WEEK-IN-BRIEF: MMG buys Las Bambas; steel vs aluminium; Ni, FeMo prices soar; and much more

Following another busy week in the newsroom, Metal Bulletin's deputy editor Fleur Ritzema takes a look back at some of the key stories.

Following another busy week in the newsroom, Metal Bulletin’s deputy editor Fleur Ritzema takes a look back at some of the key stories.

In a $5.85 billion deal, MMG, China Minmetals’ international arm, agreed to buy Glencore’s Las Bambas project in Peru.

Ceo Andrew Michelmore identified risks that may affect the cost and schedule of putting Las Bambas into production.

But risks aside, the 30-35% copper content expected in Las Bambas concentrates could make them a premium material for smelters and traders dealing in an increasingly complex concentrates market, Metal Bulletin’s Mark Burton wrote this week.

The news of the purchase followed last week’s annual copper industry CESCO week, held in Chile. Check out this video for market outlook from CESCO.

It was also revealed this week that Trafigura is set to build new copper and zinc concentrates blending facilities in Huelva, Spain, as part of a major planned development of the port.

And in other news, the debate over whether to use steel or aluminium in the automotive market intensified.

Metal Bulletin’s Jethro Wookey and Steel First’s Alexandra Chapman introduced the discussion in this video.

Which way do you think it will go? Join us on Twitter and share your view #SteelvsAl

It was another week of surging prices for nickel and ferro-molybdenum.

LME nickel continued its export-ban fuelled rally, surpassing yet another milestone by going through $18,000.

Amid rising costs in the nickel supply chain caused by Indonesia’s ore export ban, Goldman Sachs raised its nickel forecasts by as much as 33%.

Chinese nickel pig iron prices continued to soar. Steel mills were left with no choice but to increase their purchase prices amid high offers from smelters and limited supply, sources said.

And while prices have surged, a preferential duty status on Ambatovy’s nickel briquette sales into Japan has enabled the producer to increase its sales in the country, Janie Davies revealed. This has tightened availability in Europe and created opportunities for other suppliers there.

Ferro-molybdenum prices continued their meteoric rise in Europe this week, Claire Hack explained, as demand from the stainless steel industry remained strong and supply tight.

And in the US, a court found that the section of the Dodd-Frank act requiring companies to report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on their use of conflict minerals “violates the First Amendment” of the US constitution.

In the minor metals markets, attention was firmly on Ukraine. Chromium suppliers have been unable to secure insurance or financing for material delivered to Ukraine, Metal Bulletin’s Chloe Smith revealed.

The UK High Court, meanwhile, this week refused a request by the London Metal Exchange to appeal the recent judgment against the exchange in the case brought by UC Rusal.

Next week is LME Week Asia in Hong Kong, and Metal Bulletin editor Alex Harrison set the scene. Click here for his nine big questions for LME week Asia 2014.

Fleur Ritzema
Twitter: FleurRitzema_MB

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