity market regulator Forward Markets Commission has given permission to the Multi Commodity Exchange of India to launch future contracts in gasoline and heating oil.

Mr BC Khatua chairman of FMC said that "We have given permission to launch petroleum products futures contract and imported thermal coal futures contract to MCX. He said that we have already permitted bourses to launch ATF futures. There was a demand from the industry for futures contract in other petroleum products as well."

MCX official said that "MCX is in the advanced stage of launching futures in gasoline and heating oil as well as imported thermal coal. We are talking to stakeholders and will soon launch these contracts."

He said that the regulator approved imported coal futures proposal of MCX last week.

In view of the poor quality of coal available locally, Indian coal import has increased rapidly and is expected to touch 50 million tonne in 2009. The country imports 20% to 25% of coal from South Africa and the rest from Indonesia.

(Sourced from Press Trust of India)

US DoC to review AD duty on Taiwanese carbon steel pipes

- 21 Jan 2009

It is reported that US Department of Commerce has initiated an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on certain circular welded carbon steel pipes and tubes from Taiwan in response to a request from Allied Tube & Conduit Corporation.

This review covers Yieh Hsing Enterprise Co Limited for the period May 1st 2007 through April 30th 2008.

The DoC intends to rescind this review after determining that Yieh Hsing did not have entries during the period of review upon which to assess antidumping duties.

Rio Tinto in no rush to sell US assets

- 21 Jan 2009

Mining Journal reported that the financial turmoil has slowed Rio Tinto's plans to shed some US assets and it will wait until it secures the right price.

Mr Preston Chiaro CEO of Rio’s energy & minerals unit said that energy would remain an integral part of the company's business even if it sold some of its assets to raise funds to help pay its debts.

Mr Chiaro said that "We have put up four of our five coal mines in the US for sale over a year but there are no buyers. We will hang on to them, they are profitable and safe, and we will not sell for a bargain price."

Mr Chiaro also rejected speculation Rio Tinto may sell its stake in its 76% stake in Australia's Coal Allied Industries. He added that plans for an initial public offering in its US coal business have been postponed due to poor market conditions.

He also informed that Rio Tinto's JV hydrogen power project in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, is on track with engineering and design completed. Construction is due to start next year and commissioning is set for 2013. Rio Tinto and BP hold a 20% stake each in the project while Abu Dhabi's Masdar holds 60%.

As per report, Rio Tinto has USD 38 billion in debts

(Sourced from www.miningjournal.com)


Recession reports - South Korea to help ailing builders and shipbuilders

- 21 Jan 2009

Yonhap reported that South Korean banks and non bank financial institutions will weed out 2 ailing companies and reschedule debts at 14 others to keep potential defaults from rattling the slumping economy.

Korea Federation of Banks said that the restructuring drive will force the financial firms, mostly banks, to put aside about KRW 2.23 trillion in additional loan loss reserves, which will likely have only a limited impact on their financial health.

KFB said in a statement that "Local creditor financial firms decided to end support to two companies and put 11 builders and three shipbuilders under a bank initiated debt rescheduling program."

KFB said that the two companies, Daeju Construction Co and C&Heavy Industries Co, will be urged to file for court protection or survive on their own. It added that creditor financial institutions will help 14 companies, including mid sized builder Keangnam Enterprises, normalize their business by rescheduling their debts.

KFB said that local lenders will start the process of reviewing credit risks at other ailing construction firms and shipyards soon. They plan to supply cash to companies that are suffering from a temporary liquidity crunch.

The move comes as many small and mid sized construction firms and shipbuilders have been feeling the pinch of the global financial crisis, with some facing a severe liquidity squeeze.

Analysts have warned that a possible bankruptcy chain reaction will undermine the soundness of the banking sector, dealing a harsh blow to the whole economy.

(Sourced from www.yonhapnews.co.kr)

CRS prices see mixed trend in MEA in 15 days of January

- 21 Jan 2009

It is reported that commercial grade CR market in MEA has witnessed mixed trends during the first 15 days of January 2009
Commercial

CountryCURDecJanChange
UAEAED34163300-4%
Saudi ArabiaSAR350535000%
QatarQAR344434430%
KuwaitKWD258246-5%
BahrainBHD3623764%


The price movement in July to December 2008 is tabled below
CountryCURJulAugSepOctNovDecChange
UAEAED480048004800466043803416-29%
Saudi ArabiaSAR574055555280493037403505-39%
QatarQAR562454835177481936163444-39%
KuwaitKWD341341341340325258-24%
BahrainBHD575556528493404362-37%

To keep tab on steel prices subscribe to services of www.steelprices-middleeast.com by registering or send a mail to admin@steelprices-middleeast.com. Please note that this is a paid service.

Xinyu Steel new 3 million tonne HSM under test runs

- 21 Jan 2009

It is reported that Xinyu Steel's 3 million tonnes steel sheet project, the 1580mm hot rolling test run has got success recently which boosts the steel mill to cope with the market challenges more handily.

As per report, 15800mm hot conti-rolling project, designed with the production capacity of 3 million tonnes per year and width of 1.2mm to 16mm and thickness of 700mm to 1430mm has started construction since April 2007.

It would mainly produce shipbuilding steel, carbon structural steel, pipeline steel, low-alloy steel, electric steel and etc, which are widely used in shipping, auto, bridge, construction, mechanical industries. As the provincial key projects, the line will bring more profits to the company after putting into production.

(Source: http://www.xinyu.gov.cn)

Newcastle is world largest coal export terminal

- 21 Jan 2009

AAP reported that Newcastle has out traded Queensland's Hay Point to become the world's largest exporter of coal.

As per report, the NSW government said that despite claims NSW is already in recession, the Hunter region sea port has enjoyed record trade figures across a number of commodities in the first half of the current financial year.

Mr Joe Tripodi, minister of ports & waterways of NSW said that the strong growth has been led by a jump in the amount of coal exports.

He added that "A total of 49,557,567 tonnes of trade was registered by the port for July to December 2008 which was 3 million tonnes more than for the corresponding period the previous year. Coal exports were the major factor with 47.05 million tonnes being exported, including a record monthly total of 8.55 million tonnes in December 2008."

Mr Tripodi further said that the record trade figures were due to ongoing steady demand for thermal coal, which was expected to continue. He noted that 85% of coal exported from Newcastle is thermal coal, while Hay Point mostly exports coking coal.

He also pointed out that "Demand for thermal coal, which is used for electricity generation is holding up much better than coking coal so Newcastle's domination over Queensland's terminals is set to continue."

(Sourced from AAP)

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