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The Industry Lightweight

Aluminium demand is forecast to grow ~2.5% from 65.6Mt in 2018 to 67.3Mt in 2019, with a further rise of 3.25% to 69.4Mt expected in 2020. Significant portions of the industry are driven by automotive demand, with long-term trends indicating heavier use of aluminium as the automotive industry, particularly in China, moves away from internal combustion engines and seeks to reduce weight.


COBALT March 2019
A Contraction Like No Other

Twelve months ago, the cobalt market was looking shinier than any other base metal. Outlooks were strong, and while markets accepted that prices had peaked at US$87,000/t during the June Quarter of 2018, prices were expected to reach an average of US$77,000/t for all of 2018 and then settle gently during 2019 as new supply came online. In retrospect, perhaps expectations were a little too optimistic to be true.


COPPER April 2019
Latin American Copper Frontiers

Panama has only recently joined the ranks of copper producing companies with First Quantum's 340ktpa Cobre Panamá, which commenced commissioning in February 2019. It is a significant addition to global copper mining capacity in 2019. Another Latin American country, Ecuador, will also join the ranks of mined copper producing countries in 2019. A Chinese consortium is developing the 95ktpa Mirador mine. Ecuador is an emerging mining frontier with its copper and gold potential attracting substantial investment in both exploration and mine developments.


IRON ORE May 2019
The Three Musketeers

Over the short-term, Australia holds the three largest upcoming iron ore projects in AME’s base case: Fortescue’s Eliwana, Rio Tinto’s Koodaideri, and BHP’s jointly-owned South Flank project—set to add 50 Mt, 43 Mt, and 80 Mt respectively. Together, these three projects make up the vast majority of expected new-project capacity, and total to almost as much potential new capacity as all possible-or-concept projects that are currently considered speculative and not in AME’s base case.


LNG May 2019
All Gassed Up and Nowhere to Go

Australia is the world’s newly-crowned largest gas exporter, having recently overtaken Qatar to secure the top spot. The country currently has seven operational LNG production plants, with plans to increase that number to at least 10 by 2020, exporting more than 80Mt of LNG every year after.


The State of the States

The United States has a strange relationship with coal. On the one hand, the commodity is lauded as the foundation of the country and its inland states—but on the other, the industry sits largely neglected by national policy, overshadowed by oil and gas amidst the nation’s recent resource boom. Even coal’s most prominent advocates generally admit that it is not really set to make a comeback in the States; its glory days are long gone. But the industry clings on, and the places where it survives provide insight into the market—both domestically and globally.


NICKEL April 2019
Last of the Giants

The era of discoveries of large, high-grade nickel sulphide provinces appears to be over. It has been a century since the giant discoveries of Sudbury or Norilsk, each containing nickel approaching 20Mt. The last large, high-grade province discovered was Kambalda in Western Australia in the 1960s, with 5Mt of contained nickel. Recent nickel sulphide discoveries are either low-grade and large or high-grade, small, and very difficult to discover.


OIL & GAS March 2019
Sunset Hours

2019 will see just under 70kbblpd of oil capacity and 16Mcmpd of natural gas capacity close, with a particularly high concentration of end-of-life fields and capacity in the United States and United Kingdom. While closing capacity is fairly evenly spread across sites and largely due to the depletion of reserves, there are some outliers worth considering.


Megabuilds of the Future

The refining industry is poised for large investments over the next few years. Despite protestations by industry critics, demand and supply of downstream oil and gas is only expected to increase, and there are several large-scale investments on the horizon. Two that stand out are the moves by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, both of which are making big moves abroad and constructing large-scale billion-dollar refineries. Both initiatives are country-changing economic moves.


STEEL May 2019
Wages and Waivers and Washing Machines… oh my!

US tariffs appear to be doing good things for the country’s steel industry. Domestic production capacity is expanding, and companies are investing billions of dollars in the construction of new facilities and the expansions of others. In addition to a rapid spree of proposed constructions and expansions earlier this year, this last month has seen Nucor Corp and Steel Dynamics openly consider the construction of steel facilities—located in Kentucky and Texas, respectively—that would add around 4Mtpa of capacity to the market.


What’s Kicking in Kosovo?

Looking at Kosovo provides an overview of a microcosm of the steel market at large, where the conflicting demands of stable power clash with the need for cheap power and clean air. The Balkan country has seen its share of power-related disputes and headlines over the years, despite having one of the lowest demands for power in the region.


ZINC April 2019
Mississippi Valley Type Zinc Deposits

Mississippi Valley Type (MVT) zinc deposits have long been a stable source of high-quality, high-grade zinc concentrate, accounting for 5% of global mined zinc. However, over the next 15 years, AME expects many large long life MVT mines to close, reducing the amount of clean zinc concentrate available. New mines on MVTs are not expected to replace the lost production as a lack of suitable deposits and high operating costs limit the number of MVTs being developed.

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