The Minor Metals Trade Assn (MMTA) has asked members to vote on whether companies involved in the sale of minor metals to private investors can become members, as part of its assessment of the Fanya Metal Exchange’s application to join the MMTA.

Fanya’s application has already sparked debates among existing members, with some expressing concern about its effect on minor metals prices, its involvement with private investors, and the lack of understanding about how the exchange operates.

“While there are clearly a number of issues of interest to members, the MMTA directors have focused on one particular issue," directors at the MMTA said in a statement in its newsletter, The Crucible. "It is clear that a significant proportion of the Fanya business is the sale of metal to individuals who are private individual investors. In contrast, the MMTA was established to assist and encourage the trading of minor metals by businesses.”

According to MMTA membership rules, private individuals are excluded from membership, and members must be involved “with the production, physical trade or consumption of minor metals and services related thereto”.

Historically, this has restricted membership to companies involved in business-to-business trading of minor metals, the directors said, adding that they are not aware of any existing members who include the transaction of minor metals to private individuals as a significant part of their business.

But the MMTA has asked members to vote on whether “MMTA membership should be extended to accommodate companies that make or facilitate retail sales of metal to private investors,” to allow the directors to further consider Fanya’s application.

The Fanya Exchange applied to become a member earlier this year, and its application was backed by Beijing Jiya Semiconductor Material and Metal Pages, according to an official at the exchange.

The Fanya Exchange was asked to answer a list of questions as part of its application, which the MMTA has published in its latest edition of The Crucible. Directors then discussed these answers at a meeting held in June, Metal Bulletin understands.

MMTA members will vote on the issue by email by 17:00 on July 11. The outcome will be determined on a majority basis.

Chloe Smith
Twitter: @ChloeSmith_MB