If you try really hard you can still find ferrochrome in Glencore’s financial statements

If you read Glencore’s preliminary 2017 financials released today you would never guess that the company is the largest ferrochrome producer in the world and controls the benchmark price. About 10 lines in a 133 page report is “dedicated” to ferrochrome. Is ferrochrome still a core business of Glencore or just a throwaway commodity?

Trump between rock and hard place

President Trump is stuck between a rock and a hard place OF HIS MAKING with his 232-trade case against imports of steel and aluminum. On one hand, US steel producers are insistent that Trump follow through with strict penalties and their labor unions also plan to hold Trump’s feet to the fire on strict penalties.

However, virtually the entire steel and consuming industries that employ many times the number of workers in aluminum and steel are firmly opposed to the duties believing their jobs and businesses are vulnerable.

Also, many countries involved in the Sec. 232 action has warned Trump they will be taking action against the US—study the US fight with Chinese solar manufacturers which decimated the US polysilicon industry. Trump isn’t going to get any favors from those nations.

So, Trump is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. I have no sympathy for him since he put himself in this ridiculous position. The best Trump can do is impose penalty duties and/or quotas and immediately suspend them pending further consultations.

Eramet’s 2017 operating income up 237%; looking to increase Mn ore output by 30%

Eramet’s manganese division had operating income of E738-million on sales of E1,919-million in 2017 up from E219-million and E1,439-million in 2016. Income was up 237% while sales rose only 33%. 

Despite a decline at year-end, manganese alloys prices were at high levels in 2017, following strong growth recorded at end-2016.

Efforts to make the railway line more reliable in Gabon (SETRAG, a 100% owned subsidiary of COMILOG), combined with better mining performances, enabled COMILOG to achieve a record level of 4.1-million m of manganese ore produced and transported in 2017 vs. a target of 4-million mt.

The company has ambitions to develop its Moanda deposit in Gabon, one of the two most competitive manganese mines in the world, with long-lasting reserves. The objective is to increase long-term production at COMILOG by more than 30%, with a transition to a new mining plateau from 2020 onwards. In 2018, Eramet will focus its efforts on a detailed feasibility study (DFS). This growth will be driven by the renovation of the Trans-Gabonese railway line started by SETRAG, in collaboration with the Gabonese government.

Glencore looking to buy charge chrome?

Rumors are circulating that Glencore is looking to buy charge chrome to supply some of its existing contracts. The smelter’s strategy, according to other smelters, is to buy as much as possible to save its production to sell in the second quarter after it raises the benchmark price. Meanwhile, a small quantity of charge chrome was booked at $1.18 in Europe.

Another extension for the sale of Hernic

Mitsubishi’s Feb. 16 deadline for the sale of Hernic passed without any resolution, with people close to the deal saying the Chinese bidders asked for an extension due to the Lunar New Year’s celebration. The list of bidders reportedly includes, Samancor, Glencore, Tsingshan and another Chinese company.

South African mining industry working reaching out to new President

In a very positive sign for the South African mining industry and its relationship with the country’s new President, Cyril Ramaphosa, the companies agreed to postpone a legal challenge to the government’s controversial new industry rules after President Cyril Ramaphosa said he’s committed to finding a solution to the dispute. The hearings had been scheduled to start yesterday into the chamber’s application for a judicial review of the latest Mining Charter, which was published by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane in June.

The postponement “serves to allow parties the space to engage and find an amicable solution,” the presidency said in its statement. The chamber “is agreeable to the request by the presidency to give negotiations a chance,” the group said.

As expected, Ferbasa looks to ferrosilicon

Ferbasa’s ferroalloys sales picked up in January 2018 to 24,980 mt from only 9,146 mt of ferroalloys in December. The January output consisted of 14,004 tons of chrome alloys (low and high-carbon ferrochrome) and 10,986 mt, a change of 1.2% and up 68.2%, respectively, from the January 2017. The December 2017 sales (November 2017 sales in parentheses) were 4,167 mt (14,998 mt) of ferrochrome, high and low carbon, and 4,979 mt (5,059 mt) of ferrosilicon

The increase in ferroalloy sales were attributed to a consumer resuming purchases after a December maintenance shutdown and the restocking in the first quarter of 2018.

January 2018 production was up 4.2% from January 2017 to 22,246 mt highlighted by a growth of 23% in ferrosilicon production. December 2017 production was 18,941 mt, up from 17,111 mt in November.