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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shandong ports coal imports down 9.5 pct in Jan

Feb 25, 2011

Coal imports at ports of Shandong province of East China fell 9.5 percent on year to 2.04 million tonnes in Jan, the Ministry of Commerce announced on Feb 24.

The imports was a slip of 3.1 percent from last month, showed statistics issued by the Qingdao Customs.

Coal imported from Indonesia fell 24.1 percent on year to 504,000 tonnes, from Australia plunged 64.3 percent to 439,000 tonnes, and from the U.S at 409,000 tonnes as compared with no imports in last Jan, showed statistics.

The import price averaged US$142.3 a tonne, a monthly high since July 2008.

Meanwhile, coking coal imported at these ports amounted to 972,000 tonnes, accounting for 47.5 percent of the total imports, and anthracite to 414,000 tonnes.
(sourced:en.sxcoal.com)

Anhui asks miners to keep 2011 power coal contract price unchanged

Feb 25,2011

East China’s Anhui province called for the province’s four mining groups to maintain contract price for power generating coal at the same level as last year, China Electric Power News reported.

Four mining groups including Huainan Mining Group, Huaibei Mining Group, SDIC Xinji, and Wanbei Coal-Electricity Group are asked to supply 10% more contracted coal to local power plants in 2011, according to a circular jointly issued by the provincial commodity price bureau, economy and information commission and energy bureau.

And, these coal companies are also required to boost self-discipline and set contract price based on calorific value. Hiking price in any forms would be punished, the circular said.

Priority should be given to meeting demand of the province’s key coal-fired power plants, it added.(sourced:en.sxcoal.com)

Tags:Huainan Mining Group, Huaibei Mining Group, SDIC Xinji, Wanbei Coal-Electricity Group, raw material, coal supply,

Indonesian Ports to Clear Coal Backlogs in Three Months

Feb 25,2011 08:08:09

The Indonesian Government will clear the bulk coal backlogs at its ports in the next three months, as the re-application process for exporters has been completed.

A change in Indonesia coal and mining laws requiring cargoes to undergo extra surveys to stop tax evasion halted the shipment of 3.5 million tons of coal due for export to China and India, reports Reuters.

Indonesia trade ministry mining exports unit head Junaedi, who only has one name, told Reuters that out of 320 firms that have submitted applications to resume export, the government has given approval to 81.

However the backlog of cargoes remains, with some shippers still waiting for export permits from the energy ministry. (sourced:Reuters)
Tags:tax evasion,China, India, export permit, raw material,

North China ports see coal stocks up 10.18 pct


Feb 26,2011

Coal stockpiles at four major loading ports in northern China slightly surged 10.18 percent in the week from Feb 18 to 27, according to a report published by industry portal cqcoal.com.

As of Feb 27, a total of 16.24 million tonnes coal was stockpiled in ports of Qinhuangdao, SDIC Caofeidian, Jingtang and Tianjin ports, increasing 1.5 million tonnes from a week ago.

Qinhuangdao, China’s top loading port of the fuel, had 8.26 million tonnes coal in stock on Feb 27, jumping 11.33 percent or 841,000 tonnes from the previous week, data showed.

Meanwhile, coal stocks at ports of SDIC Caofeidian, Jingtang and Tianjin grew 5.77 percent, 16.87 percent and 6.08 percent to 2.38 million, 3.74 million and 1.86 million tonnes respectively, an increase of 130,000, 540,000 and 107,000 tonnes from a week ago, according to statistics.

Navigation at Qinhuangdao and Jingtang ports was closed for 47 and nearly 54 hours, 40 hours each for Caofeidian and Tianjin ports. Meanwhile, coal handled at these ports plunged.

(China Coal Resource, en.sxcoal)

Yankuang Group targets 80Mt coal output this yr

Feb 26, 2011

Yankuang Group, the parent of Yanzhou Coal Mining Co., is targeting 80 million tonnes coal output in 2011, growing 30 percent from 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing the company’s chairman.

The increase would mainly come from its Australian mines. In Dec 2009, Yankuang purchased Australia’s Felix Resource Ltd at the cost of A$3.54 billion.

The group expects its coal output to reach 150 million tonnes in 2015, increasing 1.5 times from 60 million tonnes in 2010, chairman Wang Xin was cited as said.

Coal produced by Yankuang had stood at 40 million tonnes in last years, and surged to 60 million tonnes in 2010, thanks to increased imports from Australia, said the chairman.
(sourced:en.sxcoal.com)

Coal India Awards $130m Supply Contract

Sat, Feb26,2011

Coal India has signed a contract with US-based mining equipment maker P&H for the procurement and supply of heavy mining equipment.

The contract, worth INR5.9bn ($130m), includes acquisition of two 42 cubic metre shovels and 17 years of maintenance and repair services.

Coal India Chairman Partha Bhattacharyya told the Business Standard that the equipment will help the firm to stop outsourcing overburden removal.

The firm will set up the shovels in its south-eastern coalfields to maintain productivity levels.

The firm has also placed 16 new dumpers worth INR2.56bn ($60m), to evacuate the coal mined from these shovels.

The shovels will be delivered to Coal India within 14 months.

Fenwei to hold coking coal market seminar in Marh


Feb26, 2011

China coal & Coke Market Forum in the theme of "Global Coking Coal Resource & Market Seminar", will be held by China Coal Resource (CCR) on Mar 23-25, 2011, at Taiyuan Jinci Hotel, Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, P.R. China.

China Coal Resource (CCR) called on the industrial experts, analysts and researchers at home and abroad to gather in Shanxi, the largest coking coal production base of the world, to make further communication and discussions on these hot issues.

Meanwhile, delegates from investment, securities, coking coal producer, steel maker, coal logistics to other related industries will also present at this meeting. Hereby we are delighted to welcome our international partners joining us for this forum.

To view the Letter of Invitation, please visit http://eni.sxcoal.com/file/Letter%20of%20Invitation.pdf;

To learn more details about the forum, please visit http://en.sxcoal.com/html/enforum.html;

Spot prices for low-volatility coking coal slumped $12.92, or 4 percent in U.S. Energy Publishing says


Feb 26,2011 2:14 AM GMT+0530
By Mario Parker

Metallurgical coal prices on the U.S. spot market decreased on scarce trading prior to the settlement of negotiations on the quarterly benchmark contract, Energy Publishing Inc. said.

Spot prices for low-volatility coking coal slumped $12.92, or 4 percent, to $308.33 a ton in the week ended today, according to the Knoxville, Tennessee-based data provider. High- volatility coal dropped $27.50, or 9.6 percent, to $260.

“Spot activity remains sparse, but the terminals are bustling with export business booked earlier,” Energy Publishing said.

UBS AG said Feb. 21 that BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, may offer discounted prices for its metallurgical coal to Japanese steelmakers as it seeks to transition to monthly contracts from quarterly.

Energy Publishing says it surveys buyers and sellers of coal to determine pricing.

Tags: Energy Publishing Inc. Knoxville, Tennessee based data provider, quarterly benchmark contract, Japanese steelmakers, raw material,

ArcelorMittal Bremen orders twin-ladle furnace from Siemens VAI to boost the efficiency of the ladle treatment facility in its Bremen Steelworks


ByLinz, Austria,
Feb10,2011

ArcelorMittal Bremen orders twin-ladle furnace from Siemens VAI to boost the efficiency of the ladle treatment facility in its Bremen Steelworks Siemens VAI Metals Technologies has received an order from ArcelorMittal Bremen GmbH to supply a 300 ton twin-ladle furnace. The plant will be constructed in the works of ArcelorMittal Bremen GmbH to replace the two conditioning stands currently used for treating liquid steel. This will substantially reduce steel treatment costs. The project has a volume of several million euros. The new ladle furnace is scheduled to come into operation in February 2012.


The twin-ladle furnace will be installed directly downstream of the LD converter in the ArcelorMittal Bremen GmbH Steelworks and be designed to ensure the best possible logistic links to other parts of the plant and reduce crane movements to an essential minimum. A cross transfer ladle car will link up to the existing RH vacuum treatment unit. In addition, an ingot casting plant for producing special products will be served via a transverse track.

In future, it is intended to use the ladle furnace to treat as many melts as possible – some 3.5 million tons of crude steel per annum. Its main task will be to heat the melt, achieving a heating rate of 4 °C per minute for a 30-minute period of treatment. Optimum control of the electrodes will be ensured by the Simelt AC electrode control system. The tapping temperature on the LD converter can be reduced by between 40 °C and 60 °C, which will lower the consumption of refractory material in the converter. The ladle furnace will increase the efficiency of the ladle treatment facility, and reduce operating costs. The ladle furnace will also be able handle fine alloying work and blowing operations, which had previously taken place in the conditioning stands. The equipment supplied for this purpose will include two six-track wire feeding machines.

ArcelorMittal Bremen GmbH is a flat steel producer. It employs an integrated blast furnace / converter system to produce high-quality steel grades, primarily for the automotive and construction industries. It also intends to increase the production of tube steel grades in future.
The main reasons for winning this order were Siemens VAI's expertise in the industry and the excellent working relationship during the pre-project phase.

Tags: reduce crane movements, ingot casting plant, crude steel, flat steel producer

SOURCE

Mines Ministry suspends NALCO CMD



Feb 26, 2011

New Delhi: National Aluminium Company Ltd (NALCO) Chairman-cum-Managing Director AK Srivastava, who was caught allegedly taking bribe and is in CBI custody now, has been suspended by the government.

The mines ministry suspended Srivastava based on CBI charges, a top official said. BL Bagra, Director (Finance), has been given the additional charge of chairman-cum-managing director till further orders, the official added.

AK Srivastava, his wife Chandni along with their two accomplices Bhushan Lal Bajaj and his wife Anita Bajaj were sent to Central Bureau of Investigation custody till March 3 in a bribery case. They were arrested by the CBI on Friday night in New Delhi and produced at the Patiala House Court on Saturday.

"The case is required to be thoroughly investigated and for that sustained interrogation of the accused persons is required. Accordingly, I am satisfied that prayer for police custody of accused persons is justified," Special CBI judge OP Saini said.

The CBI had demanded seven days remand of the accused to unearth details of criminal conspiracy.

Earlier, there was there was high drama at the Patiala House Court when the four accused were produced. Chandni Srivastav broke down inside the court and claimed that her husband was not involved in the bribery case. She pleaded that the matter was between her and the Bajajs only, adding that Srivastava was not involved in the dealings.

Srivastava also pleaded before the court to not send him to police custody as he would lose his job if put in custody for more than two days. He also said that he was willing to help the CBI in investigating the matter.

"I will lose my job if I am in custody for more than two days. I am willing to take leave and join investigations. Please don't send me to police custody," Srivastava pleaded.

The CBI also conducted raids at the residence of Gurinder Singh Bhatia in Indore after leads from Srivastava. Bhatia is the owner of Indore-based company, Bhatia International which was allegedly bribing Srivastava. The company supplies coal and coal products to industries.

The CBI arrested Srivastava and his wife for accepting an illegal gratification of three gold bricks, each weighing 1 kg, of 24 carat gold. His wife was accepting the bribe from Anita Bajaj. The Bajajs were reportedly brokering a deal between Srivastava and Bhatia International.

Chandni accompanied by Anita, had just deposited the three gold bricks in a bank locker of the Bank of Maharashtra in New Delhi when she was arrested.

The bank locker was in the name of Anita but was being operated by Chandni "as benami".

A search of the locker revealed seven more gold bricks of 1 kg each, golden ornaments weighing 188 grams and Rs 9.5 lakh in cash. A search of Chandni led to the recovery of Rs 5 lakh from her handbag and the key of another locker in the name of Anita.

(sourced from PTI)

Supramax index was up about 10% this week - Vistaar


Saturday, 26 February 11

The market started on a weak note and seemed to have lost the momentum seen the previous week. The main sectors affected were Cape and Panamax index which were down by almost 10 pct , where as the BDI was down by about 5 pct.

Supramax index continued to be firm and was up about 10 pct and handy size index was also slightly up by about 3 pct. The signs of iron import slowing down has started to show this week as was expected and the market. The bunker prices have jumped quite a bit almost touching US$ 660 pmt ex Singapore for IFO 380 cst, but started to soften a bit towards close of the week on Friday.

The average charter rates was at Cape/US$ 4653 per day , Panamax/US$ 14530 per day , Supramax/US$ 14483 per day and Handy size/US$ 10215 per day.

The Supramax index in the feast (S6 route) continued to be firm and was up by 19 pct (up by US$ 2027 per day) and closed at US$ 12818 per day (last week US$ 10791 per day). The EC India/ China (S7 route) lost steam as there are signs of iron ore prices dropping indicating that the demand may be slowing and the S7 route was up only by 3 pct (up by US$ 530 per day) and closed at US$ 17838 per day (last week US$ 17308 per day). The S6 route may continue to be firm, where as the S& route may be softening a slightly.

The futures for three years (2011-2013) was at around Cape/US$ 19000 per day, Panamax/US$ 16500 per day, Supramax/US$ 15000 per day , Handy size/US$ 11000 per day.

The congestion in EC Australia almost at same levels at 79 vessels this week (last week 92 vessels). The vessels waiting at main coal loading ports were at Hay point/12, DBCT/2, Gladstone/11, Abbot Point/Nil, New Castle/36, Port Kembla/2 vessels. On the WC Australia iron ore vessels waiting reduced to 42 vessels (last week 52 vessels).

The waiting at Indian ports for coal vessels was quite normal and the main east coast ports were reported empty because of no coking coal vessels.

The crude prices jumped sharply with tensions continuing in Libya and Bahrain and other neighboring countries and Brent crude prices was at US$ 112.34 per barrel (last week US$ 103.06 per barrel). Bunker prices also firmed up sharply and was at US$ 646.50 pmt (last week US$ 609.00 pmt) for IFO 380 cst ex Singapore on 25th Feb 2011.

Tags:spot freight rates for coal, spot freight rates for Iron-ore cargo, Singapore, shipping

Reported by Vistaar Shipping, Singapore


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RINL demand for iron ore mines in AP rejected


Saturday, 26 Feb 2011

Mr Beni Prasad Verma minister of state for steel has said that Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited had applied for grant of 2 mining leases in the state of Andhra Pradesh and the same have been rejected by the Andhra Pradesh government on the grounds that these two mining leases were granted to earlier applicant ie Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation.

In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today he said that in October, 2006, October, 2010 and November, 2010, RINL has submitted applications for Prospecting License for three iron ore reserves in the state of Andhra Pradesh. These are:

1. Raidurg Section of Obulapuram Village in Anantapur District

2. Bayyaram Reserve Forest & Motlatimmapuram Reserve Forest of Kothagudem Division, Khammam District

3. Guduru reserve Forest of Warangal Sub Division, Warangal District.

India to become second largest steel producing nation in 2012


Saturday, 26 Feb 2011

Indian minister of state for steel Mr Beni Prasad Verma said that with a targeted production capacity of 120 million tonnes by 2012, India is expected to become the second largest steel producing nation very soon.

Mr Verma while addressing the “Indian Steel: Moving to the Next Orbit” at CII Steel Summit 2011 said ‘It is indeed a matter of pride that India is the largest producer of sponge iron in the world. During the last five years, the country has achieved a compounded average growth rate of over 9.2% in consumption of steel. With this consumption base and the targeted growth in GDP coupled with the emphasis of the Government on infrastructure, housing and other steel consuming sectors.”

Expressing confidence that demand of steel would increase manifolds, Verma said that there is a need to ensure that production also keeps pace with the level of consumption.

He said “Substantial capacity is getting added in both Public as well as Private sectors. Most of the major steel projects, particularly those in the brown field sites are progressing as per schedule. New players are also emerging in the field of steel making with significant prospects.”

Mr Verma added that “The mini steel sector has also been playing an important role in the economy in generating employment and meeting localized demand of steel. Substantial capacity has been also added in this sector and this segment is expected to grow further in years to come.” (sourced:ET)

Iran’s Hormozgan Steel carries out hot test runs at new slab mill


Friday, 25 February 2011

Iranian steelmaker Hormozgan Steel is currently carrying out hot test runs at it new slab-producing plant located close to Bandar Abbas, one of Iran's main ports on the Persian Gulf.

The new slab plant, with a designed annual capacity of 1.5 million mt which may later be expanded to 3 million mt, is expected to commence production operations, using sponge iron as feedstock, in the coming months.

Tags: slab , sponge iron , raw mat , semis , Iran , Middle East , investments , steelmaking

SAIL focusing on expanding dealer network in rural India


Saturday, 26 Feb 2011

The Steel Authority of India Limited is now giving special emphasis on expanding its scope of business in rural India as it plans to rope in at least two dealers in every district of the country.

To enhance efficiency of its retail activity, they are concentrating on availability of materials in small customized lots and bundles.

Sources said that to enhance product knowledge and popularize steel consumption among present and prospective buyers, SAIL has been holding frequent meetings of dealers with masons, structural engineers and architects.

SAIL has also introduced the exclusive dealer scheme which has helped to strengthen the activities of the network spread across the country. They also plan to open company owned retail shops which will serve as model stores in terms of service, products and information.

Over 2500 strong countrywide dealer network of Maharatna steel company spread over 635 districts covering all states and union territories of the country has achieved a growth rate of 8.7% in retail sale during the first nine months of the current financial year by achieving 504,000 tonnes of sales and registering a double digit growth in eastern and northern regions.

(Sourced from ET)

Spanish stainless steelmaker Acerinox posts €122.7 million net profit in 2010


Friday, 25 February 2011

The Spanish stainless steel producer Acerinox, S.A. has announced that in 2010 its profit after tax amounted to €122.7 million, compared to a loss of €229.2 million in 2009, while its sales came to €4.5 billion, increasing by 50.3 percent year on year.

"In the whole year, Acerinox worked with a melting capacity lower than 80 percent, which makes the achieved results very worthy, proving the success of the ‘Excellent Plan 2009-2010', which has allowed us to improve the competitiveness in the three factories, reads the company's statement.

In the given period, sales in Europe accounted for 40.3 percent of Acerinox' total sales, while 44.4 percent of total sales were made to the Americas. Acerinox supplied 9.1 percent of its total sales to Asia, 5.9 percent to Africa and 0.3 percent to Oceania.

In 2010, melting output amounted to 2.06 million metric tons, 14 percent higher than in 2009.

Regarding the outlook, Acerinox said that the demand recovery, sustained from the year end, and the increase of the alloy surcharges are favoring the orders entry and allowing the company to increase capacity utilization during the first quarter of 2011, which makes the company feel optimistic for the first quarter results. In addition, Acerinox said that the inventory level in the market will allow the consolidation of better price levels.

With the startup of the cold rolling mill in Bahru Stainless in the summer, the outputs of the other factories will increase to supply the new Asian factory of Acerinox with hot rolled coils.

Tags: stainless , stainless , Spain , Europe , fin. Reports , steelmaking , European Union , Mediterranean

EUROFER: EU low carbon roadmap 2050 is unacceptable



Friday, 25 February 2011

On February 25, the European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries (EUROFER) said it is against the EU's draft document ‘Low carbon economy roadmap 2050', which will be put forward for adoption by the European Commission on March 8.

In a statement entitled ‘EU low carbon roadmap 2050 unacceptable/ Japan buries emissions trading', EUROFER said that the adoption of the intended 80-95 reduction in EU emissions by 2050 "will lead to the deindustrialization of Europe."

"The confiscation of allowances from the emissions trading system, as proposed by the roadmap, will have exactly the same effect as a unilateral move to [a reduction of] 30 percent, this is unacceptable," EUROFER said, adding that "the models used by the Commission rely on biased assumptions which systematically underestimate the negative effects on industry and employment," and "for steel where they are technically unachievable."

EUROFER has cited Japan, which following the US and Australia, abandoned the idea of a national emissions trading system recognizing that this would discourage investment, hamper growth, jeopardize the competitive position of its industry and be environmentally counter-productive. "However, as even Japan now has buried its ambitions for an emissions trading system, the EU is completely isolated and should reconsider this concept," reads EUROFER's statement.

Tags: Europe, production, steelmaking, European Union

China develops third generation of automotive steel

Saturday, 26 Feb 2011

China Iron and Steel Research Institute Group announced that it took the lead in successfully developing the third generation of automotive steel and applied this technology into the industrial products trial stage.

Mr Weng Yuqing an academician from the Chinese Academy of Engineering said "After the application of the third generation of automotive steel, it is more likely for drivers to survive in the accident."

He said that at present, basically all cars in the world were made of the first generation of automotive steel. The third generation steel possesses high strength and high ductility which he said was two times better than the first generation in terms of tensile strength and extensibility.

According to the group, the newly developed material is expected to be applied commercially in 2014 in China by some automakers including Beijing Hyundai and FAW Volkswagen a major passenger sedan manufacturer jointly ventured by First Automobile Works Group Corporation of China and Volkswagen AG Audi AG and Volkswagen Automobile Investment Co Ltd.

As the largest auto producer in the world, China manufactured around 18.3 million cars in 2010 which has meant an increasing number of traffic accidents. According to data from the Traffic Management Bureau, there were 99,000 traffic accidents in the first six months of 2010 which killed 27,000 and caused 117,000 injured as well as CNY 410 million of direct property loss.
- People's Daily Online

Anshan acquires major stake in UK service center USS


Saturday, 26 Feb 2011

Chinese steel producer Anshan Iron and Steel Corporation through Ansteel Holdings Ltd is finalizing their agreement to purchase two thirds of the share capital of UK steel service center USS Ltd. The balance of shares is to be retained by former owners, the Weaver family who will continue to run the company. USS specializes in coil slitting for the construction industry.

Ansteel Holdings Ltd like Ansteel Spain SL is a joint venture company between Anshan and Stemcor.

Based in Halesowen in the West Midlands, USS can slit coils weighing up to 25 tonnes, thickness ranging from 0.33mm to 3.50mm and width ranging from 400mm to 1,525mm. The majority of material slit is galvanized coil mainly direct for end users with some slitting undertaken on behalf of third parties. Typical customers are UK based section rollers serving the construction industry.

Mr Zhang Xiaogang President of Anshan Iron and Steel Corporation said "Anshan is keen to expand its footprint in Europe and is particularly interested in value-adding services that complement the product range. Last year we purchased a 78% stake in Italian steel processor ViganĂ² and now we are making a similar investment in the UK with USS. The Weaver family has extensive experience in the steel service centre business and will be a valuable addition to Ansteel European business."

Mr Julian Verden Group Managing Director at Stemcor the world largest independent steel trader said "We are delighted to enter into this second European joint venture with Anshan, building on the success of Ansteel Spain SL in the Iberian market. In addition to their existing construction and general industrial steel products, Anshan focus on producing high end value added flat products such as metallic coated, color coated and silicon steel."

Mr Anthony Weaver Managing Director of USS said "We are very excited to be working more closely with our new partners, whom we have dealt with for many years. Looking forward we feel that their investment will enhance our customer service and expand our product offering."

Cap-Ex Ventures acquires four iron ore properties in Labrador


Saturday, Feb26, 2011

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Cap-Ex Ventures Ltd., a Canadian resource company focused on exploration and development of iron ore projects in the Labrador Trough, will acquire four new iron ore properties in the Labrador Trough near Schefferville, Quebec (Redmond Properties).

The new acquisition holds strategic high-grade iron ore deposits, and sits directly below Labrador Iron Mines Holdings Ltd., which owns the main Redmond deposits.

Tags: iron ore , raw mat , Canada , North America , M&A , mining, Redmond deposits, Labrador Iron Mines Holdings Ltd, high grade iron ore deposits

Peabody Energy Enters Into Coal Sourcing Agreement Accessing Indonesian Coal for Export


St. Louis, Feb25, 2011

Peabody Energy today said it has entered into an agreement with Indonesia's PT Cahaya Energi Mandiri (CEM) to source 2 million tons of coal for Asian export through Peabody COALTRADE's international trading hub in Singapore.

The contract marks the third term agreement Peabody has secured in recent months, which together account for 5.5 million tons of Indonesian coal. Coal from PT CEM will be secured over two years from a mine in East Kalimantan, and the relationship could be expanded over time.

"Peabody's leading coal trading and brokerage platform continues to expand to serve high-growth Asia-Pacific markets," said Peabody President and Chief Commercial Officer Richard A. Navarre. "We will continue to increase our coal sourcing in Indonesia, the world's largest supplier of seaborne thermal coal."

Seaborne coal demand is projected to exceed 1 billion tonnes in 2011, with the Asia Pacific region comprising the vast majority of demand growth. Peabody serves customers in more than 25 countries on six continents and has trading and business offices in Indonesia, Singapore, China, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) is the world's largest private-sector coal company and a global leader in clean coal solutions. With 2010 sales of 246 million tons and nearly $7 billion in revenues, Peabody fuels 10 percent of U.S. power and 2 percent of worldwide electricity.

Tags: seaborne thermal coal, raw material, clean coal solutions

BC Iron sends first Nullagine iron-ore shipment to China

Feb24, 2011
By Esmarie Swanepoel

PERTH (MiningWeekly)− ASX-listed BC Iron on Thursday joined the ranks of Australian iron-ore producers and exporters when it loaded 20 000 t of iron-ore from the Nullagine joint venture (JV) onto a ship in Port Hedland, for export to China.

The overland transport of the Nullagine iron-ore to port on partner Fortescue Metal’s rail line, marked the first time in Pilbara history that a junior miner had been able to transport iron-ore on a third party’s rail infrastructure.

“This loading today marks the newfound ability by smaller mining companies to use third-party rail and port access to develop otherwise stranded assets into revenue generators and job creators for the Australian economy,” said Fortescue Metals CEO Andrew Forrest.

BC Iron MD Mike Young said that the first ore ship from the Nullagine JV represented not only a significant milestone for the JV and its respective stakeholders, but also a wider significance to the iron-ore industry in the Pilbara region.

“First and foremost, we are pleased and excited that BC Iron has successfully transitioned from an explorer to producer, and we would like to acknowledge everyone that has played a role in making this milestone possible.

“The fact that we have the flexibility to put out a partial shipment is a testament to the close working relationship we have with Fortescue,” Young added.

The Nullagine project hosts a direct shipping ore (DSO) reserve of 36-million tons at 56,9% iron within a DSO resource of 50,7-million tons at 57% iron and an overall channel iron deposit resource of 89,1-million tons at 54,1% iron.

The project would have an initial production capacity of three-million tons a year, which would increase to five-million tons once Fortescue increased its infrastructure capacity.

The project remained on track to have shipped one-million tons of iron-ore by the end of June.

BC Iron is the third company to use Fortescue's Herb Elliott port to start iron-ore exports from Port Hedland.

The ship carrying the Nullagine JV ore was expected to set sail over the weekend.

Edited by:Mariaan Webb Tags: third party rail and port access, Direct Shipping Iron Ore DSO,

Coal shortage: Power, cement companies to be affected


February 26, 2011, 0:46 IST
By Malini Bhupta

Mumbai: If power producers continue to run plants below 50% PLF, further capacity additions may get impacted.

By now, it’s a well-known secret that power producers are in for tough times this year, with plant load factors (PLF) of several producers falling by as much as 20 per cent due to acute coal shortage. This pattern is likely to spill over into the new financial year too, since there just isn’t enough coal available to feed India’s steel and power production facilities.

Even as India’s new power producers were coming to terms with coal shortages in India, the floods and subsequent cyclone in Australia have come has a body-blow to cement, power and steel producers. Imported coal prices are up 44 per cent year-on-year, impacting profitability even further. A foreign brokerage house in its report has downgraded cement and power utilities, saying: “Following the emergence of worries over domestic coal availability coupled with recent tightening of global coal markets, we are beginning to get concerned about the resultant impact on Indian utilities and cement producers. For Indian power utilities, peak utilisation levels could drop 2,000 bps by FY14E supporting a demand growth of 6 per cent. For cement players already grappling with excess supply, the tightness in coal markets will likely exacerbate margin pressure.”

According to analyst estimates, Indian coal availability is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of only 4.2 per cent over the financial year 2010-14, which is insufficient to meet the power capacity growth of 10.4 per cent.

To make matters worse, merchant tariffs remained subdued during the third quarter due to good monsoons leading to muted demand growth (+5 per cent year-on-year) and higher hydro generation (+7 per cent y-o-y). Operating rates (PLF) would hence compress by 2000 basis points over FY11-14E, assuming other sources of capacity do not suffer from lack of fuel.

Availability of coal will not only affect plant load factors over the next few quarters, but this will also hit future capacities. However, running plants at a PLF of less than 55 per cent may result in the deferral of capacity-addition in early stages of development. Consequently, the brokerage firm estimates that medium-term spot rates will stay at Rs 4/unit versus the street’s expectation of a sharp decline.

However, the issues are slightly different for cement companies. Given that utilisation levels are already low, rising raw material costs will put further pressure on their margins and consequently, bottomlines. Production discipline may be one of few options for cement players, says the report.(sourced:Business-standard)

BHP Billiton Suspended Wessels Manganese Operations After Death

Feb25, 2011,

Carli Lourens

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- BHP Billiton Ltd. said it suspended operations at Wessels manganese mine, part of its Hotazel unit in South Africa, after an employee was killed in an accident.

An investigation into the incident has been started, the company said in an e-mailed statement today.

Anglo American Board to Have No Oppenheimer for First Time

February 25, 2011, 9:47 AM EST

By Carli Lourens

Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Anglo American Plc, whose mines made South Africa the continent’s biggest economy, said t will leave the company, making it the first time a member of the family hasn’t sat on the board since they created the business in 1917.

“Anglo American has been in the psyche of every member of my family since the company was founded nearly a century ago,” Oppenheimer, 65, said in a statement today. “There comes a time when it is right to stand aside.” He was on Anglo’s board for about 37 years and is sub-Saharan Africa’s richest man, according to Forbes.com.

Anglo was founded by Nicky’s grandfather, Ernest Oppenheimer, to exploit the world’s biggest gold field, the Witwatersrand near Johannesburg and in 1929 he also took control of De Beers, later making it the world’s biggest diamond business and linking it to Anglo through cross-shareholdings between the companies.

His son, Harry, took over as chairman in 1957 and led the expansion into South African banking, steel, sugar and paper as the country’s isolation during apartheid stopped the company buying mines elsewhere. Nicky never served as Anglo’s chairman, taking the post of deputy chairman from 1983 to 2001.

The company moved its headquarters to London in 1999 to make it easier to raise money as it expanded abroad.

Cynthia Carroll reorganized management after being named chief executive officer in 2007. She advanced the strategy of her predecessor, Tony Trahar, selling assets from sugar to paper to focus on copper, iron ore, nickel and other raw materials demanded by the expanding economies of China and India.

‘End of An Era’

“It’s the end of an era,” David Davis, a mining analyst at SBG Securities Ltd., a unit of Africa’s biggest lender, Standard Bank Group Ltd., said in an interview from Johannesburg. Davis has been involved in the local mining industry for more than three decades. “Over the years the Oppenheimers have shifted away from South Africa and Anglo.”

The Oppenheimer family sold about 64 million pounds ($100 million) of Anglo shares in December, leaving their stake in the company at about 1.9 percent. In 2006, they sold 1.13 percent of Anglo to billionaire Larry Yung’s China Vision Resources for about $803 million. The family held a 7.2 percent stake in 2001.

“The interests of the family and the interests of Anglo are possibly no longer as solid as the family would like,” Liston Meintjes, former chief investment officer of Metropolitan Asset Managers said by phone from Cape Town today.

Committed to Diamonds

Nicky Oppenheimer remains chairman of De Beers, a position he’s held since 1998. His family owns 40 percent of the Johannesburg-based company while Anglo owns 45 percent. De Beers is expanding in Canada while disposing of aging mines in South Africa and gets most of its output from a venture in Botswana.

Together with his family he has an estimated net worth of $5 billion, according to a March 2010 report by Forbes.com. Nicky Oppenheimer told De Beers staff today that his decision to leave Anglo “has nothing to do with his family’s commitment to De Beers,” the diamond company said in an e-mailed response to a query.

Anglo doesn’t plan to change the ownership structure of De Beers, Carroll told reporters last week. London’s Sunday Times reported in December that Anglo may buy the Oppenheimer family out of the diamond company for at least 2 billion pounds.

Nicky Oppenheimer was educated at Harrow School and Christ Church, Oxford, where he read politics, philosophy and economics, according to the family’s Brenthurst Library website. His son Jonathan has held positions at Anglo.

Together with his wife, Strilli, he supports wildlife and conservation projects, according to the website. - (Editors: Antony Sguazzin, Amanda Jordan, sourced:bloomberg)

Niger: 3 Hostages From French Mine Are Released

Friday,Feb25,2011
By MARIE-PIA GOHIN

Al Qaeda’s North African affiliate has released three hostages abducted in September from a French-run mine in Niger, the French presidency said Friday. Niger authorities brought the three to Niamey, the capital, on Thursday, a security official said. The hostages, a Frenchwoman and men from Madagascar and Togo, and four Frenchmen were abducted from a uranium mine operated by the French nuclear giant Areva. It was not reported whether a ransom had been paid to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. The other four hostages remain in captivity. (sourced:NyTimes)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Return of Australian coal exports key to freight recovery: Genco

Friday, Feb25, 2011 617 am EST/1117 GMT

New York (Platts)

A return of export volumes of coking coal from the east coast of Australia and in iron ore volumes from Brazil could lead to a recovery of Capesize freight rates during the course of 2011, New York-listed dry bulk ship owner Genco Shipping & Trading said Thursday.

Speaking at the company's fourth-quarter earnings call, Robert Buchanan, president of Genco, said the disruptions caused by the severe flooding in Queensland in December and January and weather-related delays to iron ore shipments from Brazil and South Africa, accounted for approximately 5% of global coal and iron ore seaborne trade, quoting estimates from commodities and ship broking group ICAP.

He also said that a cold winter with high snowfall in the US had limited the amount of coking coal shipments from the US east coast to make up for shortfalls of shipments from Queensland.

Earlier Thursday, Asian coal consumers told Platts that Rio Tinto had lifted a force majeure on its Kestrel semi-hard coking coal brand after almost two months. A Rio Tinto Coal Australia spokesman confirmed that force majeure had been lifted from both the Blair Athol Mine in Queensland and from the Kestrel Mine.

Kestrel is believed to be the first major Australian coking coal brand to have a force majeure lifted since the flooding.

The Kestrel mine supplies 4.2 million mt of coking and thermal coal to customers worldwide.

Buchanan said the expected influx of new ships from the shipyards this year may not be as bad as appeared on paper, because of the likelihood of up to 40% slippage in delivery schedules, following a trend seen in the last few years.

He conceded that the effect of China's tightening monetary policy, in terms of increasing the capital reserve requirements of banks, and the Korea Lines bankruptcy were having a negative effect on sentiment, "but this is reflected more in the forward market."

Genco does not have any exposure to Korea Lines, which filed for the equivalent of bankruptcy protection on January 25. Korea Lines is one of Asia's largest operators of dry bulk tonnage and, according to analysts, fell victim of the collapse in freight rates, having chartered-in its fleet at much higher rates than can be obtained by re-letting the ships on the spot market.

Buchanan also predicted a hefty increase in the scrapping of dry bulk carriers, saying that 2.1 million dwt of dry bulk tonnage had already been scrapped this year compared with 5.7 million dwt in the whole of 2010.

"According to our internal company estimates, we calculate that the cash breakeven for [a fully amortized], 20-year-old Capesize is approximately $12,500/day," said Buchanan. However, the freight market is showing returns of around $4,000-$5,000/day.

Buchanan said it is the larger ships that get scrapped first, because of the wear and tear they endure compared with smaller vessels. "Think about the length and the twisting of the steel that goes on and add iron ore into the equation," he said. Iron ore exerts more stresses on the hull of a dry bulk carrier than any other cargo type.

He said that with a Capsize approaching 20 years of age, and its fifth special survey at a cost of around $3 million, with another special survey due every 2.5 years thereafter, several owners might decide that it is better to sell for scrap.

Buchanan said that 21% of the dry bulk fleet was more than 25 years old and 28% was more than 20 years of age.

He said prices offered by ship breakers were around $500/light displacement ton. "As long as the price of steel stays firm, the scrap price should stay firm," he said.

On Wednesday, Genco reported fourth-quarter net attributable income of $34.8 million, down slightly from $35.5 million a year earlier. In the full year it reported net income of $141.2 million, down from $148.62 million.

Genco saw Q4 voyage revenues climb to $129.9 million from $96.2 million a year earlier, helped by an expansion in its fleet. Total revenues were $130.7 million, up from $96.2 million a year earlier. In the full-year, voyage revenues rose to $447.4 million from $379.5 million in 2009. Total full-year revenues were $448.7 million, up from $379.5 million in 2009. (By Platts)

India for more iron ore export curbs, duty rise seen

25 Feb, 2011, 06.34PM IST,REUTERS

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: India's steel minister called for curbs on exports of iron ore on Friday, as the federal government heads into a budget that could raise export duty on the steel-making ingredient marginally.

"Yes, I am in favour of it. There should be more control on (iron ore) exports," Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma said on Friday.

India's government is unlikely to approve a blanket export ban as it would prefer better regulation and incentives for increased domestic use of the steel-making resource, as demand in the world's second-fastest growing major economy rises.

In April last year, India raised the export duty on iron ore lumps to 15 per cent from 10 per cent previously. Duty on iron ore fines stood at 5 per cent.

The ministry of railways hiked the transportation cost 50 per cent to 1,500 rupees per tonne on Jan. 27, but kept it unchanged in Friday's Railway Budget. The government presents its budget for 2011/12 on Monday.

"There could be a marginal hike in export duty (of iron ore)," said Vasant Poddar , vice-president at the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries ( FIMI )), a trade body. "These curbs on iron ore exports are not warranted as nobody in the world, be it Europe, Japan, South Korea and U.S. consumes our low grade iron ore, other than China," he added.

Supplies of the steel-making ingredient from India have been limited by a ban of shipments from the southern state of Karnataka, which is currently being appealed by exporters in the Supreme Court.

Exports fell for the sixth straight month in December 2010 as the Karnataka state ban continued to bite. Exports were down 24.8 per cent year on year and fell 17.02 per cent in the April to December period.

Iron ore prices have risen around 13 per cent this year, adding to gains of more than 40 per cent in 2010. (sourced:Reuters, ET)

Tags : ban of iron ore shipment from Karnataka, raw material, steel mills

SAIL confirms steel deal with Lazarus Zim


Business Day reported earlier this week that the Zim investment vehicle Afripalm Resources had signed a deal with the Steel Authority of India



Friday, Feb25, 2011
By Business Day

The chairman of state-run Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), C.S. Verma, has confirmed his company is to conduct a feasibility study for a R21 billion plan, expected to produce 3-5 million tonnes of steel a year in South Africa.

That’s after Afripalm Chairman Lazarus Zim had said on Wednesday that Afripalm Resources had signed an understanding with the Steel.

Zim’s Afripalm Resources signed an understanding with the the Steel Authority of India.

In SA the bulk of steel is made by ArcelorMittal, formerly Iscor.

Also an Indian-run company, the Mittal group is the biggest privately owned steel maker in the word.

But its sojourn in SA has not always been a happy one. Mittal came to SA after it was promised that most of the iron-ore that feeds its furnaces would be available at cost plus 3%.

That promise was met, but the company has had persistent problems with the government, which accuses it of charging artificially high prices in the local market despite the cheap iron ore that had been arranged for it.

Then, two years ago, Arcelor-Mittal bungled and forgot to renew a mining right that guaranteed it the cheap ore.

This led to a slew of legal and political action (and whispered threats from the company that it might be forced to withdraw from SA) with, as yet, no final result.

All of that could now be made moot should Zim and his Indian investors go ahead with a plant of their own.

The steel investment would at least partly explain the many private meetings Jacob Zuma , Zim and members of the Gupta family had with Indian officials during Zuma’s state visit to India last year.

The meetings offended a wide range of business figures who were travelling with Zuma but felt excluded.

It also seems likely that the possibility of attracting this investment is one reason why the government has responded so severely to attempts by Kumba to secure for itself the iron-ore rights that ArcelorMittal lost, and to be able to sell the ore at market rates.

he government is opposing Kumba and wants the right given to a company called ICT in which the Gupta family has a strong but indirect interest.

It is hard to know to what extent Zim’s plan may rest on that ore being available at cost plus 3%.

With REUTERS

Vale makes industry's biggest profit, firm earned $17.3B US in 2010


Feb 25, 2011 10:55 AM ET by CBC News

Shares of Vale — the world's biggest iron ore producer, with a large presence in Canada — rose Friday, a day after reporting record earnings.

Stock in Rio de Janeiro-based Vale gained 49 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $34.70 US at mid-morning on the New York Stock Exchange.

The firm reported annual net income Thursday of $17.3 billion US, or $3.25 a share, on operating revenue of $46.5 billion.

That compared with a profit of $9.2 billion in 2009, on revenue of $23.9 billion.

"Net earnings for 2010 were the greatest ever in the mining industry," the firm said in a release.

"We are living through our best days," said CEO Roger Agnelli.

"However, given the size and quality of our pipeline of growth projects amid a scenario of sustained global demand growth for our products, I strongly believe that even better days are ahead of us."

Growing demand from emerging markets for iron ore for steelmaking have pushed prices to about $190 US a tonne, a more than three-fold increase in just one year.

Vale produces nickel and copper at Voisey's Bay in Newfoundland and Labrador, Thompson, Manitoba and Sudbury, Ontario, although in November it announced plans to close its smelter and refinery in Thompson by 2015, with the loss of 500 jobs. It also has a potash exploration project underway in Saskatchewan that is due to start up in 2015.

Tags: emerging market, steelmaking, share gained, net income up, net profit

Coal India pays Rs1,989.65 crore interim dividend news

25 February 2011

State-owned mining giant Coal India Limited (CIL) today paid Rs1,989.65 crore as interim dividend for fiscal 2010-11 to the government. This works out to Rs3.50 per RS10 share or 35 per cent return on the Government of India's holding in the PSU.

CIL chairman and managing director Partha S Bhattcharyya handed over the dividend cheque, constituting 90 per cent of the total dividend payout, to coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal.

CIL distributed the remaining 10 per cent of the dividend amount to other shareholders.

In 2009-10, CIL paid Rs2,210 crore as final dividend, which was 35 per cent of the paid-up equity. The interim dividend paid this fiscal to GoI and other shareholders is equivalent to the final dividend that was paid for the whole of last year.

The final dividend for 2010-11 would be paid after the finalisation of accounts of the fiscal.

Coal is gold for railways


Feb 25, 2011, 19:46
Press Trust of India

New Delhi : Coal used in generating power, manufacturing steel and cement, is among the main sources of income for the Railways and contributes over 38% of its freight earnings, according to the Railway Budget for 2011-12.

The Budget presented by the Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee today revealed that out of the expected Rs 62,489.33 crore total income from freights in 2010-11, coal was likely to contribute Rs 24,127.77 crore to the kitty.

The Indian Railway had earned Rs 58,501.68 crore from ferrying goods in 2009-10 in which coal transport contributed Rs 22,418.07 crore.

Hoping to ferry more coal, the railways has set a revenue target of Rs 68,620 crore for the next fiscal, which is nearly 10% more than the projected income in the current fiscal.

The Railways is projecting an earning of Rs 27,126.49 crore by transporting coal for steel plants, washeries, power houses and for other public users for the next fiscal.

Indian Railways had earned a total of Rs 23,488.17 crore by ferrying passengers in FY10, hopes to generate Rs 26,126.4 crore in the current fiscal and Rs 30,456 crore in FY12.

Transport of iron ore is the second highest source of income for the railways in the freight category. Railways had earned Rs 8,345.27 crore through iron ore transports and aims to generate Rs 8,423.83 crore in the current fiscal.

For the next fiscal, it targets to achieve Rs 9,035.31 crore revenue from transportation of iron ore.

Coal India, which accounts for over 80% of the country's production, targets 431.5 million tonne production for this fiscal. Its output target for 2011-12 is 460.5 million tonne.

Out of India's total 771.551 KWh power generation in FY10, 640.876 KWh was generated from thermal sources.

Tags: power houses, transport of iron ore, Coal India Limited,

Richards Bay coal derailment on Thurs minor loss

Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:11pm GM

LONDON (Reuters) - A derailment on the Richards Bay coal line near Ermelo on Thursday is unlikely to result in large tonnage lost, rail and exporter sources said.

The derailment was caused by theft of power cables, a common problem on the South African rail system, they said.

A series of derailments in December and early January plus industrial action cut at least 3 million tonnes from South Africa's exports at the tail end of 2010 and beginning of this year, industry sources said.

South Africa is unlikely to be able to export 60 million tonnes in 2011 and the final total may be even lower if transportation continues to be beset by problems, they said.

"There was a minor derailment early on Thursday but repairs are being carried out and no tonnage has been lost yet although there will be some loss as a consequence," one source said.

Transnet Freight Rail had transports 1.45 million tonnes in the week to Thursday and is expected to quickly catch up after the latest derailment.(sourced:Thomson Reuters)

Italy 2010 steel import, export jump -Federacciai

Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:50pm GMT

MILAN(Reuters) - Steel imports into Italy, a major European producer, jumped 30.5 percent year-on-year to 16.385 million tonnes in 2010, data from Italy's industry body Federacciai showed.

Italy's steel export rose 20.3 percent last year to 15.133 million tonnes, Federacciai said.

(Reporting by Svetlana Kovalyova; editing by Keiron Henderson,sourced:Thomson Reuters)

Moly Mines to produce 820,000 tonnes iron ore in 2011

Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:51pm GMT

* Says loan talks with Hanlong Group, syndicate resume
* Shares up 11 percent

Feb 25 (Reuters) - Moly Mines Ltd expects to produce 820,000 tonnes of iron ore in 2011 and has resumed talks with China-based Hanlong Group and a bank syndicate for a loan, sending its shares up 11 percent.

Moly Mines began commercial production at its Spinifex Ridge project in Western Australia in November and said the production rate at the mine is seen to touch 1 million tonnes a year in the second quarter.

The miner said it has resumed talks with Hanlong Group, its controlling shareholder, and a banking syndicate for a $466 million project finance loan.

The company said Hanlong was working to get a commitment from China Export and Import Bank to match the one it secured from China Development Bank in January for $250 million.

Shares of the Toronto-based company rose 11 percent to C$1.09 in early trading on Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.(Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar, Sourced:Thomson Reuters)

Indonesia Investment Grade Rating Looms as Fitch Raises Outlook

Feb24,2011 10:31 PM GMT+0530
By Shamim Adam and Novrida Manurung

Indonesia moved closer to attaining an investment grade rating, its first since the Asian financial crisis more than a decade ago, after Fitch Ratings raised its outlook on the sovereign to positive from stable.

The company affirmed its BB+ grade on Indonesia’s local and foreign-currency debt, one step below investment grade, it said in a statement yesterday. An upgrade will put Indonesia on par with India and Brazil.

Rising consumer spending is driving expansion in the world’s fourth-most populous nation, increasing pressure on policy makers to restrain price gains and protect purchasing power. Indonesia’s economy grew at the fastest pace in six years last quarter, and the central bank increased its benchmark reference rate this month from a record low to curb inflation.

“The positive outlook reflects Fitch’s view that Indonesia’s favorable macroeconomic prospects are likely to see the credit profile strengthen further over the next 12 to 18 months, despite near-term risks from inflation and potentially volatile capital flows,” said Andrew Colquhoun, head of Asia- Pacific Sovereign Ratings at Fitch in Hong Kong.

Emerging-market nations from China to Brazil and Turkey are winning upgrades or positive outlooks on their sovereign ratings, highlighting the relative strength of developing economies amid soaring debt burdens in advanced nations from Greece to Japan.

Moody’s Action

Moody’s Investors Service last month raised Indonesia’s credit rating to the highest level since the 1997 Asian financial crisis, citing the nation’s “economic resilience” and improving public debt position. Moody’s Ba1 rating is also one step below investment grade.

Standard & Poor’s on March 12 lifted Indonesia’s sovereign credit rating to BB from BB-, two levels below investment grade, with a positive outlook.

Bank Indonesia on Feb. 4 unexpectedly raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time in more than two years after inflation climbed to a 21-month high. It had previously resisted higher rates to avoid attracting more foreign capital inflows, while opting to increase lenders’ reserve requirements and tighten rules on banks’ foreign-exchange holdings to help curb price advances.

Consumer-price growth accelerated to 7.02 percent in January from 6.96 percent in December.
Inflation Risk

“Inflation poses a near-term risk to economic prospects,” Fitch said in yesterday’s statement, estimating inflation to average 6.5 percent in 2011. “A more severe inflation shock than the agency expects, that is sufficient to damage economic and financial stability, would weaken the case for positive rating action.”

Gross domestic product increased 6.9 percent in the three months through December from a year earlier, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Feb. 7. The economy grew 6.1 percent in 2010.

“The economy is fundamentally strong but vulnerable to inflation,” said Eric Alexander Sugandi, a Jakarta-based economist at Standard Chartered Plc. “The fiscal condition is good. As long as Indonesia can survive the inflationary pressures, then the sooner it can get investment grade.” He predicts the country will reach that ranking by 2012.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono seeks to expand the economy at an annual average rate of 6.6 percent and create 10.7 million jobs by the end of his second term in 2014, including through attempts to boost investment in the country’s infrastructure.

“Faster progress in tackling long-standing weaknesses in economic and credit fundamentals including the low tax take, infrastructure deficiencies and corruption, would further support the case for an upgrade,” Fitch’s Colquhoun said.

Tags:Moody's action,Hong Kong, favourable macroeconomic prospects, Standard Chartered Plc., Fitch Colquhoun, credit ratings (sourced:bloomberg)

Fortescue makes billion-tonne iron ore discovery


February 26, 2011 - 1:20AM

Fortescue Metals Group has announced the discovery of more than one billion tonnes of iron ore in Western Australia's Pilbara and aims to develop it rapidly.

The new project, named Nyidinghu, is about 35 kilometers south of Fortescue's first mine, Cloudbreak, and contained an inferred resource of 1.032 billion tonnes of ore at a grade of 58 per cent iron, the company said.

In a statement to the stock exchange issued several hours after the market closed, Fortescue said the 1.03 billion tonnes of high-grade Brockman ore was in the inferred category of Australia's mineral reporting code, the least proved-up category.

"The proximity of Nyidinghu to Fortescue's existing Chichester Hub mining operations and unique high-performance modern infrastructure boosts their collective value significantly," Fortescue said.

It said the high-phosphorus discovery could significantly increase its total production and be used to mix with lower phosphorus ore.

"The new Nyidinghu discovery will create a new high-value blend and thus extend the life of these mines," it said.

"Fortescue is commencing a feasibility study with a view to developing this deposit as rapidly as possible. This maiden estimate is expected to grow as further drill results come in."

Fortescue shares were put in a trading halt early in yesterday's market session at the company's request. Their last sale was at $6.50, up 4¢.

Fortescue is spending $8.4 billion expanding its mines in Western Australia to almost triple output to supply steel mills in China.

The average price of its ore in the second half of 2010 rose to $US138.50 a tonne from $67.58 a year earlier.

It said yesterday it now controlled almost 7 billion tonnes of hematite ore and a further 2.5 billion tonnes of magnetite ore.

BLOOMBERG, AAP
Tags:Chinchester Hub mining operations, Hematite ore, magnetite ore,

Russia’s coal output rises 2.9 percent in January

Friday, 25 February 2011

According to the data issued by Russia's Ministry of Economic Development, in January this year Russia registered a 2.9 percent year-on-year rise in its coal output to 27.3 million mt, due to increased demand in the domestic and external markets and due to the improvement of external economic conditions.

According to preliminary data, in January Russia's total shipments of coal to the domestic market amounted to 18.9 million mt - up 0.9 percent year on year, including 3.1 million mt of coal for coking needs - down 7.6 percent year on year.

In 2010, Russia exported 115.7 million mt of coal - up 10 percent year on year, while the year-on-year increase rate of coal exports amounted to 6.1 percent for non-CIS countries and to 56.4 percent for CIS countries. The share of exports in the overall domestic coal output volume in 2010 increased to 36.5 percent from 34.9 percent in 2009. In 2010, export contract prices for Russian coal increased by 13.2 percent year on year.

In January this year, coal prices in Russia increased by 5.3 percent compared to December 2010, with coking coal prices rising by two percent month on month.

Tags: coking coal , raw mat , Russia , CIS , imp/exp statistics , mining (steelorbis)

Sumitomo Metals plans to increase domestic pricing of seamless pipes

Friday, 25 February 2011, By steelorbis

On February 25, Japanese steelmaker Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd (Sumitomo Metals) announced that it has begun negotiations to revise pricing of seamless pipes for all domestic customers, excluding stainless pipe products. The revision will be an incremental price increase of 15 percent.

Sumitomo Metals said that the revision will apply to all domestic long-term contract and spot customers of the product as of April 2011.

The company associated the decision to increase prices with the rising demand for seamless pipes and also with iron ore, coal and other raw material costs.

Sumitomo Metals is also planning to negotiate similar price increases of gas tubes and other welded steel pipes.

Tags: pipe , tubular , Japan , Far East , production , consumption , steelmaking , East Asia and Pacific

Atlas Iron share in Giralia exceeds 90 percent milestone

Friday, 25 February 2011

Australian iron ore miner Atlas Iron Limited has announced that it holds 91.22 percent of the voting rights in fellow Australian iron ore mining company Giralia as of February 25.

As SteelOrbis previously reported, according to a statement made on February 4, Atlas had extended its approximately AU$828 million (US$831 million) off-market takeover bid for a 100 percent stake in Giralia Resources Limited which also operates in Australia's Pilbara region. Accordingly, the offer was extended until 5.00 pm, February 28, 2011 from February 11, 2011. The process started on January 11, 2011 with an acceptance condition of 90 percent. The company then changed its offer to unconditional.

The offer has been recommended by the board of Giralia, with the merger of the two Pilbara mining companies to create a group worth AU$2.5-3 billion.

"The two companies have deposits that either join or are very close to each other at Mt Webber, McPhee Creek, Beebyn Range and Western Creek. This merger is a great way to grow production, reduce operating costs, maximize cash flows and deliver significant value for all shareholders," Atlas' managing director David Flanagan commented in a previous statement.

As SteelOrbis also previously reported, Atlas had agreed to buy Perth-based metals developer Aurox Resources on March 10 last year in a deal worth AU$149 million at that date. The merger was completed by the end of August.

Tags: iron ore , raw mat , Australia , Oceania , investments , M&A , mining , Atlas
(sourced:steelorbis)

Economic Survey fears European debt crisis could hit Indian economy

Friday February 25, 2011

New Delhi: The continuing debt turmoil in the euro zone area could have an adverse fallout on the Indian economy, hurting its capital flows as well as exports, the Economic Survey said today.

Further, it noted that rising international oil prices could aggravate the current account deficit, which is already at high levels.

Many countries like Greece and Portugal that are part of the euro zone -- a grouping of 16 nations that share a common currency euro -- are grappling with severe debt crisis that has even threatened to derail the fragile global economic recovery.

"The continuing sovereign debt risk in peripheral euro zone countries and fears that it could spread to the financial sector, together with the high fiscal and public debt in several advanced countries, pose a risk to global recovery.

"In the event of the crisis spreading, it could have fallout for the Indian economy through reversal of capital flows and slowdown in exports," said the Survey tabled in the Parliament today.

It says the fragile global recovery and robust domestic growth have led to higher current account deficit in 2009-10 and 2010-11 (April-September), "which is a matter of some concern".

"The problem may be further aggravated by the rising international oil prices," it noted.

Current account deficit happens when the total imports of goods, services and transfers is higher than total export of goods, services and transfers.

Official preliminary estimates show that current account deficit stood at USD 27.88 billion in April-September period of the current fiscal year.

During the same period last financial year, current account deficit was at USD 13.34 billion.

Global oil prices has been climbing in recent weeks due to the political unrest in the Middle East, especially in Libya, which has one of the largest crude reserves in Africa.

The Survey said that majority of the capital inflows are in the form of FIIs, which are volatile in nature. FIIs have pumped in about USD 24 billion in the April-September 2010 period.

"Periodic surge in capital flows could lead to problem of absorptive capacity in the economy, fuelling asset price bubbles, currency appreciation and stoking inflation. The challenge is in managing such surge in capital flows," it added.

On the other hand, FDI inflows stood at just USD 19 billion till November in the current fiscal.
-PTI

Economic Survey: Forex reserves 4th largest in world at $297.3 bn

25 Feb, 2011, 02.41PM IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: The Economic Survey on Friday said India has the fourth largest foreign exchange reserves, which helped the nation to tide over global financial crisis.

India's foreign exchange reserves touched USD 297.3 billion in December, 2010 from USD 279.1 billion in March. "It needs to be acknowledged that foreign exchange reserves have helped insulate India from the worst impact of the crisis," it said.

Unlike many Western nations, India was relatively less affected by the global financial meltdown in 2008-09 that had pushed many advanced economies into recession. India had the fourth largest foreign exchange reserves at USD 297.3 billion at the end of December 2010, it said.

At the same time, the foreign exchange reserves of Japan and Russia stood at USD 1.12 trillion and USD 479.4 billion, respectively. Neighbouring China's foreign exchange reserves was at USD 2.45 trillion in June, 2010.

According to the Survey, the country's reserves mainly comprise portfolio investment (FII), "which are more vulnerable to sudden stops and reversals and borrowings from abroad".

India's foreign exchange reserves have increased over the years from just USD 5.8 billion in March, 1991. "The reserves reached a peak at USD 314.6 billion at May-end, 2008 before declining to USD 252 billion at the end of March 2009.

"The decline in reserves in 2008-09 was inter alia a fallout of the global crisis and strengthening of US dollar vis-a-vis other international currencies," the Survey said.

About the idea of having a multilateral option of a pre-arranged credit line, the Survey noted such an option is necessary but is not sufficient. "... (This is because) foreign investors often view the size of foreign exchange reserves as a key input in taking investment decisions," it added.(via ET)

Declare coal an essential commodity

Feb 25, 2011, 03.00 am IST by TNN

NEW DELHI: A parliamentary committee has asked the government to include coal in the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) to control its pilferage while asking the ministry of coal to prepare a comprehensive document having details of human lives lost, environmental degradation and resultant loss to the exchequer due to illegal mining.

Coal was removed from the ECA earlier through an amendment. Now, the committee wants Centre to control its production, supply and distribution to stop illegal mining and pilferage.

A study carried out by the Jharkhand government with the help of Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, estimated loss to coal companies to the tune of Rs 106 crore annually and to the exchequer of about Rs 34 crore a year.

In a report given to Parliament on Thursday, the parliamentary standing committee on coal and steel has said a joint inter-state intelligence and action force should be constituted to combat the problem of illegal mining. A task force in each state under the supervision of the deputy commissioner and superintendent of police of the concerned area has also been mooted.

Tags: supply and distribution, illegal mining, pilferage, Jharkhand, raw material

Railways to set up 2 wagon units with pvt partners

25Feb, 2011, 12.41PM IST,REUTERS

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee announced a proposal to set up two wagon units with the assistance of private partners, in her third annual budget for state-run Indian Railways in parliament on Friday.

Railways eases wagon leasing scheme rules


Feb,22,2011 By Souvik Sanyal,ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways has eased conditions for firms to procure and lease rail wagons to other businesses in an attempt to make its three-year-old Wagon Leasing Scheme more attractive for the private sector.

Launched in 2008, the scheme had failed to take off with firms blaming its stringent conditions.

The railways has now lowered the eligibility bar for companies, extended the validity of the one-time registration and given more freedom to firms in sourcing of wagons, a senior railway ministry official said.

According to the new norms, a company with a net worth of 100 crore could operate under the Wagon Leasing Scheme. The earlier norms required a company to have a net worth of at least 250 crore.

The railways has also extended the validity of the one-time registration to 35 years with a provision for further extension on payment of registration fees. Industry had raised concerns over the 20-year validity prescribed under the old norms. Although, the scheme allowed an extension of 10 years, industry said the period was short to recover investments made in the capital-intensive business.

The new norms also allow the leasing company to purchase wagons from container train operators, special freight train operators, automobile freight train operators and end users.

It also allows a company to import wagons and lease them to private container operators and the railways.

To streamline the policy of rebate, the Railways has said that the rebate approved will be the same as given under the scheme under which the wagons were procured.

It has, however, introduced provisions for imposing charges on the company if the train suffers detention due to them.

"Railways need to somehow ensure that leased services run by it and supported by industry gets preferential treatment," Vineet Agarwal, Executive Director, Transport Corporation of India , said in a recent note. "If they fail to look at this point seriously, industry may rethink on going for leased services on long-term basis as erratic delivery timelines have defeated the very purpose of leased services, USP of which was time-bound services."

Companies such as General Electric , Srei Infrastructure Finance and Adani Logistics had initially shown interest in the Wagon Leasing Scheme, which was proposed in the 2008-09 Railway Budget. It was aimed at developing a strong wagon-leasing market by encouraging third-party leasing to bring in better-quality wagons.

But the scheme was bogged down by tough conditions.

Stung by strong resistance from the industry over a majority of its schemes under the private-public partnership mode, the railways now seems to be making amends in its approach.

In November 2010, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee met industry representatives to garner support for the projects launched under the public-private partnership mode. At that time, the industry had raised with her issues concerning the Wagon Leasing Scheme also.

Tags: General Electric, Srei Infrastructure Finance and Adani Logistics, private-public partnership schemes

Indian Railways invites private companies to connect mines with plants


Feb23, 2011, 12.38PM IST,ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: The railways ministry has invited investment proposals from private companies in the country's power and steel sectors to build tracks connecting coal and iron ore mines with their plants, after failing to attract private capital in its earlier attempts.

The move forms part of the ministry's plan to attract private investment in rail connectivity between mineral-rich areas and industrial belts to support increasing demand for these key raw materials.

"A number of new coal blocks and iron ore mines have been identified for exploitation, but many of them do not have either rail or road connectivity," a railways official said, adding that the scheme is beneficial for both the railways and private firms.

Called R2CI, the new policy will incentivise developers by offering to return their investment over a period of 10-25 years through a surcharge on freight.

This is a substantial improvement over its earlier R3i policy for private sector participation in rail projects, which left out coal and iron ore mines out of its ambit.

The decision comes just three days before the railway budget and is seen as the ministry's efforts to improve its image as a department willing to tap private capital to develop railways infrastructure.

The railways will also undertake the operations and maintenance of such lines after the ownership is transferred to it. Companies can apply for the scheme either through setting up special purpose vehicles or through a capital cost model where the cost of construction shall be borne by an individual company, partnership firm or a joint-venture between firms.

To eliminate non-serious players, the railways will stipulate a lock-in period for investors.

"Between the date of execution and the commercial operation date, transfer of shares to any other entity except as provided in the agreement will not be permitted," the policy document states.

The railways ministry had initiated a similar scheme earlier to connect automobile factories with ports. But the initiative failed with the industry objecting to several restrictive conditions put in place by the railways.

"Railways need to be more receptive to the ideas of the industry & end-users so as to encourage the industry to invest in PPP model," said Vineet Agarwal, executive director of Transport Corporation of India in a note.

Railways minister Mamata Banerjee is keen to list some achievements as part of the railway budget to be placed in the Parliament on Friday. Railways' finances took a hit in the current fiscal due to an over 92% hike in salaries, two hikes in diesel prices and irregular freight business.

Tags:railway connectivity to mines and plants, investment proposals,

Indian Railways plans to use alloys in wagons to cut costs

Feb23, 2011, 12.36PM IST,
By Anuradha Himatsingka,ET Bureau

KOLKATA: Indian Railways plans to introduce new wagons that are cheaper by a fifth and carry almost the same weight as the existing stainless steel ones.

However, the railways will seek inputs from all stakeholders before taking a final decision on the use of 'high alloy mild steel' for manufacture of covered wagons, a railways official said.

This steel is expected to lower the production cost by about Rs 6-7 lakh per wagon, which costs around Rs 35 lakh. A wagon built using mild steel willl be able to carry the same weight as that by a stainless steel one, which is approximately 70.8 tonne.

The official said, "When we decided to go for stainless steel wagons some two years ago, the pay-to-tare-ratio' (the load factor) improved. But the procurement cost per wagon nearly doubled and adversely impacted Indian Railways' (IR) margins."

The Railways had released orders for procuring 18,000 wagons for the financial year 2010-11.

A senior industry player said, "The difference in procurement cost is substantial and will have a positive impact on IR's profits."

Half the wagons produced in the country are covered. Uncovered wagons, or open wagons, are prone to corrosion and so have a lower life span. "It is, therefore, prudent to use stainless steel for uncovered wagons. For covered wagons, we have been trying to find out ways to lower manufacturing costs. We finally zeroed in on high alloy mild steel," the source said. Steel producers have more or less agreed to supply this steel to wagon manufacturers. (via ET )

China bans hoarding of oil, coal to cool prices

Feb23,2011 By AP

China is banning hoarding of oil, coal and other key commodities, seeking to ensure supplies and cool prices that have surged despite repeated moves to curb inflation.

The government planning agency, in comments published Tuesday, says provinces are forbidden to limit shipments of coal beyond their borders and are required to ensure stable supplies.

Local authorities were ordered to crack down on hoarding, bogus bids meant to drive prices higher, and other illegal practices.

China is trying to cool inflation that surged to a 25-month high in October. Authorities say soaring food prices are mainly to blame, but costs for fuel and other necessities have also jumped, as supplies have run short.

Price negotiation of iron ore on halt

Friday, Feb25, 2011

Iron ore price negotiations are nearly in a coma, for iron-ore mining company BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) has already fixed a high proportion of its iron-ore business for 2011 onwards on a monthly price basis in January, breaking away from the quarterly global contract system, said Luo Bingsheng, former vice secretary general in China Iron &Steel Association (CISA) Wednesday during a meeting in Beijing.

The free on board (FOB) iron ore price offered from BHP to Chinese steel makers increased from $155 per ton to $168 per ton. Though other iron-ore mining giants have not clearly followed BHP's step, their price will inevitably raise, added Luo.

Due to various factors, such as China's great demand of iron ore, India's iron ore export limitation and Australia's disastrous flooding, the iron ore price in 2011 will experience a strong upward shot, and in the second and third quarters, the growth rate may be of 10 percent, said the .

Decreasing the dependence on imports is a way to dodge such surprises, said Luo.

China has an iron ore reserve of 150 million tons due to its investments and cooperations with overseas companies of the field. And the country has also put effort into enlarging its own production capacity.

In two to three years, China's demand and supply of iron ore will be balanced, and then its ability to negotiate on price will resume, said Luo.(CHINA.CN)

Tags:Indian iron ore, demand and supply, raw material

Australian FOB Newcastle coal bid up to USD 147 per tonne


Friday, 25 Feb 2011

Prompt physical coal prices rose around USD 2.00 on Tuesday following another hike in oil prices due to continued Libyan unrest but Australian FOB Newcastle prices soared to USD 147.50, up from a trade at USD 132 earlier in the day.

Newcastle FOB prices have risen by around $15.00 in the past 10 days on tight supply. Libyan unrest and rising oil prices have been the main drivers behind the general coal price rise but the Newcastle market seems genuinely tight and set for higher prices, far stronger than the South African or delivered Europe markets. Australian coal supply is still recovering after floods earlier in the year and producers as well as end-users and traders are seeking prompt cargoes. This was helping to keep Newcastle prices firm before the violent protests erupted in Libya.

VTB Capital Research said that "Prices rose 40% due to Queensland flooding and have now consolidated, but with increased Chinese and Indian demand likely in the remainder of the year, we think the market will tighten further and move higher again. A lot of companies we've never heard of, Indian and Chinese firms mostly, have been in the market looking for South African, Indonesian, Australian coal, at cheap prices because they don't believe the current Newcastle numbers.”

Annual Japanese price settlements are widely expected to match or even exceed 2008's record USD 125 per tonne FOB because the Pacific market is set for tight supply and strong demand overall this year More than 8% of Libya's 1.6 million barrels per day of oil production has been shut down by the political violence and the country's marine terminals were disrupted by a lack of communications Physical coal supply and demand has been unaffected by events in Libya shipping has not been disrupted and Libya neither exports nor imports coal.

Traders and utilities said that but the coal market is sometimes extremely sensitive to moves in other energy markets, particularly oil, and that is the case at present because there are still many players with long positions to defend against slumping prices.

One European market source said that "It's all Libya again, Libya and higher oil prices which means higher coal prices but hardly anybody's buying coal.” (Reuters)

Tags: VTB Capital Research, Chinese, Indian demand