Without metals and industrial elements — steel, copper, aluminum, iron ore, nickel, zinc, titanium, etc. — human civilization cannot exist. Nearly all manufacturing is dependent on metals for industrial processes. Even plastics cannot be made without metals for the injection molding, and aluminum and copper are required for all electrical systems, both commercial and residential.
Yet right now, aluminum, copper and steel plants are shutting down worldwide. We’ve compiled a list (see below) of just some of the shutdowns so far this year.
Some shutdowns are happening under “force majeure” declarations. Others cite sky-high energy prices, and yet others say there’s not enough demand as the global economy implodes (by design).
In today’s podcast (below), I cover the global shut downs of metals smelting and fabrication operations, revealing the shocking global trend of the dismantling of infrastructure that keeps humanity alive. Note that this is happening in parallel with global shutdowns of:
- Food, fertilizer and agriculture
Thus, billions of human beings are being thrust into a scenario where they face unemployment, bankruptcy, starvation and freezing temperatures, even as their own (western) governments plot against them to maximize suffering and death.
Below, find the full list of metals and steel plants that have so far shut down around the world. But first, here’s the Situation Update podcast that gets into this (and much more), covering the day’s explosive news items with analysis and commentary:
Metals and steel plant closures so far in 2022
Jan 02, 2022, Montenegro
Montenegro’s Uniprom has shut down the country’s sole aluminium smelter, KAP, with the procedure being completed by December 30, after it failed to reach an agreement on a new electricity price with power company EPCG, public broadcaster RTCG reported.
Uniprom warned earlier that it would close KAP as rising electricity prices make its production uneconomic. Uniprom’s owner, local businessman VeselinPejovic, accused EPCG of being responsible for the decision, while EPCG asked the businessman to hold another round of talks to find a solution.
By the end of 2021, KAP was paying €45 per MWh plus VAT, while on international markets the electricity price is now around €250 per MWh.
Feb 07, 2022, Peru
MMG LTD LAS BAMBAS
MMG Ltd (1208.HK) said on Monday that production at its Las Bambas copper mine in Peru may stop by Feb. 20 after a local community blocked again a road used by the miner, causing the company to curtail operations.
The Chinese-owned mine has been a flashpoint of protests and road blockades since it started functioning in 2016, with operations last suspended in December due to a similar blockade.
Mar 03,2022, Ukraine
A giant Ukrainian steel mill owned by ArcelorMittal SA closed on Thursday, shutting one the country’s largest pieces of industry after days of holding out as other foreign companies retreated in the face of Russia’s onslaught.
Ukrainian industry has been hit hard by the Russian invasion, with car-part manufacturers, breweries, an alumina refinery and other foreign companies halting production.
Mar 04, 2022, Spain
MEGASA SIDERÚRGICA NARÓN
According to Europa Press, on March 4 Megasa halted production at its 700,000 mt/yrNaron steel plant near La Coruna, having already shifted much of its production to night shifts to avoid peak prices.
The company did not reply to messages seeking confirmation.
Mar 10, 2022, United Kingdom
Elsewhere in Europe, Liberty Steel’s mill at Rotherham in the U.K. has been forced to stop production due to soaring power costs, according to a person familiar with the matter. Liberty declined to comment.
Mar 10, 2022, Germany
In Germany, Salzgitter reduced its melting operations at its Peine plant on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the company said.
Mar 10, 2022, Spain
ARCELORMITTAL SA’S SESTAO
ArcelorMittal SA’s Sestao plant in Spain will not resume working as previously planned on March 13 due to high electricity costs, a spokesman told Bloomberg News in response to questions.
Its facility in Olaberria stopped Tuesday and restarted on Wednesday, operating intermittently.
Mar 10, 2022, Spain
Privately held producer Celsa, whose Barcelona mill has an annual capacity of 2.5 million tons, also cut output, citing unbearable energy costs.
“We are meeting the demands of our customers but our furnaces are operating at different hours to adapt to electricity prices,” a Celsa spokesperson said.
Mar 11, 2022, Spain
Acerinox became the latest steel producer to halt operations in Spain on Thursday due to surging energy prices caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
A union source at the Spanish stainless steel maker told AFP the firm had halted production at its plant in Cadiz in the southern Andalucia region due to soaring electricity prices.
Mar 14, 2022, Peru
SOUTHERN COPPER CORP (SCCO.N)’S CUAJONE MINE
Southern Copper Corp (SCCO.N)’s Cuajone mine in Peru has suspended operations since Feb. 28 due to a protest by local communities who cut the company’s water access and blocked a key railroad, Peru’s mining chamber SNMPE said on Monday.
Southern Copper is one of the country’s top copper producer and Cuajone is the company’s second largest mine in the country.
The company has denounced violence by the protesters while the government has denounced violence on both sides.
Apr 02, 2022, USA
Rio Tinto has declared force majeure on shipments of copper cathode from its Kennecott operation in Utah after an earthquake in March.
The declaration was made as the Utah facility continues to reopen after being hit by a 5.7 magnitude earthquake on 18 March.
The facility’s mine, concentrator and tailings have resumed operations.
Kennecott accounts for approximately 11pc of copper production in the US, according to Rio Tinto.
Apr 12, 2022, Honduras
AURA MINERALS (TSX: ORA)
Aura Minerals (TSX: ORA) said today that the company achieved total quarterly production of 61,041 gold equivalent ounces (“GEO”), which is 9% lower compared to Q1 2021 (66,782 GEO).
However, the company noted that its Q1 2022 production was in line with management’s expectations, with another strong quarter at the company’s Aranzazu mine and lower production at the company’s EPP and San Andres mines due mine sequencing and preparation for higher production in the next quarters.
Apr 21, 2022, Australia
BHP GROUP (BHP.AX)
BHP Group (BHP.AX) on Thursday fell short of estimates for iron ore production for the March quarter, as a pandemic-related labour crunch weighed on the miner’s efforts to boost production in the mineral-rich Pilbara region of Western Australia.
The world’s largest listed miner warned June-quarter production of the steel-making commodity is also expected to be impacted by lingering worker absenteeism, but said it remained on track to meet fiscal 2022 costs and volume forecast.
Apr 21,2022, South Africa
ANGLO AMERICAN PLC
copper, nickel, PGM, iron ore, coal and manganese ore
Anglo American announced today that its copper production decreased by 13% year-over-year to 140 ktonnes in Q1 2022 primarily due to planned lower grades.
Metal in concentrate production from the company’s platinum group metals operations decreased by 6%, primarily due to high rainfall at Mogalakwena, with full year guidance revised to 3.9–4.3 million ounces (previously 4.1-4.5 million ounces).
Iron ore production decreased by 19% to 13.2 Mt as high rainfall and plant issues affected both Kumba and Minas-Rio, with full year guidance revised to 60-64 million tonnes (previously 63-67 million tonnes).
Metallurgical coal production decreased by 32% to 2.2 Mt due to the delayed longwall move at Moranbah and the end of production from Grasstree.
Apr 21, 2022, Chile
ANTOFAGASTA (LSE: ANTO)
Chile-focused miner Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO), the world’s top-10 copper producer, said today that its copper production in Q1 2022 was 138.8 ktonnes, down 24% compared to Q1 2021 (183 ktonnes) and in line with guidance.
The company explained that lower copper production was mainly due to the expected temporary reduction in throughput at Los Pelambres because of the drought and lower grades at Centinela Concentrates.
Apr 27, 2022, Canada
FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS
Global copper miner First Quantum Minerals has revised down its 2022 production guidance and lifted cost expectations after a soft start to the year while the company’s share price has eased lower.
Total copper production guidance for the year now stands at 790,000-855,000 tonnes, which is down from 810,000-880,000 tonnes.
The revision followed first quarter production falling 10% from Q4 2021 to 182,210 tonnes.
May 04,2022, Malaysia
FORTRESS MINERALS LTD
4Q22 results were below expectations. Revenue and PATMI were at 12%/6% of our FY22e forecasts.
4Q22 sales volume decreased 72.2% YoY due to lower operating capacity caused by the spread of the Omicron variant among workers and unfavourable weather conditions.
Jun 18, 2022, Chile
The leading body of Chilean state-possessed Codelco, the world’s biggest copper maker, settled on Friday to begin a cycle to close its disturbed Ventanas smelter, the organization said in a proclamation.
Laborers at Codelco had taken steps to make a move, including a strike, on the off chance that the board didn’t contribute to overhauling the office following an ecological occurrence that nauseated many individuals.
The mining organization halted the smelter to finish upkeep and functional changes requested by the ecological controller after many individuals became sick with side effects of inebriation in the space where the smelter and different ventures work.
Jul 20,2022, Brazil
Iron ore and copper
Brazilian mining giant Vale has trimmed its 2022 iron ore and copper production guidance by about 4% and 19% at the mid-points in a move that sees the company implementing its “value over volume” strategy for the former while shutdowns and poor plant performance weighed on the latter.
Jul 25, 2022, Australia
Oz Minerals has adjusted its full year copper production expectations to account for a softer start to the year.
Copper production expectations have been lowered from the previous estimate of between 127 000 t and 149 000 t, to between 120 000 t and 135 000 t, reflecting the impact of wet weather conditions and Covid-related absenteeism on operations during the second quarter ended June, as well as materials handling system belt damage at the Carrapateena operation.
In the June quarter, copper production reached 27 423 t, down from the 30 322 t delivered in the previous quarter, while gold production increased from 48 773 oz to 51 184 oz in the same period.
Jul 29, 2022
DUNDEE PRECIOUS METALS (TSX: DPM)
Dundee Precious Metals (TSX: DPM) reported Thursday that in Q2 2022, its gold production was 72,904 ounces, 14% lower than the corresponding period in 2021.
The company said that decline in gold production was due primarily to lower expected gold grades at Ada Tepeas a result of mining in lower gold grade zones, partially offset by improved gold recoveries at Chelopech.
Moreover, the company’s copper production in the second quarter of 2022 decreased by 12% to 8.8 million pounds due primarily to lower copper grades and recoveries.
Aug 01, 2022, Italy
The plant with a capacity of 4 million tons of steel per year left only one blast furnace in operation due to weak demand and high production costs
The Italian steel company Acciaieried’Italia has shut down its second blast furnace since August 1, 2022. This was reported by Yeih.corp.
The company has only one blast furnace in operation. The shutdown was caused by low cash flow, weak market demand and high production costs.
Aug 28, 2022, Kazakhstan
Copper, Cobalt, Zinc
Glencore PLC on Thursday cut 2022 production guidance for copper, cobalt and zinc, and raised it for nickel and ferrochrome.
The commodity mining and trading giant reduced copper guidance to around 1.11 million metric tons from 1.15 million tons, and cobalt to 45,000 tons from 48,000 tons, reflecting first-quarter performance.
In addition, because of a slower-than-expected ramp-up at the Zhairem project in Kazakhstan, the 2022 outlook for zinc production is cut by 9% to 1.01 million tons, the company said.
Aug 17, 2022, Slovakia
NORSK HYDRO (NHY.OL)
Europe’s energy crisis has claimed another victim in the power-hungry metals industry, with Norsk Hydro ASA planning to shutter an aluminum smelter in Slovakia at the end of next month.
Aluminum is one of the most energy-intensive metals to produce, and the closure of the Slovalco facility adds to growing signs of stress in Europe’s industrial economy as power prices surge to record highs. The region had already lost about half of its zinc and aluminum smelting capacity during the past year, mainly as producers dialed back output. Hydro and others are now moving to shut down plants entirely.
Aug 23, 2022, Garpenberg, Sweden
Swedish miner Boliden (BOL.ST) has declared force majeure on zinc deliveries to Europe due to a strike among Norwegian electrochemical industry workers, although some production is still running, a company spokesperson said on Tuesday.
The strike, which started on Monday, is targeting several electrochemical plants, including Boliden’s zinc smelter in Odda and Glencore’s (GLEN.L) nickel refinery in Kristiansand as well as aluminium output at Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL) and Alcoa (AA.N).
Aug 25, 2022, Oregon, USA
COLUMBIA STEEL CASTING CO.
Columbia Steel Casting Co., a Portland metal casting company that dates back more than a century, told state regulators Wednesday it plans to shut down operations at its North Portland foundry and lay off most of its workforce.
The company said 225 employees, many represented by two different unions, would be laid off beginning in October. The filing indicated the closure would be permanent. A letter to employees indicated that the company had sought a buyer to take over the foundry and maintain operations, but those efforts had failed so far.
Aug 25, 2022, Slovenia
Slovenia’s Talum TLBR.LJ has cut production of primary aluminium to around 20% of its smelter capacity, a spokesperson said, joining other European firms forced to reduce output by sky-high energy costs.
Smelting aluminium is extremely energy intensive and power prices in Europe have increased up to tenfold since the start of 2021, making production at some sites unviable. TRDEBMc1, TRFRBMc1, FVBMc1
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