ASIAN MORNING BRIEF 01/03: LME base metals drop in unison; Ok Tedi copper mine road access cut off by landslide; Jamalco alumina refinery to convert to natural gas, ending reliance on oil

The latest news and price moves to start the Asian day on Thursday March 1.

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange fell across the board at the close on Wednesday February 28, with the complex under pressure from the resurgent dollar, which hit its highest level since January 19. Read more in our live futures report.

Here are how LME prices looked at Wednesday’s close:

Metal Bulletin has learned that copper concentrate deliveries from the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea could be affected after an earthquake-induced landslide cut off road access to the mine.

The Jamalco alumina refinery at Clarendon in Jamaica will end its reliance on oil within the next two or three years, when it converts to using natural gas, its managing director has said.

The environment secretariat in Brazil’s northern state of Pará has ordered Hydro to cut the production of calcine alumina by 50% at its Alunorte refinery, the Norwegian aluminium producer said on February 28.

Vale is re-evaluating its plans for the Vale New Caledonia (VNC) nickel project due to the company’s improved results and the positive impact of higher cobalt prices, chief executive officer Fabio Schvartsman said on Wednesday. A decision on VNC’s future won’t be made until the end of 2018, he added.

Meanwhile, higher copper, nickel and cobalt prices helped Vale’s base metals division achieve a 44% year-on-year increase in adjusted earnings during the fourth quarter of 2017, the Brazilian miner said.

Noble Group recorded a net loss of $4.94 billion in 2017, the company said on Wednesday. This stands in contrast to a net profit of $8.14 million in 2016.

The United States Commerce Department has issued its final determination in a trade case against imports of aluminium foil from China, revising the trade duties somewhat from its preliminary ruling.

Unionized workers locked out of their jobs at the Aluminerie de Bécancour Inc smelter in the Canadian province of Quebec took to the streets on Tuesday, demonstrating outside of a conference where the top executive of majority owner Alcoa Corp was speaking.

US secondary aluminium alloy prices have stepped higher due to a combination of steady demand plus rising raw material and transportation costs, although volatility on the London Metal Exchange could weigh on further increases.

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