Via AG Metal Miner
The Renewables MMI (Monthly MetalMiner Index) traded sideways in January, dropping a mere 1.28%. A significant drop in grain oriented electrical steel had the largest impact on the index month-over-month. Other parts of the index, particularly steel forms, managed to hold up better, trading sideways or rising slightly. Overall, the world continues to push for renewable resources regardless of their availability.
Unfortunately, silicon and cobalt didn’t hold quite as well as steel, bringing the index down along with GOES. Silicon prices also dropped dramatically as many Chinese suppliers were significantly overstocked. In response, these suppliers dropped prices in an effort to clear out inventory. Semiconductors, which the world desperately needs, also require silicon. As a result, the long-term silicon forecast might not prove as bearish.
It’s important to note that silicon is the outlier here. Numerous metals within the renewables index still have low inventory levels, particularly in China.
Green Steel Gains Momentum in Renewable Resources Industry
Steel, a large component in the renewables index, gained upward momentum month-over-month. Boston Metal, a company working on the decarbonization of steel production, announced on January 27th that the company closed on its first round of Series C fundraising, totaling $120 million. Interestingly, international steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal largely led the initiative.
“In Boston Metal, we are investing in a team that has made impressive progress over a relatively short period of time, developing a technology that has exciting potential to revolutionize steelmaking,” said Aditya Mittal, CEO of ArcelorMittal. “In our extensive discussions with them, we have been impressed by the passion and vision they have to contribute to the decarbonization of steelmaking.”
One of the large issues that steel and all industrial metals face is the sheer amount of energy required to power furnaces. These challenges include but are not limited to:
- Facilities being retrofitted to reduce carbon emissions.
- Facilities being rebuilt entirely.
That said, hydrogen power offers a feasible solution due to its near-zero net carbon emissions. Therefore, Boston Metal has made hydrogen power one of the key focus areas for its “green steel” initiatives.
Rare Earths Find in Montana Could Aid Renewable Resources
The global push for green energy continues to keep rare earths demand high. The need for screens, batteries, and computer power means that demand isn’t going anywhere soon. With new green energy initiatives and renewable resources popping up, experts continue to watch the sector closely.
This timing aligns well with a recent discovery. In late January, U.S. Critical Materials Corp. announced the discovery of a massive deposit of high-grade rare earths in the Sheep Creek area of Montana. Such a find will go a long way toward helping the U.S. produce batteries, magnets, and other green energy necessities. Surveys say the deposit contains rich amounts of neodymium and praseodymium, both necessary for renewable resources. This gives the U.S. a leg up in domestic rare earth mining and production, thus driving less dependence away from China.
GOES MMI: Sideways Trend Turns Down
The GOES MMI (Monthly MetalMiner Index) dropped significantly by 10.28%. The drop is the index’s largest since March of 2022.
MetalMiner previously discussed how many countries struggle to get access to enough GOES products and mainly rely on imports. Currently, Japan and South Korea are the two key players in the global GOES marketplace, as these two nations manufacture GOES and export them. Unfortunately, given surging demand, the two nations alone cannot satisfy global GOES demand at present.
Both green energy projects and energy powered by oil, natural gas, etc. rely on GOES. A shortage, therefore, puts immense strain on energy grids everywhere. The other issue lies with high transformer production costs paired with reduced ROI, meaning fewer companies don’t invest in manufacturing GOES. Nonetheless, the demand for GOES and transformers remains significant. However, supply has to meet demand. This means prices could be susceptible to further shifts, especially given the current instability of raw material pricing.
By Jennifer Kary
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