India keen to develop Zimbabwe's iron ore Reserves

India has evinced interest in partnering Zimbabwe for developing and utilising the low grade iron ore reserves in the African nation. Zimbabwe has large reserves of low grade iron ore and the Indian steel industry can be a partner in developing and gainfully utilising these resources, visiting Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma told the South African nation's Mines Minister Obert Moses Mpofu. According to a statement by the Steel Ministry, Verma said such ventures would be extremely beneficial and would further strengthen ties between the two nations. He also assured support to Zimbabwean entrepreneurs, wanting to set up base in India. According to the statement, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, Zimbabwe Walter Mzembi also sought Verma's help in developing projects in the area of Iron ore, Coal, Gold, Diamond and Chrome. "An MoU is under consideration between NMDC and a government Company of Zimbabwe," it added. Verma during his course of visit also met Zimbabwe's Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncubem, "The visit will strengthen relations between the two countries and give thrust to the possibility of exploration and development of mineral assets," the statement added.

  Worldsteel trims 2013 global steel demand growth forecast

Global steel consumption in 2013 is expected to grow at a slightly lower pace than previously forecast, mainly due to weaker growth in developed economies, the World Steel Association (Worldsteel) said. Worldsteel said it expects steel demand to grow by 2.9 percent to 1.454 billion tonnes in 2013, revising down its October forecast, which put it at 1.455 billion tonnes.
In 2014 global steel use is expected to grow by 3.2 percent to 1.5 billion tonnes, Worldsteel said. It expects China steel consumption to grow by 3.5 percent in 2013 and by 2.5 percent in 2014 to 669 million tonnes and 686 million tonnes, respectively. "We are happy to announce growth, we think it is positive growth. We don't think China is going to save the world anymore but it remains important. It still represents half of global steel demand and that I think will be the story going forward," Director General Edwin Basson told a news briefing.

  Danieli Corus successfully commissioned first Sublance in India

Recently, the first of the seven sublance systems purchased by JSW Steel for their two basic oxygen steel plants in Toranagallu, India, was successfully commissioned. This is the first of three at SMS I, the remaining four will be installed at SMS II. All seven will be fully operational before the end of this year. This is the first successful implementation of a sublance-based BOF process control system in India. This market has been very reluctant towards installing sublances, but operations at JSW Steel are now proving the value for the Indian market. The reduction in tap-to-tap time, that may vary between 7 and 10 minutes, will allow for up to 20% of additional heats from the same steel plant. Additionally, the client will experience benefits from using the sublance-based system in terms of increased hit rates, reduced consumption of fluxes, optimized utilization of scrap and hot metal and improved health, safety and environmental performance. Typically, benefits of Sublance-Based Process Control for the SMS operator translate into value as follows:
For thesesublances, the newest generation of measurement computer, DIRC VI, will be implemented. This new version allows for future additions to the measurement system. Phosphorous measurement will be implemented as well.

  ArcelorMittal expects 4.2% annual growth until 2018 in CIS

ArcelorMittal expects the growth of steel consumption in the Commonwealth of Independent States to remain strong until 2018, with an average increase of 4.2% per annum, according to a recent presentation given by Gonzalo Urquijo, member of the group's board.The growth is expected to take total steel consumption in the CIS region to 72 million metric tons/year by 2018, limiting slightly the oversupply currently present in the market, but not completely offsetting it. Mills in Russia, Ukraine and other CIS countries will continue targeting sales in Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and Europe even after 2018.
ArcelorMittal calculated that the CIS's steel demand growth in the period 2008-2013 was at a rate of 3.4% per annum, but that this is set to accelerate in the next five years. This year the company expects apparent steel demand in the region to increase by 2.5-3.5% y-o-y, as reported.The group controls in the CIS region two main production centres, KriviyRih in Ukraine and Termirtau in Kazakhstan. While last year the Ukrainian plant reached a five-year record production at 6.4 million mt, Termirtau saw its output falling by 19%, below 3 million mt, due to an accident at the sinter plant and blast furnace.
Urquijo also noted that margins for steelmakers in the CIS region might be challenged during the coming years due to increasing raw material prices in the international market, as well as pressure from rising freight, labour and energy costs.

  MMK to post loss

Russian steel major MMK is expected to report a net loss of $47 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, narrowing from a loss of $67 million a year earlier, a Reuters poll showed. Analysts expect weak results overall, affected by a drop in production, lower prices and sales volume. The company earlier reported a 12-percent drop in fourth-quarter crude steel production from the previous quarter. The company, controlled by billionaire Viktor Rashnikov, is expected to post revenue of $2.1 billion in the fourth quarter, down from $2.2 billion a year ago, according to the average response of nine analysts.

  African Minerals may seek Chinadebt for $2.1 billion

African Minerals Ltd., the Sierra Leone iron-ore producer that got a $1.5 billion investment from a Chinese steel mill last year, may seek debt funding from the Asian nation for a mine expansion scheduled for 2016. “We have a range of different options,”, Chief Executive Officer Keith Calder said, referring to the $2.1 billion development plan. “We have the opportunity for project-level debt, which would be a combination of perhaps Chinese and western banks.” African Minerals began shipments from the Tonkolili mine in November of 2011 and said it expects to reach its targeted production rate of 20 million metric tons annually this quarter. The company also issued its first forecast for exports this year of 13 million tons to 15 million tons. That estimate “is well above market expectations,” according to Jefferies Group Inc. analyst Seth Rosenfeld, who had predicted 12 million tons. “We are close to a major cash flow pick-up,” Rosenfeld wrote in a report. “While investors were disappointed by a series of delays to ramp-up targets in the last year, reaching the end of a bumpy ride should help African Minerals gradually rebuild some investor confidence.” The company may need about $1.5 billion of debt on top of about $500 million of its current cash to fund the expansion, known as Pepel, that will increase capacity to 35 million tons, Chief Financial Officer Miguel Perry said in an interview. China's Shandong Iron & Steel Group Co. owns 25 percent of the Sierra Leone mine. “We've got interest coming from the Chinese to put in project funding debt,” Perry said. “That really proves the strength of the relationship and the benefits of the relationship from partnering with Shandong.” African Minerals produced 5.1 million tons last year and shipped 4.3 million tons, with sales of $242 million. It posted an operating loss of $225.6 million, from a 2011 loss of $41.5 million. That included a $51.1 million charge for breaching an accord with its Chinese partner relating to missing production and sales targets. The company is seeking to recover losses from an estimated $18 million fuel theft, it said.

  PT Krakatau Steel plant to spend USD 1.2 billion in 2013

PT Krakatau Steel is planning to spend up to USD1.2 billion this year for a number of ongoing projects despite pressure from the declining steel price, which resulted in an astronomical fall in its profits last year. Mr Sukandar, Finance director, said that as much as USD 500 million of the total capital expenditure would be directed into projects for the company and its subsidiaries. The projects include the development of a 1.2 million tonne capacity blast furnace with total investment of USD 601.46 million; a USD 132 million in total investment, and a water pipe system with IDR 66 billion in total investment. Apart from these projects, Krakatau will also see around USD 700 million disbursed this year to support the development of a JV, called PT Krakatau POSCO, for a steel mill in Cilegon, Banten, with total investment for the first stage amounting to USD 3 billion. Mr Sukandar said ,“All the funding is in place. Regarding the port expansion and power plant, there are funds from local banks as well as money from our initial public offering [in 2010]. For the blast furnace, there are syndicated loans from Sinosure [China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation].” Mr Irvan Kamal Hakim director of Krakatau said that the company's aggressive expansion plans this year followed last year's massive capital expenditure of IDR 13 trillion. Mr Irvan said ,“We are spending big right now and hope to enjoy the results when the projects are completed in 2015 and 2016. However, we are careful with our major expenditure as the global economic outlook remains unstable.”
The company suffered from a major decline in the price of steel last year caused by the global economic slowdown and an oversupply of steel. However, the increase could not be translated into increased profits as the company was suffering from a drop in the average selling price of its main product, HRC, of around 11% to USD 773 per tonne in 2012 from USD 869 per tonne in 2011. Despite a fall in the price of its prime raw material, steel pellets, by 7% to USD 215.5 per tonne in 2012 from USD 232.2 per tonne in 2011, the decline in the raw material price was lower than the selling price. Mr Sukandar said that the company also suffered from the government's decision last year to approve a 35% increase in the price of natural gas. Krakatau's natural gas price rose by 14.6% to USD 10.2 per million British thermal units last year from USD 8.9 a year earlier.