Macroeconomics: IMF slashes global growth outlook

The IMF has revised down its world economic forecast, increasing the fall in global GDP it expects this year to 4.9% (previously a 3.0% decline). Forecast growth in global GDP in 2021 remains more or less unchanged at 5.4%, implying the IMF now expects the COVID-19 pandemic to have a… Read more

Rhenium: Umicore closes Wickliffe, OH recycling facility

Leading minor and precious metals recycler, Belgium-headquartered Umicore, has discontinued rhenium, cobalt and nickel recycling operations at its plant in Wickliffe, Ohio, USA. While the group confirmed to Roskill that cobalt and nickel recycling activities have been allocated to other Umicore plants, the closure of Wickliffe represents the group’s exit… Read more

Nickel, chromium: Chinese conference season returns post-COVID-19 as Roskill attends Nickel & Chrome Products Summit

The 18th International Nickel & Chrome Products Summit, held by CNFEOL in Wuxi, Jiangsu in early-June, marked Roskill’s return to the post-COVID-19 conference scene. Unsurprisingly, the central focus of discussion at the conference, and between delegates, was the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on the nickel, chromium and downstream stainless… Read more

Tin: PT Timah lowers sales target after COVID-19 cuts

The world’s largest refined tin producer in 2019, Indonesia’s PT Timah, has announced it will target refined tin sales of 55kt in 2020, compared to 67.7kt in 2019. In March 2020, PT Timah announced temporary 20-30% cuts to monthly refined tin production and restrictions to exports. These measures were taken… Read more

Rare earths: Oil refineries ramp up as COVID-19 restrictions ease

Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a sharp reduction in demand for refined fuels with refineries suspending operations through April. With the easing of lockdown restrictions, demand is slowly returning; plants in the USA and Europe restarted towards the end of May and into early-June. Roskill View Fluid catalytic cracking… Read more

Automotive, cobalt: Tesla signs offtake with Glencore for DRC cobalt

Tesla has struck a deal with Glencore, the world’s leading cobalt producer, for the procurement of cobalt to be used in Li-ion batteries for its range of electric vehicles. Reports of the two powerhouses being in discussions first surfaced in January 2020, though no details were initially disclosed. The deal… Read more

Salt: Indian production could see major disruption in 2020

The effects of the COVID-19 virus on Indian salt production could be significant. Virtually all Indian salt is produced using solar evaporation of seawater and production takes place between October and June, peaking in March and April. Around 95% of output is carried out in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and… Read more

Steel alloys: China’s steel production keeps rising

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), China’s crude steel output picked up pace again in May, posting 1.9% y-o-y growth for the January-May period, at 411.8Mt. May 2020 set a historical production record of 92.3Mt. According to a Mysteel weekly survey of over 247 steel mills, China’s blast… Read more

Tungsten: Masan Resources completes acquisition of H.C. Starck Tungsten

Vietnamese tungsten group Masan Resources has completed the acquisition of H.C. Starck Tungsten (HCST), following its bid for the business in September 2019. HCST, which was previously part of the H.C. Starck Group, itself owned by private equity investors Advent International and The Carlyle Group, is one of a number… Read more

Lithium: Liontown changes tack on Kathleen Valley plant design

Liontown recently outlined several new points of focus for an updated pre-feasibility study on the Kathleen Valley lithium project in Western Australia. The one that caught the attention of Roskill’s cost modelling team was the change in design to the project’s spodumene concentrate processing flowsheet, from one using dense media… Read more

Nickel: Indonesia quashes hopes of ore export ban U-turn

The Indonesian government has confirmed that a ban on exporting nickel ores will remain in place following a request from the Indonesian nickel miners’ association (APNI). APNI proposed back in April that the country should permit a resumption of shipments of nickel ores, in order to mitigate the impact on… Read more