Regulation latest news

  • April 2016

    Nabaltec begins 2016 with record high revenues

    29 April 2016

    Schwandorf, Germany-based Nabaltec AG has reported positive revenues for the first three months of 2016, although EBIT was negatively impacted by euro-dollar exchange rates. While the speciality alumina producer expressed concerns over US raw material supply, it expects moderate revenue growth for the remainder of the year.

  • Policy and high demand push Chinese TiO2 prices up again

    29 April 2016

    Rising titanium dioxide consumption in China’s recovering real estate market coupled with positive sentiment following the annual meeting of the China TiO2 association last month have prompted the country’s producers to implement their fifth round of price increases this year.

  • Anglo American divests Brazilian phosphate operation

    29 April 2016

    Multinational miner Anglo American has sold off its phosphate and niobium operations in Brazil to a Chinese company as part of its ongoing strategy to divest non-core businesses.

  • Is China turning to become a fluorspar importer?

    29 April 2016

    Trade Review: Exports for both acid and met grade fluorspar dropped significantly in Q1 2016, while HF acid trades remained steady against AlF3. China’s acidspar imports have increased by as much as 220% y-o-y, mainly from Vietnam, following four-digit growth in 2015 imports.

  • Acquisitions save the day for Imerys in Q1

    29 April 2016

    The French refractory producer saw an improvement of its financials in the first three months of the year despite the headwinds affecting most commodity markets, although the steel and ceramic proppants operations remained weak.

  • Price briefing 22-29 April 2016

    29 April 2016

    Lithium spot market rises, but graphite stable

  • Weak oil and gas sector hits Chemtura revenues

    29 April 2016

    The bromine chemicals producer reported demand for drilling fluids as being down as the oil and gas sector continues to struggle.

  • Lithium spot prices edge upward

    29 April 2016

    The prices for lithium contracts agreed in Q2 2016 appear to be tracking the trajectory of spot prices, which continue to soar.

  • Ceramics Expo 2016: US refractory growth to be found outside of steel

    29 April 2016

    Although the US refractories sector has faced a number of challenges in the last few years, most notably the decline in steel demand and overcapacity, analysts predict steady growth from the market out to 2019, driven by the growing importance of other end markets.

  • New Indian department to lure mining investors

    28 April 2016

    India’s Ministry of Mines to establish an inter-ministerial group responsible for revisiting mine auction plans and making it pro-investor, following the disappointing response it received over 43 mineral blocks out of which only six were auctioned last year.

  • Morocco’s National phosphate company to ramp up production

    28 April 2016

    The world’s leading phosphate exporter, Morocco's Office Cherifien de Phosphate (OCP), has revealed plans to expand its mining capabilities to increase the production of phosphate-enhanced fertiliser, on the back of what it says is increased demand.

  • Solvay suspends soda ash production in Egypt

    28 April 2016

    Despite the recent news out of China which indicated that soda ash prices were increasing on the back of renewed demand, Solvay has decided to idle one of its plants. This however is not due to muted market demand, but rather to the increasing cost of energy in Alexandria, Egypt.

  • Lower prices take toll on Huntsman’s Q1 sales

    28 April 2016

    The Texan supplier of pigments and chemicals suffered from depressed pricing conditions which reduced its revenues year-on-year, although earnings improved against the previous quarter and the company maintains it is on track to complete the divestment of its titanium dioxide (TiO2) business.

  • China’s Q1 2016 graphite trades substantiate domestic inactivity

    28 April 2016

    Trade Review: Statistics reveal the impact of slowing demand keeping Chinese producers from resuming operations post February’s Spring Festival shutdown; however spherical trades surge.

  • Carbo Ceramics Q1 results reveal 122% slide in revenue

    28 April 2016

    The latest round of results from Carbo Ceramics makes for sombre reading. The company has worked hard to realign with muted market demand for its products, and says it expects the depressed market to continue. Carbo has idled plants and reduced expenditure where it could - and expects to spend six times less on capex in 2016. There is no forced optimism in these results - the company believes it may even have to raise additional capital over the course of the year.

  • Mexichem Q1 2016 results hit by industry headwinds

    28 April 2016

    Leading fluorspar producer Mexichem has reported negative growth in its Q1 2016 results bearing the brunt of appreciation of US dollar against other currencies, decline in resin prices and weaker demand in the fluorspar business. The company’s shares have dropped following the blast at its VCM plant.

  • IDTechEx ’16: Sensors a graphene end market to watch

    28 April 2016

    Sensory devices are among a number of potentially fruitful markets for graphene, as the industry continues its drive to find a sustainable, scalable destination for the material.

  • Jordan aims to boost fertiliser mineral trade

    28 April 2016

    Middle East country aim to export more phosphate and potash to Djibouti and Turkey

  • Ceramics Expo 2016: Asia driving growth in aerospace applications

    28 April 2016

    While the need for newly developed materials in the aerospace sector is growing – driven by growth in the Asian commercial aerospace sector – further research is needed to overcome the current limitations in ceramics materials to make them better, lighter and stronger.

  • Northeast China injects more graphite investment

    27 April 2016

    Local governments in Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces are backing a new industrial park and mine developments, in the hope that public funding will attract private investment into the sector. Some have criticised the timing of the move, given that the region is already facing graphite oversupply.

  • IDTechEx '16: Graphene continues to look to practical uses

    27 April 2016

    The focus of the graphene industry has shifted from hyperbole about the potential of the 'miracle material' to more immediate uses in recent years, but participants remain optimistic about the potential for further applications to come online as the substance moves towards mass production.

  • Weak oil markets affect Baker Hughes’ Q1 2016 results

    27 April 2016

    Slow activity in oil and gas hit hard Baker Hughes’ revenues, which fell across the board in all geographical areas served by the industrial machinery supplier, as further weakening is expected in Q2.

  • Graphite enquiries rise signals seasonal recovery

    27 April 2016

    Market Commentary: Flake graphite trades surge moving into buying season as consumers replenish stocks; excess supply continues to daunt despite China closures

  • Umicore to up NMC cathode materials output by 300%

    27 April 2016

    The Belgian-based technology group is to boost its capacity for rechargeable battery cathode materials by three-fold in the next three years, the company announced today.

  • Low sales deter DuPont’s Q1 2016 performance

    27 April 2016

    US-based leading chemicals company has registered negative growth in its quarterly results as the company’s total sales dropped by 6% y-o-y- for the first quarter because of strong dollar and low trades; however 7% cut in operating expenses in 2015 mitigates the impact of weak results.

  • US Silica results show impact of low drill activity as profits slide into red

    27 April 2016

    North American proppant supplier US Silica Holdings Inc. today released its Q1 2016 results which show the impact of the sluggish drilling market. The company currently operates nine industrial sand production plants, for markets such as glass, and eight oil and gas sand production plants to supply silica (frac) sand for use in the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) process.

  • Tianqi Lithium plans for expansion

    27 April 2016

    News that Tianqi is also planning to expand its hydroxide offering is not a major surprise as the company has aggressively grown in the last few years and is taking full advantage of the bullish market situation at the moment. It does mean, however, that there will be more capacity in China, to sate domestic demand.

  • Ceramics Expo 2016: Growth in energy harvesting for ceramics picking up speed

    27 April 2016

    The increased uptake of EVs globally and the growing interest in various types of battery components is fuelling demand for ceramics in energy harvesting, which has so far accounted for a fraction of the industry.

  • Ceramics Expo 2016: Innovation matters, but people are key

    27 April 2016

    In a difficult market, the message that innovation would be most likely to drive growth in ceramics was once again hammered home. However speakers emphasised the importance on developing and retaining staff in order to achieve the creativity needed to innovate.

  • A tale of two producers: SQM-Rockwood spat illustrates rising lithium tensions

    26 April 2016

    The neighbouring lithium suppliers have become embroiled in a squabble over Rockwood’s plans to increase output. But the roots of the enmity stretch far deeper.

  • Trimex hit with $194m penalty for illegal mining activity, refutes charges

    26 April 2016

    Andhra Pradesh state government’s vigilance department has charged India’s leading mineral sand miner Trimex for illegal mining activities. Trimex refutes the allegations.

  • Vietnamese cement maker orders grinding equipment

    26 April 2016

    German machinery manufacturer Loesche Gmbh has secured a contract to supply Vietnamese producer Than Than Group Cement JSC with new equipment for its main plant.

  • EU orders recovery of alumina tax exemptions

    26 April 2016

    Tax exemptions granted to alumina producers in France, Italy and Ireland have been ruled unlawful by the EU General Court, which ordered the repayment of the state aid.

  • Sierra Rutile give production update

    26 April 2016

    The sale of high grade rutile into the metallurgical market is a milestone in itself as it indicates that the stockpiled material is running low, potentially, and shows how market recovery in this sector could prove beneficial for Sierra Rutile. This is a win for the company as it also underscores the high grade of its material - the titanium metal industry typically needs rutile of a grade of 95% Ti or above.

  • Halliburton-Baker Hughes merger blocked by DOJ lawsuit

    25 April 2016

    Takeover “risky, piecemeal and vague” Too many overlaps and competition issues Halliburton and Baker Hughes plan appeal

  • US blocks soda ash shipments from China made using alleged forced labour

    25 April 2016

    Suspected convict labour used in production Loophole closed in US trade law New law gives CBP more authority

  • Mexichem optimistic on acidspar, fluorochemical industry conditions

    25 April 2016

    Transition to HFOs unlikely to impact acidspar Questions for GulfFluor’s AlF3 plant in GCC Solvay to use tailing for the graphite market

  • SQM and Lithium Americas announce Argentinian JV

    25 April 2016

    First supporting of a junior by a senior market player SQM paid $25m for 50% stake Focus now on completing updated DFS

  • Tata Chemicals announces five week shut-down of Indian fertiliser plant

    25 April 2016

    Haldia fertiliser plant to close for five weeks; Interruption to raw materials access blamed

  • Falling prices slow down M&A activity in fertiliser industry

    25 April 2016

    Fertiliser producers display negative growth; Potash and phosphate prices moving down

  • China outlines plans for rare earths production controls

    25 April 2016

    Output restricted in 2016 Obsolete operations to be closed down Companies’ profits waning

  • Ores central to China-Pakistan infrastructure plan

    25 April 2016

    The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) industrial initiative will seek to exploit large ore reserves including chromite and iron ore through the setting up of extraction and production facilities.

  • UPDATE: Thyssenkrupp to supply clinker line to German cement maker

    25 April 2016

    Thyssenkrupp AG has closed a deal to supply German cement manufacturer HeildelbergCement AG with a high-efficiency cement clinker production line for an undisclosed sum.

  • Losses for Sirius Minerals as polyhalite project faces challenges

    25 April 2016

    UK potash producer Sirius Minerals reported a total loss of £7.1m ($10.2m*) for the nine months to the end of December, and confirmed today it is seeking investors to fund its North Yorkshire polyhalite development, a several-billion pound project that the company is still keen to pursue.

  • Uralkali cuts potash output by 4%

    25 April 2016

    Russian potash manufacturer Uralkali dropped its Q1 production by 100,000 tonnes, amid a scenario of weak demand and prices and the diminished output from one of its Solikamsk-2 site, which was flooded in late 2014 before an enormous sinkhole stopped all operations.

  • Will the dark clouds of the graphite industry settle in 2016?

    25 April 2016

    Trade statistics unveil graphite challenges; Steel pressure to dampen refractories’ outlook

  • MagMin 2016: Networking talks reveal the true nature of magnesia industry

    25 April 2016

    Traders selling off export quota licences European cement sector: challenges in 2016 Chemicals gain as refractories market shrinks

  • Argentina’s import restrictions – a threat to lithium industry growth?

    25 April 2016

    The South American nation is already an important supplier of lithium to the world market, but import controls coupled with high trade tariffs could undermine the country’s ambitions to expand this role, Rose Pengelly, IM Correspondent, finds.

  • Oman antimony roaster edges forward with first metal production

    25 April 2016

    Strategic and Precious Metals Processing LLC (SPMP), the joint venture (JV) vessel building the roaster, announced the project’s latest progress as it seeks to bring online later this year an antimony ingot and powdered concentrates facility to be ramped up to a capacity of 20,000 tpa from 2018.

  • MZI Resources posts lower than expected Q1 2016 production

    25 April 2016

    Zircon and leucoxene producer MZI Resources' operational update from its Keysbrook mineral sands project in Western Australia shows that its first shipment is expected to occur later than initially planned, due in part to some teething problems with the ramp up

  • Rockwood readies itself for SQM attempt to block lithium increase

    25 April 2016

    Rockwood Lithium has responded to news that local rival Sociedad de Quimica y Minera SA (SQM) will seek to prevent the expansion of its lithium production in Chile, noting it will use “all recourses available” to respond to any doubts over its permit, Chilean daily La Tercera has reported. A tripling of its Chilean production by Rockwood could go some way to ease the supply shortage in lithium products expected over the next half decade.

  • Fluorspar enquiries surge entering seasonal buying period

    22 April 2016

    Price Review: Increased trade enquiries for the fluorine material signal recovery as the buying season kicks off, with potential price increase despite excess supply in China; industry remains optimistic for H2 2016.

  • SQM aims to block Rockwood expansion

    22 April 2016

    Chilean lithium producer Sociedad de Quimica y Minera SA (SQM) will attempt to halt a planned lithium production increase by rival producer Rockwood Lithium, owed by US chemicals producer Albemarle Corp., according to the minutes of a March SQM board meeting seen this week by local business daily, Diario Financiero.

  • Danakali confident about ‘relisient SOP pricing’

    22 April 2016

    Australian potash manufacturer Danakali Ltd is confident its sulphate of potash (SOP) operation in Eritrea harbours profitable selling opportunities, while standard potash fertilisers have been declining due to conjunctural weakness in global agricultural crops.

  • Canada Fluorspar’s St Lawrence project inches forward

    22 April 2016

    Much-awaited progress on the exploration company’s St Lawrence fluorspar mine, based in Newfoundland, Canada, has materialised as the project received the go ahead over construction of the mill and development of open pit mining, expected to begin in the second quarter of 2016.

  • Price Briefing 15-21 April 2016

    22 April 2016

    Graphite prices still low, but hope for rare earths

  • Magnis Resources delivers Li-ion battery grade anodes from Tanzanian graphite

    22 April 2016

    Australia-based graphite junior has successfully managed to produce high purity lithium-ion battery anodes using graphite feedstocks from its Nachu project in Eastern Africa aiming to develop an alternative environment-friendly supply chain.

  • Uralchem boosts complex fertiliser output in Q1

    22 April 2016

    Russian crop nutrients producer JSC Uralchem increased production across all lines by 4% in the first quarter of the year to a total 1.57m tonnes, following higher volumes of phosphoric and complex fertilisers.

  • China to impose new TiO2 manufacturing standards in October

    22 April 2016

    Limits on energy consumption in China’s titanium dioxide industry are the latest efforts by the government to eradicate excess and inefficient capacity from the domestic market, where further price rises have been predicted this year.

  • Global steel output shrinks by 3.6% in Q1 2016

    21 April 2016

    First quarter figure released by the World Steel Association shows that steelmaking is still on the slide, which is bad news for the global refractories industry, although the erosion in production steadied towards the end of the three month period.

  • Mormugao Port pushes for expansion

    21 April 2016

    South Indian port calls for investment to expand limestone and bauxite handling

  • US’s antidumping probe to deviate China’s refrigerant trajectory

    21 April 2016

    End-market update: Further probes into the alleged dumping of Chinese low-priced refrigerants such as R134a by the US is likely to push excessive capacities on to other potential markets until the phase out is accomplished. As long as the progress of the HFC phase down outside the US, Europe and Japan remains slow as fewer Non-Article 5 countries have taken a lead to develop alternative refrigerants, this means that low-cost supplies from China are likely to dominate the refrigerants market.

  • South Korea pushes on with TiO2 anti-dumping case against China

    21 April 2016

    Prompted by a complaint by its only domestic TiO2 producer, the small Asian nation is seeking to restrict Cheap Chinese imports of the material, although Chinese media say that this is being opposed by South Korean consumers of TiO2.

  • Low zircon sales hit Iluka’s Q1 performance

    21 April 2016

    Iluka Resources saw a sharp drop in turnover in Q1 2016 as sales of one of its flagship products, zircon, fell by 25%, while production volumes increased and multiple operations are being halted to reduce existing stocks.

  • China tightens clampdown on illegal mining

    20 April 2016

    Chinese authorities are stepping up supervision of mining practices and clamping down on illegal bauxite and magnesite extraction operations, with more cases coming to light throughout the country.

  • Select Sands starts silica sand production at US site

    20 April 2016

    Production of silica sands has started at TSX-listed Select Sands Corp.’s Sandtown deposit in Arkansas, US. As the company aims to become a premium supplier to the industrial and oilfield sectors, limited production is taking pace to fulfil purchase orders for Tier 1 sand into industrial markets, as sand suppliers look to other sectors to combat the oil and gas downturn.

  • Mixed performance for Chinese rare earth companies

    20 April 2016

    Several of the largest rare earths producers in China reported weaker revenue and profits in Q1, prompted by low market prices which hindered financial performance.

  • Illegal rare earth mining in China continues

    20 April 2016

    Illegal production of rare earths in China remains rampant despite governmental intervention to curb the widespread practice, as Beijing seeks to impose tighter rules on the sector.

  • Chinese rare earth prices to increase

    20 April 2016

    Prices of Chinese rare earths have started to rise on the back of stockpiling actions taken by the six largest rare earth groups in China following governmental indications, as 2016 exports show visible growth.

  • Exxaro plans restructuring which could result in redundancies

    20 April 2016

    South African resources company Exxaro has announced it is restructuring the company, although it is not clear how the reorganisation will affect its titanium dioxide business.

  • Australian Bauxite eyes opportunities for non-met market sales

    19 April 2016

    Bauxite supplier Australian Bauxite is targeting customers outside of the metallurgical industry to capitalise on better pricing conditions in order to sidestep the oversupply of met-grade product on the market, the company told IM.

  • India’s WPI for minerals drops by 2.5% in March

    19 April 2016

    The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry in India released the official Wholesale Price Index for 'all commodities' indicating an overall drop of 0.85% in March as WPI inflation rate continues to stay in the deflationary zone. Index for minerals fell by 2.5% from last month on the back of weak commodity prices.

  • MagMin 2016: Terna Mag turnaround

    19 April 2016

    The Greek miner only started shipping magnesite in 2014 and has already seen some of the most difficult conditions in the industry’s history. However, it believes that by building on its advantages and making a specific value proposition to the market, Terna Mag can successfully differentiate itself from its competitors.

  • Tasnee reduces net loss by 86% in Q1 2016

    19 April 2016

    Tasnee, one of the large global TiO2 producers, has been struggling in recent years as both of the main sectors in which it operates – petrochemicals and titanium – have experienced a downturn. However, the company managed to narrow its loss by increasing volumes sold and streamlining its operations in the face of falling product prices. It has also sought to diversify into other sectors and will be launching a titanium sponge project in the latter half of 2017.

  • AkzoNobel reports drop in Q1 revenue despite higher volumes

    19 April 2016

    Paint and coating manufacturer AkzoNobel has reported an increase in volumes sold from all business segments, which use raw materials such as titanium dioxide, kaolin and talc. However, economic uncertainty and adverse currency effects pulled down overall revenue for the first quarter of 2016, with deflationary pressures expected to continue throughout the year.

  • Rio Tinto Q1 production shows some upswing in TiO2 demand

    19 April 2016

    While the latest production results from the Anglo-Australian miner show that production levels for 2016 are expected to be flat with expectations, an uptick in borates and TiO2 production quarter on quarter underlines a positive trend in these market.

  • In with the new: Leucoxene mining in Australia

    19 April 2016

    With the titanium dioxide feedstock market currently facing an oversupply situation, downward pressure is expected to continue on rutile, ilmenite and leucoxene prices. And yet, while some producers are cutting back output, other companies like MZI are entering production. With some of the largest TiO2 feedstock resources globally, Australia is a natural choice for both new and established producers.

  • MagMin 2016: Turkish magnesia targets high value markets

    19 April 2016

    While traditional refractories markets for magnesia products come under strain, companies with material suitable for use in a range of niche applications are working to expand these sources of demand.

  • India’s mining output rebounds despite domestic turmoil

    18 April 2016

    Following years of mining chaos, falling production and the global commodity crunch, India’s mineral sector has shown significant signs of recovery in the last fiscal year, further indicating a higher demand for raw materials domestically, while signalling a sustainable industrial recovery. The agriculture sector, in particular, is expected to gain from the impact of monsoons as the rural economy improves.

  • APMDC to install beach sand mineral separation plant

    18 April 2016

    The Indian state-owned mineral resources developer is aiming to set up a separation plant for beach sand minerals to produce value-added products for India’s domestic paints and pigments industry. However it remains unclear how much of an effect the project will have on the already oversupplied TiO2 market, as the timing and volume of production is still unknown.

  • Fairmount Santrol launches environmentally-friendly coated sand for foundries

    18 April 2016

    With the prolonged downturn in the oil and gas sector forcing silica (frac) sand suppliers to cut production or shut their doors completely, diverse suppliers such as Fairmount are better positioned to remain profitable, with the option to focus on supply and technology to other markets such as the foundry and glass sectors.

  • MagMin 2016: Networking talks reveal the true nature of magnesia industry

    18 April 2016

    While papers at this year's MagMin conference focused on the potential positives of the industry, despite a lagging steel sector, talks during the networking sessions among Chinese delegates revealed the real impact of environmental protection orders and how the secret trade in export licences meant magnesia companies could report a profit without mining an ounce of the material.

  • MagMin2016: Magnesia chemicals gain ground as refractories market shrinks

    18 April 2016

    Chemicals and speciality applications for magnesia make up a vast array of niche markets, but many of these are showing steady annual growth rates while the mineral’s main end use sector, refractories, is facing a slowdown in response to a weakening steel industry.

  • Graphite price recovery threatened by Chinese slowdown

    18 April 2016

    Price Review: Graphite prices stand firm despite upward pressures; flake at lowest point in five years

  • India to tweak atomic mineral mining rules

    15 April 2016

    India’s Ministry of Mines has proposed to adjust mining rules for atomic minerals on the basis of pre-determined radioactive threshold, concession period and leasehold area, allowing limited leeway to provincial governments under the new regulations. This is likely to impact mining of some of the beach sand minerals such as ilmenite, rutile and zircon as they presently are listed as atomic minerals under the Mines & Mineral (Development & Regulation) Act, 2015 of India.

  • Balranald: Approvals and closures in Australian Mineral Sands

    15 April 2016

    The latest news out of Iluka on their $680m Balranald Mineral Sands Project was in June 2015, when they submitted their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to the New South Wales (NSW) State Government.

  • MagMin2016: European cement sector to face a number of challenges over next year

    15 April 2016

    Delegates at MagMin heard that declining production and consumption of cement is likely to continue as investment in construction and GDP fails to exhibit anticipated growth. With a number of external factors preventing a rebound in Europe and the cement sector facing environmental pressures, consumption of refractories in the region is likely to remain weak.

  • MagMin 2016: Glass growth and what it means for refractories

    15 April 2016

    Delegates at this year’s MagMin2016 were told that there were opportunities for growth for refractories producers in the glass market.

  • India’s APMDC concludes Mangampet mine barite tender

    15 April 2016

    Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corp. has issued a tender for the sale of drilling grade barite inviting potential offers from both Indian and international bidders for end use consumption in oil well drilling, which was delayed for over six months owing to the presence of excessive water in the mine.

  • Price Briefing 1-15 April

    15 April 2016

    Soda ash prices jump 30% as supply tightens; price rally for titanium dioxide, with Chinese prices seeing their biggest jump yet; bauxite producers turn to profitable non-met grades.

  • Market balance on the horizon for oil and gas, says IEA

    14 April 2016

    The International Energy Agency (IEA) has published its Oil Market Report (OMR) for April, and while it expects oil demand to continue increasing, growth is occurring at a slower pace. This, coupled with production cuts, is likely to create market balance and have a positive impact on prices in the second half of 2016. However, a recovery is likely to take slightly longer to trickle down to oilfield mineral producers of barite, bentonite and frac sand.

  • MagMin 2016: Chinese policies may help magnesia supply chain

    14 April 2016

    Although the Chinese refractories industry is in a state of depression, which threatens to continue to hinder the supply/demand dynamic of magnesia markets, the central government is implementing policies which are intended to help prop up the lagging industry.

  • ICL’s UK potash mine reopens after fire breaks out

    14 April 2016

    Following a fire which broke out early yesterday morning, ICL’s UK potash mine, run by its subsidiary Cleveland Potash, reopened late last night. It is unclear what caused the fire but the company confirmed investigations were underway.

  • Fitch upgrades North Carolina Port Authority

    14 April 2016

    Rating agency evaluation could boost expansion plans of US sulphur and phosphate port.

  • Archer upgrades magnesite project to JORC 2012

    13 April 2016

    Archer Exploration has upgraded part of its magnesite mining project in South Australia in accordance with JORC code 2012, as it continues to develop the Leigh Creek site, the single largest magnesite deposit globally.

  • India to monitor illegal mining using space technology

    13 April 2016

    India has decided to safeguard its mineral wealth using indigenous space technology, following its amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 and the move to suspend illegal mining operations.

  • Australian Bauxite closes non-met supply deal

    13 April 2016

    Australian Bauxite Ltd has completed the first sale of non-met grade bauxite from its Tasmanian mine for use in the cement and fertiliser markets. The sale is significant, not only because it is rare to hear of deals in the cement-grade market, but because the company cited a higher price for non-met supply as the reason it is targeting that market. Non-met applications cover about 10% of Australia’s bauxite output.

  • BASF receives battery material licence from CAMX

    13 April 2016

    BASF has obtained a licence for a patented cathode material, which it says is capable of increasing the energy density of Li-ion batteries. With the uptake of EVs by the general public having been slower than initially expected, the development of this cathode is good news for car manufacturers in the space – and raw material suppliers such as graphite, lithium and nickel companies – as it will help to extend the range of vehicles.

  • Tata Chemicals announces five week shut-down of Indian fertiliser plant

    13 April 2016

    Tata Chemicals has announced that it will be shutting down its fertiliser plant at Haldia, India in September for five weeks owing to an interruptions in access to raw materials, affecting the supply of DAP, SSP and NPK fertilisers to its customers.

  • Lithium Americas and TOLSA form JV to target clay markets

    12 April 2016

    Hectatone Inc., a subsidiary of Lithium Americas Corp., has entered into a strategic alliance with TOLSA S.A. The companies will work together, targeting the global clay minerals markets and collaborating in a number of different areas. The potential alliance exemplifies how producers are turning to other, niche, markets as demand flags in the oil and gas drilling markets

  • India’s APMDC to release barite tender this week

    12 April 2016

    The long-awaited Indian barite tender is likely to be announced this week by Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corp. with a new set of terms to offer rights to mine and sell barite on a FOB India basis for a period of 12 months.

  • Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton clash over fracking

    12 April 2016

    Sanders and Clinton, who are both campaigning to for the US Democratic presidential nomination, clashed over fracking yesterday ahead of the New York primary vote. With Sanders calling for a nationwide ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the oil and gas sector and suppliers of oilfield minerals such as barite, bentonite and silica sand are likely to be keeping a close eye on the presidential race.

  • Graphene NanoChem’s receives nod over debt restructuring

    12 April 2016

    Graphene NanoChem Plc has received approval for the reformation of its short-term debt of $22.69m from its premier financier, which will allow the graphene producer to focus on harvesting high margin opportunities in oilfield chemicals and water treatment solutions.

  • Orocobre’s Olaroz lithium output on track

    12 April 2016

    Lithium production at Orocobre Ltd’s Argentinian facility in Olaroz has more than doubled in the first three months of 2016 against December volumes, as the company ramps up production at the flagship site. This comes at a time when the market is tightening and more companies are looking to exploit a bullish spot market for carbonate, which is used in lithium-ion batteries.

  • Ukrainian graphite gains from increased EU trades

    11 April 2016

    Russian-Ukrainian tensions have realigned graphite trade routes for the latter as over three quarters of Ukraine’s production – accounted for by its sole producer – has been imported into the EU last year – a trend likely to continue in 2016.

  • Malaysian bauxite mining ban extended

    11 April 2016

    The existing ban on bauxite mining activities in Malaysia has been extended by three months to reduce high inventories and diminish pollution levels.

  • Iofina’s iodine output drops 3% in Q1

    11 April 2016

    London-listed iodine producer Iofina saw production decrease 3% on the back of brine supply challenges and seasonal difficulties during the winter months. To protect itself from future supply issues, the company is seeking to diversify its brine sources.

  • LWP reports positive test results for fly ash proppant

    11 April 2016

    According to LWP, recent test work carried out on fly ash-based proppants produced at its pilot manufacturing plant in Australia has shown that the material can compete with ceramic proppants – usually manufactured from a mixture of kaolin and bauxite – in terms of quality, but with a lower price tag that competes with frac sand.

  • Chemours pushes up TiO2 prices

    11 April 2016

    Chemours is the latest producer to announced TiO2 price increases across all of its products following a spate of recent Chinese price rises and adjustments made by fellow producers Kronos and Huntsman last week.

  • China’s lithium carbonate producers report eightfold increase in profits

    11 April 2016

    Both Tianqi and Ganfeng have seen earnings skyrocket in the first quarter of this year, owing to higher lithium prices driven by demand for the batteries sector, while fears that demand will significantly outpace supply this year is fueling frenzied buying activity.

  • China outlines fresh plans for rare earths production controls and storage

    11 April 2016

    The country’s government has come up with yet another round of measures aimed at bringing its rare earths sector to heel, as mining and smelting companies report declining profits while downstream manufacturers report rising sales.

  • Solvay eyes graphite processing at Okorusu fluorspar mine

    08 April 2016

    Solvay's Okorusu fluorspar facility is likely to process graphite ore from the Gecko Graphite-owned Okanjande mine using Okorusu’s fully-equipped processing facility, which is presently inactive.

  • Quality controls intensify for China’s refractories

    08 April 2016

    Chinese refractory operators are paying greater attention to the quality profile of products manufactured in the country, while investments are taking place to take production profile up a notch.

  • Base Resources margins tighten but production volumes up

    08 April 2016

    ASX-listed Base Resources Ltd has released its fiscal third quarter results for the period ended 31 March, reporting higher than expected production volumes from its Kwale mineral sands mine in Kenya, leading the company to increases its full year guidance.

  • First Graphite secures mining licence for Pandeniya project

    08 April 2016

    The Australia-based vein graphite explorer has taken another step forward in the development of its Pandeniya project by securing a mining licence from the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau in Sri Lanka, further aiming to start mining operations this month.

  • RHI results: Earnings down but could be worse

    08 April 2016

    The RHI group has recorded a positive revenue and while earnings are down, they are not as bad as they could have been. The company has taken the decision to shut in production at several of its plants and cancel upgrades in some areas, as weak industrial production and slow growth in emerging markets has led to price declines for many refractory minerals.

  • Chinese TiO2 producers begin Q2 with biggest price rally yet

    08 April 2016

    Following three price increases already this year, Chinese titanium dioxide pigment producers have started Q2 by increasing prices further. Both Western and Asian producers are now incrementally pushing up prices in the hopes that these will be accepted without the loss of any customers.

  • Price Briefing: Lithium contract price stable, but spot market is tight

    08 April 2016

    While Chinese refractories companies are licking their wounds after a bearish and bloody 2015, battery producers are reveling in increased profit margins as demand ticks up. TiO2 markets look set to recover also - but will this be passed onto mineral sands producers?

  • Production cuts in China push soda ash prices up 30%

    08 April 2016

    With around 360,000 tpa soda ash coming offline in China over the past year, prices for the mineral have seen a 30% jump from their low point in 2015. Shandong Haihua Group’s dam failure and subsequent production halt also helped to buoy prices, although the company announced in March that it had now recovered all production lines.

  • Superior Graphite suspends operations at Russellville graphite plant

    07 April 2016

    US-based Superior Graphite has decided to temporarily halt operations at its Russellville production as the company struggles amid global commodity turmoil, falling prices and lowering consumption rates in major end markets.

  • Iluka to reduce zircon reference price by 10%

    07 April 2016

    Major mineral sands producer Iluka Resources Ltd has announced it will be reducing its benchmark zircon price against which a number of its products are priced, although product prices can still vary depending on customer mix and specific customer contracts.

  • Weak trades continue to deter fluorspar price recovery

    07 April 2016

    Price Review: End markets continue to be subdued, preventing price recovery and leaving producers fighting tight margins especially in the metspar market, although some industry participants are optimistic for a turnaround in H2 2016.

  • Talga pilot plant progresses to Phase 2 in Germany

    07 April 2016

    ASX-listed advanced materials company, Talga Resources, has commenced wet commissioning of its Phase 2 pilot scale test facility located in Germany, allowing the plant to process up to 365kg of graphite for different applications.

  • Perlite Canada reports higher revenues but losses persist

    07 April 2016

    The Canadian perlite and vermiculite manufacturer saw an increase in revenues in the first trimester of the year although unfavourable currency movements led once again to net losses.

  • Alcoa’s joint venture settles bauxite contracts for two-year supply

    07 April 2016

    Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC) has settled contracts to supply met-grade bauxite to a range of clients for a combined value in excess of $300m covering the next two years, the company announced.

  • Singapore cuts dry bulk port duties

    07 April 2016

    Southeast Asian hub cuts port fees for dry bulk carriers staying under five days, which is expected to save shipping companies an estimated $13.3m over the next year.

  • Halliburton-Baker Hughes merger blocked by DOJ lawsuit

    06 April 2016

    Risky, anticompetitive, piecemeal, vague – these were just some of the adjectives used by the US Department of Justice to describe Halliburton’s proposed takeover of fellow oilfield services provider Baker Hughes, which has resulted in the DOJ filing a civil antitrust lawsuit to block the transaction.

  • Falling prices slow down M&A in fertiliser industry

    06 April 2016

    Fertiliser producers have been suffering from lower revenues as a consequence of the decreasing prices for crop nutrient products, which in turn is hindering operators’ will to pursue M&A deals.

  • US oil and gas drilling declines drastically in Q1

    06 April 2016

    The large decrease in natural gas well completions and oil wells shows the impact of sliding gas and oil prices and indicates the slowdown experienced by industrial minerals producers which sell to the sector may be vaster than initially thought. Barytes (barite), bentonite, calcium carbonate and of course silica (frac) sand are just some of the minerals consumed by the oil and gas market.

  • Scrap bauxite export duty, say Indian miners

    06 April 2016

    In order to rejuvenate India’s struggling bauxite industry, domestic miners have asked the central government for exemption from the 5% custom duty on bauxite exports as the industry battles headwinds from the global commodities crisis.

  • US blocks soda ash shipments from China made using alleged forced labour

    06 April 2016

    The closing of a loophole in US trade laws means that Customs and Border Protection has more power to ensure products using convict or child labour are prevented from entry to the US commerce.

  • PPG Fresno glass plant resumes production after three month break

    06 April 2016

    The resumption of production at the Fresno plant in California, US means that there will now be a demand for the silica raw materials that feed the 650 tph plant.

  • China struggles to reform Liaoning magnesia industry

    06 April 2016

    As the centre of China’s magnesia industry, Liaoning should be the focus for improving efficiency in the sector. However poor investment decisions and a lack of innovation has left the region trailing other refractories-producing provinces.

  • Gulf Fluor’s AlF3 plant: a success story in an oversaturated market?

    05 April 2016

    End-market update: With downstream demand slowing and challenges in the aluminium industry increasing, questions hover around whether Gulf Fluor’s AlF3 capacity continues to benefit from regional demand from GCC or is adding on to existing stockpiles in an oversaturated market.

  • China starts first high end SiC project

    05 April 2016

    The silicon carbide (SiC) fine powder facility began construction in Xi'an's aviation base last week. With the move into this high end technology, which is used in aerospace and military end markets, China is positioning itself to take advantage of the areas of growth slated for the mineral.

  • Colorado rejects bill to increase local control of oil and gas land use

    05 April 2016

    Debate over oil and gas land use, local government authority and environmental concern have resulted in a number of suggested new regulations in the US state of Colorado. This week the House of Representatives rejected a bill which would grant local governments increased authority over land use in the oil and gas sector.

  • Mixed picture for EU manufacturing as China still in the red

    05 April 2016

    Manufacturing industries continue to face difficulties in Europe, US and China, according to the latest PMI updates, as analysts believe weak demand and slow growth in some countries will continue to affect the industrial minerals market and its operators, pointing to the existing issues affecting Tata Steel and major global miners.

  • Overcapacity in downstream refractory markets drags down 2015 demand

    05 April 2016

    Production and profits for downstream industries such as a steel, cement and flat glass have seen a dramatic decline as a result of overcapacity in the sector. Coupled with waning demand and lower rates of per unit consumption for refractory minerals, demand for raw materials is expected to continue to fall out to 2020.

  • Huntsman announces further global TiO2 prices

    05 April 2016

    Huntsman has increased prices for all of its TiO2 pigments globally, as producers continue to struggle to sell above manufacturing costs. In February, the company confirmed its intention to spin-off the underperforming division, which it says has overshadowed the real strength of its portfolio.

  • India plans to auction rare earth deposit for exploration

    04 April 2016

    The Indian government is aiming to auction one of its rare earth blocks in Barmer desert of Rajasthan by regulating its mining policy to expedite exploration and production of monazite, the main rare earth mineral found in the country, while countering China’s monopoly in the rare earths market.

  • Mexichem optimistic on fluorochemical industry conditions

    04 April 2016

    Ongoing regulatory changes in fluorspar’s downstream markets is unlikely to have an impact on acidspar demand as Mexichem believes that the new generation of refrigerants and fluorochemical products will be growth drivers for the acid grade material.

  • Lithium Americas addresses SQM JV concerns

    04 April 2016

    Lithium Americas addressed questions on its recently announced JV with SQM for the development of the Cauchari Olaroz project, defending the decision to sell 50% of its stake as a low risk path to cash flow and production.

  • Chinese refractory companies highlight advances made in 2015

    04 April 2016

    Despite the current downturn in refractories and steel markets, Chinese companies are taking advantage of local and national support to either be listed, restructure or consolidate, IM learned during this year's Chinese Refractories Association meeting, held last week.

  • POSCO brings forward completion date for Argentinian lithium project

    04 April 2016

    The Korean steelmaker and battery manufacturer will shorten the construction period of its Pozuelos Lake facility, allowing for production from September, rather than the end of the year, a response to increasing demand for the battery mineral globally.

  • Chinese steel debt burden weighs on domestic refractories sector

    04 April 2016

    Highly leveraged steel companies have run out of cash to pay their suppliers, leading the China Refractory Association to withhold deliveries until payments are made in advances as cash owed to the industry spirals into billions of dollars.

  • China’s refractories output falls 6.5% in 2015 as weak demand pulls prices down

    04 April 2016

    Figures released by the China Refractory Association reveal how export volumes and prices for Chinese materials declined almost across the board last year, forcing domestic producers to cut output in response to shrinking returns.

  • Orbite narrows 2015 loss, increases working capital

    01 April 2016

    Despite the recent delays faced at its HPA plant in Canada, TSX-listed Orbite Technologies Inc., which is in the process of commission its high purity alumina plant in Cap-Chat, Quebec in Canada, has lowered its fourth quarter and full year losses.

  • Lithium concentrate production commences at Mount Cattlin

    01 April 2016

    The restart of production at the Mt Cattlin spodumene mine near Ravensthorpe, Western Australia (WA) underscores how time can heal all wounds. When the mine was shut down, in 2013, it signalled a flagging market and that the operators of the facility were unable to cope with the high overheads. Now however, lithium is on the up. The restart of operations not only indicates optimism in the sector - supported by growing battery demand, but it shifts supply and creates a new trading partner for China.

  • Tronox announces second price increase in 2016

    01 April 2016

    The North American producer has announced its second price hike in four months as prices in TiO2 remain under pressure. While other industry majors also adjusted prices in December and January, the increases are a long way off from recovering the losses seen in TiO2 over the last few years, and are necessary to keep producers operating sustainably.

  • Price briefing 24 - 31 March

    01 April 2016

    Prices for fluorspar, mineral sands and lithium