Friday, July 29, 2005

Offer to sell free cutting steel bar [Iransteelcenter]

Subject: Offer to Sell Free Cutting Steel Bar
Thursday, July 28, 2005

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Technical Consultant & International Trading Department

Tel: 0098-218009842
Fax: 0098-218004127
Mobile: 0098-9123582603

Monday, July 25, 2005

Memories Still Haunt Quecreek Miners [BlackDiamond]

Memories still haunt Quecreek miners
July 24, 2005

SIPESVILLE - Quietly they stood and watched as speakers talked about the "Miracle in the Mine" Saturday at the Quecreek Mine rescue site in Sipesville, Somerset County.

The 100 or so people who gathered to pay tribute to the Quecreek nine on their third anniversary mingled and talked among themselves as they watched a small group of the rescued miners shake hands, trying not to relive the 77 hours of terror they shared trapped beneath the Earth's surface some 240 feet in July of 2002.

Randy Fogle, Mark Popernack, John Phillippi, Dennis Hall, Ronald Hileman, John Unger, Robert Pugh, Blaine Mayhugh and Tomas Foy were rescued from the mine as the world watched on their television sets, hoping for a miracle.

People around the globe learned that the men became trapped when they breached an abandoned adjacent mine, flooding Quecreek with millions of gallons of water.

But what the millions of viewers couldn't possibly know is how the miners felt when all hope quickly vanished.

"We said a lot of prayers," said Hall. "The entire experience was like a dream. I couldn't believe that it was happening and I couldn't imagine how they were going to get us out of there."

Foy, who was the third miner to be pulled from the Earth on July 27, 2002, said July 24, 2002, started out just like every other day.

"We were mining and when we took the last cut and were about ready to quit, we broke through the wall," said Foy. "We thought we had about 300 feet to go, but thinking don't get her these days, buddy."

Foy said the water came in and his crew called the other section to make sure they got out first because they were below them. "Thank God we got a hold of them in time and they got out," he recalled.

Foy said his crew got trapped when they went back for Mark Popernack.

"We didn't want to leave him there like that," said Foy. "Once we found him, we couldn't get back. That's when we knew that we weren't going to make it."

Foy said he hasn't gone back to the mine since the accident and said he is looking for work. He went back to school and got his CDL license. But he hasn't had any luck finding a job. Another ironic twist, according to Foy, is that his health insurance, carried by his former employer, the Black Wolf Coal Co., has been discontinued.

Pugh, who was the eighth miner to be rescued and had worked for 311/2 years in the mining industry, said he always thought that some day he might get killed underground by a rock, rooffall or a machine, but he never imagined that he would be trapped and/or killed by water.

"The mine was relatively safe," said Pugh. "We tried to keep it as safe as we could. I didn't want to go back underground after it happened, so I retired."

Pugh said in the beginning and at the end, he had a lot of hope that he and his fellow miners would be rescued because he had been through about everything a coal miner can go through in 31 years.

"I really didn't think that we were all going to die until the end when we were building that last wall to keep the water out and the water was pushing against the blocks so bad that we couldn't get them up.

"That was when I first realized that we were all going to die. I kept my hopes up most of the time up until the last day and then I thought we were through. "We could hear them drilling, but we couldn't figure how they were going to drill a big enough hole to get a man out."

Pugh said he takes life day by day, is happy to be alive and enjoys every day. He also said that he still says his prayers every day.

Mayhugh, who never went back into the mine, said each year it gets a little easier.

"I work for Florida Power and Light now, which is the new windmill company in Meyersdale," said Mayhugh. "When I was trapped down there, I said, 'If I ever get out, I would never step foot inside a mine again.'"

The 34-year-old, who is married with two children, said he felt it was a miracle that the nine trapped miners escaped alive.

"We had a one in a billion shot to still be here today," said Mayhugh.

"Now, and every day, I thank the good Lord for giving me a second chance at life and to be with my wife, Leslie, and our children. They sure knew what they were doing, but I think there was a lot of luck involved, too."

Joe Sbaffoni of Fairchance, one of the most prominent figures in the rescue operation, said that he is still amazed with everything that happened July 24-27, 2002. Sbaffoni, state Department of Environmental Protection director of the bureau of mine safety, also said that Quecreek holds a special place in his heart.

"Being involved in the rescue from the beginning to the end with all the critical decisions and interacting with the families and the media and all the rescuers and our people brings back a lot of memories."

Sbaffoni, who's been in mining for 30 years, said those 77 hours were a real roller coaster because there were so many unknowns.

He said that everyone involved knew that they were in a real dire situation. The fact they were able to put a good plan together and were successful with it was a bonus, he said.

He also said that this was the first time in his career that he was involved with miners trapped.

"I've been involved with just about everything in mining up until that point," said Sbaffoni. "Usually, we are preparing for mine fires, explosions or accidents, but this was unique because of the water."

After the rescue, there were some very thorough investigations, according to Sbaffoni, both underground and with talking to individuals.

Sbaffoni said it was determined that the map everyone was working with and everyone thought was the most up to date map wasn't.

"That's actually what caused the accident," said Sbaffoni. "The engineering and survey work at Quecreek was right where it should be. Everything was accurate and done correctly. The miners thought they were working 200 to 300 feet away. That turned out not to be the case."

Foy, Hall, Pugh and Fogle all still have nightmares and live with the constant reminders of what happened to them during those summer days in 2002. Although they have gotten on with their lives and are thankful to be here, they still sometimes have trouble sleeping at night.

State Rep. Bob Bastian of the 69th District said new mining legislation is under way in Harrisburg, while Bill Arnold, owner of the Quecreek rescue site, said he is trying to raise money to move the Sipesville Firehall two miles to his property.

"They built a new firehall so the old firehall (where the miners' families stayed during the rescue) isn't in danger of being torn down," said Arnold. "That's why we held the auction here today to raise money to move the firehall two miles to the rescue site."

Arnold said the building has a lot of historical value. It is 126 years old and was originally a one-room schoolhouse.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Anthracite Inspectors in Federal Probe [BlackDiamond]

Mine safety officials subject of federal probe
July 21, 2005

Scranton, PA (AP) - The U.S. Labor Department is investigating whether the two federal officials responsible for ensuring safety in Pennsylvania's few remaining underground anthracite mines have been harassing mine operators and unfairly driving some out of business - a probe that follows long-simmering tensions in the coalfields between miners and their regulators.

Federal investigators have confiscated the computers of the two officials and interviewed miners and inspectors amid allegations that the regulators have retaliated against miners who challenged them and improperly pressured inspectors to find violations, The Associated Press has learned through interviews with inspectors, miners and the miners' attorney.

Deep mine operators say that the Mine Safety and Health Administration's District 1 manager, John Kuzar, and his assistant, William Sparvieri, have made it difficult if not impossible for them to stay in business. Some owners have closed their mines because they say they were unwilling or financially unable to fight the agency in court.

Deep anthracite mining in Pennsylvania is in danger of extinction, hurt over the decades by steeply declining market share and now by what operators say is heavy-handed enforcement. Only about a dozen working underground anthracite mines are left, down from 60 in 1995 and 140 a decade earlier.

The conflict between the mine operators and the Wilkes-Barre office of the federal mining agency has its roots in the uniqueness of underground anthracite mining.

Eastern Pennsylvania has the nation's only deposits of anthracite, a hard coal that once heated millions of homes and kept tens of thousands of miners employed. But the federal law dealing with mine safety is geared toward bituminous coal, a soft coal found throughout the country that has long dominated the sector.

Because bituminous coal and anthracite coal are mined differently, federal inspectors in the past regularly made exceptions for the tiny anthracite mines. But the agency began strictly interpreting and enforcing the law after Kuzar and Sparvieri, both of whom hailed from the bituminous coalfields, were installed in the agency's Wilkes-Barre office in 2000 and 2001.

A spokeswoman for the Mine Safety and Health Administration said the agency, which is part of the Labor Department, would have no comment on the investigation. Kuzar declined comment Thursday. "I don't know what it's all about," he said.

In a February response to an inquiry by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., the agency denied the miners' and inspectors' allegations.

"It is neither MSHA's mission nor practice to drive anthracite mines out of business or be retaliatory," wrote David G. Dye, acting chief of the agency.

The miners' lawyer, Adele Abrams, said Kuzar was furious about being transferred from Denver - where he had headed the agency's largest mining district - to the smallest district, and has taken out his wrath on the mine operators.

"It's almost become a Captain Ahab vendetta," she said. "You get the sense that Kuzar's ... last act will be to put the padlock on the last anthracite mine in America. And that would be a shame."

Former mine inspector Robert Dudash recently spoke for three hours with investigators from the Labor Department's Office of Inspector General. He said they wanted "any information of any improprieties that would have happened concerning Kuzar and Sparvieri. ... I gave them everything that I had."

Dudash, a mine operator for more than 20 years before joining the mine safety agency in 1998, said he told investigators about instances in which he was pressured to find mine owners in violation of the federal mine safety law, regardless of whether they actually were.

Two current mine inspectors, who also were interviewed by Labor Department investigators, said they provided information about similar tactics. The inspectors spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because they are still employed by the mining agency.

Dudash said that in one case, Kuzar and Sparvieri ordered him to write a citation for a Schuylkill County mine where an accident had occurred, even though he and his supervisor could not find any violations of the law.

The mine owner appealed the citation and the agency's solicitor ultimately told the Wilkes-Barre office to drop it. Dudash said Sparvieri then sent an inspector to the same mine to write four or five more citations.

"It was retaliation," Dudash told the AP.

On another occasion, Dudash alleges he was ordered to testify in court that he believed a mine operator had knowingly broken the law - thus potentially subjecting her to criminal penalties - but that he resisted because he did not believe that to be the case.

"That was pretty much the beginning of my demise," he said. "From that point on I was labeled a dirty inspector."

Dudash said he took a medical leave of absence in 2003 after the stress of the job had become too great. He said he was fired in 2004 - two days before Christmas - after he refused an order from Kuzar and Sparvieri to return to work.

Dudash said he most likely could have gotten his job back as part of a recent settlement of an administrative complaint he filed against Kuzar and Sparvieri, but chose not to return. He now runs an excavating company.

Dudash said that when he told Sparvieri that his actions in one case would likely force the mine to close, Sparvieri and another manager in Wilkes-Barre said it shouldn't be his concern.

Another inspector said investigators asked him several questions about the treatment of the Rothermel family, whose Pottsville-area mine has been shut down seven times this year for purported health and safety violations. The Rothermels have been among the most vocal critics of District 1 management.

The price of anthracite is as high as it has even been and demand is strong; it is largely used in home heating, to generate electricity and for other industrial purposes. But, the inspector said, he told investigators that former mine operators have told him they would not re-enter the business unless Kuzar and Sparvieri were removed from the district office.

Abrams, the miners' attorney, is a certified mine safety professional who has given training seminars to federal inspectors. She said huge bituminous coal mining companies with spotty safety records have received far less federal scrutiny than the tiny anthracite mines, which are mostly family-owned and operated.

"Sometimes I can't even come up with the words to describe how unreasonable this enforcement action is and how aberrant it is," she said.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Steel prices, China, order and chaos

Readers of Industry Week - you are in for a treat! The current online edition has two articles about the future of the steel industry in China.

The first, entitled 'Unconventional Mettle', expounds the Mittal Steel perspective on the future of the industry. It suggests that the steel sector in China will become more business driven and less production oriented in the years to come. Chinese producers, it argues, will join a handful of other highly cost-efficient global players each producing some 80-100 million tonnes of steel each year as globalisation of the industry relentlessly continues.

The second article, entitled 'Mittals Bad Bets', describes some further thoughts from Professor Morici. [You may remember the Professor from one of our earlier postings]. Morici, it seems, has serious doubts about the invisible hand making any sort of show in China. Instead, asserts Morici, because steel prices have so little impact on decision making in China, the Chinese steel sector is likely - in as little as five years - to start dumping subsidised steel on the world stage and posing a serious threat to world steel market stability. There is nothing fundamental about steel ...continues the argument ... that requires there to be just a few world players in the future. Mittal, according to Morici, is making a bad bet about the future of the industry...

What do you think will be the Chinese scenario in five years' time? Order a la Mittal, or chaos a la Morici? Let us know your thoughts.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Arch & Massey say rail woes hurt coal profits [BlackDiamond]

NEW YORK, July 15 (Reuters) - Two major U.S. coal producers warned on Friday that full-year profits would be hurt as a result of rail delivery disruptions that could further increase the danger of shortages at U.S. power stations.

Arch Coal Inc. said it expects earnings for the year to fall as much as 60 percent below Wall Street estimates, while rival Massey Energy Co. told Reuters the effects of domestic rail woes would have an impact on its profits.

"We believe the impact will prove much greater than anticipated," Morgan Stanley analyst Wayne Atwell wrote in a note released after Arch's warning. "We expect Arch shares to trade down short-term. In addition, the shares of other coal producers, particularly those with PRB (Powder River Basin) exposure, are likely to be affected as well."

"We know demand for capacity remains high and where specific capacity issues are raised we're doing everything we can," said Bob Fort, a spokesman for the Norfolk Southern Corp.

St Louis-based Arch, which mines two-thirds of its coal in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana, said track work following derailments had already curtailed shipments. "Coupled with continuing poor performance by the eastern railroads, these disruptions could lead to significant challenges for U.S. power plants," Chief Executive Officer Steven Leer said.

"We are likely to see a rapid draw-down of power plant stockpiles, particularly if current above-average temperatures persist." Utility stockpiles at the end of June were already about 15 percent below the five-year average, according to Arch estimates.

The company said rail problems reduced shipments by 4 million tons during the second quarter, and rail problems in general reduced net income by 35 cents a share.

Spokesman Deck Slone told Reuters that 2 million tons of the shortfall in shipments was left in the ground as pit inventories had grown while coal piled up awaiting shipment.

But the company had not laid off miners, he said, they were still working regular shifts, producing less coal and working on other activities, like land reclamation and maintenance.

Richmond, Virginia-based Massey said the difficulties with railroads looked certain to hurt its bottom line in the long term. "I don't think the quarter is so much the issue so much as the full year," said spokeswoman Katharine Kenny. "It affected us last year and it seems likely that there certainly will be some impact this year."

She said Massey has no operations in the West, and mines coal the central Appalachian area, mostly in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky. But she said rail delays in the West could potentially benefit Massey, since more utilities in the East that use primarily PRB coal are experimenting with blending Appalachian coal with the western supplies.

Heavy rains buckled tracks in the Powder River Basin area in northeast Wyoming and southern Montana earlier this year, and repairs are expected to take the rest of 2005.

Government statistics show cooling degree days, a measure of departure in the mean daily temperature from 65 degrees Fahrenheit, used to reflect energy demand, are 35 more than normal.

As a result of the current coal shortages and expected high usage rates due to the heat, Arch expects unprecedented coal demand in 2006 as utilities rebuild stockpiles.

Two utilities owned by Xcel Energy Inc. said they have already been forced to buy more electricity from third parties and fire more generating facilities with natural gas because of coal shortages. They warned of higher customer prices as a result.

Coal fires about half the electricity generated in the United States, according to the Edison Electric Institute. Arch fuels about 7 percent of electricity generated in the country.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Pennsylvania's Abandoned Mine Problem [BlackDiamond]

Pa.'s coal history leaves costly legacy of abandoned mines
July 16, 2005

LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. - Emory Vall points out more than a dozen short capped pipes jutting from a field behind his Fayette County home, an area he refers to as the cemetery.

"They're trying to kill us," Vall says looking at the pipes, where state officials have pumped material in the ground to snuff a 22-acre underground fire that has been burning for more than 30 years. The Percy Mine fire is one of about three dozen burning in abandoned mines across Pennsylvania.

There's no visible smoke or flames, but Vall worries about the carbon monoxide or his two-story home being damaged by subsidence. The stress of living near the fire has triggered health problems, he says, and forced him to retire from his job driving tractor-trailers.

About 1.6 million Pennsylvanians live within one mile of an abandoned mine, which have become dangerous and environmentally disastrous reminders of the state's past. Miners have pulled coal from Pennsylvania's land for nearly 250 years, fueling the Industrial Revolution, railroads, the steel industry and two world wars.

But for much of that time, mining was unregulated. When the coal was gone, the operator usually walked away, abandoning the mines and leaving behind a myriad of environmental and safety problems: acid mine drainage, underground fires, often unstable highwalls, open shafts, unsightly waste coal piles and water-filled pits.

"The winning of two world wars was fully dependent on the ability to have abundant, cheap coal," said Bruce Golden, executive director of the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation. "But the places where it was mined are still paying for it."

Since 1989, 40 people have died on abandoned mine lands in Pennsylvania and dozens of people have been injured, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Three years ago, nine miners in Somerset County narrowly avoided death when they were rescued after 77 hours underground in the Quecreek mine. They had accidentally cut into an abandoned, flooded mine next to it. They were relying on maps that showed an old tunnel was about 300 feet away.

No other state has the problem as severe as Pennsylvania, which produced about one-third of the nation's coal before a federal cleanup law was passed in 1977.

The state has abandoned mines in 45 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties. They account for about 250,000 acres and more than thousands of miles of poisoned streams, said Tom Rathbun, a state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman. That includes about 1,000 miles of the west branch of the Susquehanna River and its tributaries.

"It makes it one of the largest concentrations of polluted water in the country," Rathbun said. Pennsylvania has more than 83,000 miles of moving water, more than any other state, he said.

No one knows for certain how many abandoned mines there are in Pennsylvania, but Rathbun said there are likely thousands. They range in size from small seams to large strip mines.

But for all the threats abandoned mine lands pose - and money spent on reclamation - the public is largely unaware they even exist.

"People see orange water, scarred landscapes, gob piles (waste coal piles) and think, 'Oh, they've always been there,'" Golden said. "If this would occur now, people would not put up with this."

"Having these historical abandoned mine problems is sort of like having arthritis - it's not going to kill you, but boy, it's sure going to mess up your life and on top of that, you're not going to have whole lot of sympathy," Golden said.

To deal with the problems, Congress passed the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act in 1977, which funds clean up, or reclamation, through the Abandoned Mine Land fund. (The law also set cleanup standards for future mining.) The fund comes from taxes on surface-mined coal at 35 cents a ton and coal mined underground at 15 cents a ton.

Coal operators have paid more than $7 billion into the AML fund since it began. Pennsylvania receives about $25 million from the fund each year.

Legislation creating the fund expired earlier this year, but was extended through September. A fight to keep it going has pitted lawmakers from East against those from the West, where most coal is now produced.

Lawmakers from western states don't want their coal companies to pay for cleaning up problems in the east that they didn't cause. And because mining is relatively new in states such as Wyoming, there isn't the degree of problems with abandoned mine lands as in eastern states.

Hundreds of miles from that fight in Washington, though, residents like Vall await the state's latest efforts to clean up the mine near his home. In June, the state Department of Environmental Protection announced it would spend $3.2 million to extinguish the fire. A company plans to pump a mixture of coal ash and cement into the mine to try and cut off oxygen to the fire.

Vall has lived in his house for a dozen years, and remembers past efforts to take care of the fire. Living near the mine is like living at a permanent construction site, he says.

"If I'd of knew what I know now, I'd have never bought this house," Vall said. "I'm tired of it."


DEP Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation:

Offer to sell stainless steel round bar [Iransteelcenter]

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Alpha to Build Coal Import Facility [BlackDiamond]

Alpha Natural Resources to Invest in New Coal Import Facility

ABINGDON, Va., July 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. a leading Appalachian coal producer, today announced that its subsidiary, Alpha Terminal Company, LLC, and its other interested partners are pursuing a $20-$25 million investment in the construction of a new coal import facility at Dominion Terminal Associate's existing export terminal in Newport News, Virginia. Final engineering should be completed by the fall of 2005, at which point the total cost of the project will be approved by the participating partners. DTA has obtained the necessary permits, and construction of the import facility could commence by late 2005, with a targeted completion date of early 2007. Alpha Terminal is the largest owner in DTA, holding a 32.5% interest in a partnership with subsidiaries of Peabody Energy (30%), Dominion Energy (20%) and Arch Coal (17.5%).

"The addition of import capability at DTA will position Alpha with enhanced sourcing flexibility to meet future changing needs of our customers," said Michael Quillen, Alpha's President and CEO. Constructed in 1982, DTA's 22 million-ton annual capacity export terminal provides state-of-the-art unloading/transloading equipment with ground storage capability, enabling producers to custom blend export products without disrupting mining operations. The new import facility is designed to interconnect with DTA's existing facilities to enable imported coals to be off-loaded, stored, reclaimed/blended and shipped pursuant to the specific quality needs of its domestic customer base. The facility is designed to use the existing outbound silos to blend coals, including imported coals, with domestic coals.

About Alpha Natural Resources

Alpha Natural Resources is a leading producer of high-quality Appalachian coal. Approximately 94 percent of Alpha's reserve base is high Btu coal and 89 percent is low sulfur, qualities that are in high demand among electric utilities which use steam coal. Alpha is also one of the nation's largest producers and exporters of metallurgical coal, a key ingredient in steel manufacturing. Alpha currently operates more than 60 mines and 11 coal preparation and blending plants in four states.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Free notification service for steel industry events

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Depending on regional interest (conferences in Europe, North America, Asia...) and event topic (steelmaking raw materials, carbon steels, stainless steels...), executives are sent relevant promotional literature by organisers promoting their forthcoming event. To register for the service, just click here.

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Detailed review of China coke market for H1 2005 and forecast for H2 2005 [steelonthenet]

From 2005, along with the gradual operation of newly added coke
production equipment, weakening coke export and improving railway
transportation situation, China domestic coke supply situation has
become better.

Statistical data shows that China has mainly produced 90.9696 mt of
coke for Jan-May 2005, up 30.3% year on year, much higher than the
crude steel growth rate of 27.4%.

As coking enterprises production situation has been inconsistent
with that of steel enterprises, leading to double pressure for
coking enterprises. On the one hand, the upstream coal suppliers
have raised their price level with harsh payment terms and declining
coal quality; on the other hand, downstream steel enterprises are
having higher requirement on coke quality with prolonged payment
span, thus coking enterprises have suffered severe profit drop
consequently and certain coking enterprises normal production has
been endangered also. is a professional information and news
supplier for China steel industry, which includes market price,
analysis, import/export news, international market info, research
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ferroalloy, iron ore, billet/slab, wire rod, rebar, section, CR
sheet, HR sheet, GI, PPGI, tinplate, H beam, medium plate, etc, for
your best understanding of the latest updates in China steel

Friday, July 08, 2005

Coal Companies Go Mining For Workers [BlackDiamond]

Coal industry and union executives are concerned that Pennsylvania soon could face shortages of skilled coal miners that already are cropping up elsewhere in the other Appalachian Basin states of Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Kentucky.

In much of central Appalachia, "We've just been starved for experienced miners," said Katharine Kenny, director of investor relations for Richmond, Va.-based Massey Energy Co., the nation's fourth-largest producer. "We never have what we need. We're always 200 to 300 miners short of where we want to be."

While coal producers in Pennsylvania have yet to feel such a pinch, "We see a problem up the road if we don't start doing something" to step up recruitment, said George Ellis, president of the Pennsylvania Coal Association, the industry's Harrisburg-based trade organization.

Spurred by increased global demand for metallurgical coal -- especially in China -- rising electricity consumption and a surge in oil prices, coal mining companies saw their industry begin to boom last year after a 20-year slump that brought mine shutdowns and layoffs.

The lack of hiring in the past two decades -- exacerbated by new technology that eliminated many mining jobs and increased the skills needed to be a miner -- has left the industry with outright labor shortages in some industry strongholds, such as southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky, and a rapidly aging work force in others, including Pennsylvania.

To head off the kinds of problems seen elsewhere, United Mine Workers of America District 3, based in Belle Vernon, is seeking $4.6 million in state funding for a training center in Greene County, said Ed Yankovich, the district's international vice president.

Union and industry officials also are discussing a proposal to ask state regulators to recognize skill certifications experienced miners obtain outside Pennsylvania. Other key mining states already provide the so-called "reciprocity," Yankovich said.

Companies such as Upper St. Clair-based Consol Energy Inc., which plans next year to begin a $500 million expansion project -- the largest in its history -- in Washington County, also are taking steps on their own to avoid shortages in Pennsylvania.

Among other things, the nation's third-largest coal mining company is working with technical schools and "going to every job fair we can attend," said Tom Hoffman, Consol's vice president of investor relations.

Consol has seen shortages first-hand at its mines in Eastern Kentucky and other "more remote" towns in the Appalachian Basin, he said.

In Consol's Pennsylvania operations, hiring hasn't been as much of a problem because the metropolitan area offers a larger labor pool, Hoffman said, adding that it has been able to attract its share of available workers by increasing wages.

Still, Consol's need for skilled mining personnel -- including not only miners but mine electricians, engineers and foreman and others -- will escalate in the state as retirements take a toll on its existing work force, Hoffman said.

"We really haven't recruited in a generation," he said, adding that he expects that will change. "I will tell you we're going to be hiring hundreds of people a year. We've got 7,000 employees and 3,500 to 4,000 are set to retire over the next five to 10 years."

Like many industrial era companies, coal producers "lost a generation" of recruitment during the sector's slump and now has workers whose average age is in the 50s, said Ellis of the state coal association.

At the same time, many of the coal towns that dot the Appalachian Basin saw their younger people, many of whom would have followed their fathers into the mines a generation ago, leave the region for opportunities elsewhere.

The population loss, the industry's reputation for dirty and dangerous work and its history of boom-and-bust cycles may make recruitment difficult, industry experts acknowledged.

Additionally, because of the new technology and equipment now prevalent in their industry, coal producers increasingly are competing for workers with the technical skills who have options outside of mining.

"The days of hiring guys because they have big muscles is gone," said Hoffman at Consol. "Those are the challenges."

On the industry's side are wages that average $53,000 a year without overtime and significant improvements in mine safety, said the coal association's Ellis.

It helps that the jobs also aren't as physically demanding as they once were thanks to pervasive automated equipment, said Kenny at Massey Energy.

Still, Massey Energy has had to raise wages to compete for new workers and to be much more "creative" about recruitment, she said.

The producer last year went so far as to fly a plane pulling a banner over Myrtle Beach, S.C., during the summer in hopes of recruiting former West Virginia miners, many of whom historically took vacations there.

Through a variety of recruitment efforts, Massey Energy hired 1,800 new miners last year but hung onto only 600, largely because many who faced commutes of an hour or longer were lured away by small mine operators that were closer and paid more, Kenny said. At the end of 2004, the company employed 5,000, including 4,500 miners.

Kenny said lots of younger, single workers weren't as interested in the company's health plan -- one of few that doesn't require employees to share premiums -- as they were in making more money. But the company tries to make its benefits competitive to retain workers, she noted.

Kenny said Massey Energy also has increased wages to remain competitive, with raises in October that were as high as 7 percent.

Mining personnel with higher skills, such as mine electricians, now make as much as $100,000 a year, up from $70,000 several years ago, Kenny estimated. She said wages for those without specialties are as high as $60,000 a year, up from a high in the neighborhood of $50,000 a few years back.

"Everyone's wages have escalated," she said. "In this environment it's a sellers' market of miners being able to go wherever they want."

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Tired of chasing internet scrap metal ? [iron_ore]

Tired of chasing internet scrap metal ?

Ocean Realty & Trading International has a solution to this problem. We have a sales mandate from a registered steel company in Europe which sells HMS 1&2 and used rails. The firm we represent does not offer the cheapest scrap, but the material is reliable. What good is cheap scrap if the yards cannot deliver?

We are so confident of the quality of our product that we are willing to arrange a yard visit after contract is signed and a non-operative LC is opened. We prefer to work with end buyers or their mandates.

TEL. 972-2-9931-746
U.S.A. TEL 718-874-9104 ( RINGS IN ISRAEL )

Manufacturing and steel prices

Steel bloggers have been commenting recently about steel costs as a percentage of total automotive input costs.

A very good paper published in February 2005 by Professor Peter Morici of the University of Maryland discusses steel prices in the context of US manufacturing costs in general. Morici concludes that US manufacturing is competitively disadvantaged by a very high dollar, by very high healthcare costs, by the high cost of lawsuits, and by the cost impact of strict environmental regulation - and that is it these factors, rather than high steel prices, that are responsible in the US for the demise of the manufacturing industry. You can find Morici's paper here:

Steve at Steel Strip World makes reference to steel representing perhaps 2 percent of the cost of a typical car. Morici similarly estimates the figure at about 2.7 percent for motor vehicle production, and at about 3.1 percent for manufacturing industry in general. Whilst steel may be a critical material, its cost really is relatively small for most applications in which it is used.

Seamless steel tubes [Iransteelcenter]

We have in stock 9 tons of below prime seamless tubes, which is prime original materials with MTC 3.1.b.

STEEL TUBE SEAMLESS (BENTELER- GERMANY ORIGIN) Cold Drawn Seamless SA213 T22 T 22 57,15 x 5,92 mm 780 meter , 6000kg RL. ab.- 7 meter T 22 50,8 x 9,27 mm 310 meter , 3000kg RL. ab. -7 meter.

TOTAL WEIGHT 9,000KG (-/+ %5 in quantity). Below you can see where these tubes can be used and a description as follows. W.1.7380 A 213-T 22; A 335-P 22 10CrMo9.10 Seamless Steel Tubes for High Temperature Services, Seamless Steel Tubes for Heat Exchanger and Condenser Tubes. Pictures and test certificate avaliable upon request.

Mustafa Sener


TEL: +90 216 386 89 58
FAX: +90 216 386 81 52


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

HBI - Hot Briquetted Iron for sale [Iransteelcenter]

We can supply HBI iron. If you are interested, please send us your
requests LOI/Letter Order Of Intent & BCL for further information.

Origin : Libyan
Qty: 25,000 mt
Specification :

Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI) :
Total Iron : 90 - 94 %
Metallic Iron : 82 - 88 %
Metallization Degree : 90 - 95 %
Carbon : 1.0 - 1.5 %
Average Size : 106×48×32 mm
Average Weight : 500 - 600 gm
Bulk Density : 2.4 - 2.8 ton/m³
Apparent Density : 4.9 - 5.5 ton/m³
HBI price f.o.b. Musrata port- Libya 238 USD MT on Quantity 5,000-
10,000 T/month.

Best regards

Mr.Ezedden Alkrewi

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Scrap price falls by 20 percent in May

European ferrous scrap prices fell by about 20 percent in May, or by approximately $40 per tonne. According to figures just posted on, the end-May Rotterdam f.o.b. scrap price stood at ~$160/tonne, roughly $40/tonne lower than during the first quarter of 2005. The scrap price now is therefore about $100/tonne less than the price seen at the last peak of the cycle in November 2004.

Compare that to some of the recent price changes for integrated steelmakers, where both iron ore and coking coal prices are showing major increases since end-2004 and are now pretty much at a five year high.

Thinking of the economics of a new integrated versus a new EAF-based steel plant? Rather you than me!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Steel Coils requirement [Iransteelcenter]

Dear Sir,

We would like to introduce ourselves as importers of Cold Rolled
Steel Coils and Electrical Steel Coils / CRNGO (Cold Rolled Grain
Non Oriented Electrical Steel) in India.

We are interested in importing the following materials.

1. Seconds / Defective CR, EG, GI, CRGO and CRNGO Coils.

2. CR, EG, GI, CRNGO off Cuts / baby coils

3. Rusty / Water marked CR, EG, GI, CRNGO

4. Prime Surplus Electrical Steel

5. Pre-Coated / Pre-Painted Secondary / Slit Coils

We can import any quality and quantity of material and can offer you
the best prices for these materials. Even if you do not have the
stock of these materials at the moment, please feel free to contact
us when you possess this material in future.

Looking forward to share a great and healthy business relationship
with you.

Thank you
Sreeram Manoj Kumar
Yashaswini Transcores,
# 163 Fifth Main Road,
Chamaraj pet
Bangalore 560018
Tel: +91 80 26674293
Cell: +91 9844043104

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Steel industry blog update - weblog news

Welcome to the blogosphere !

As steel industry portal launches its own weblog at so the list of iron and steel sector weblogs grows, although seemingly rather slowly. Including our own, we count just five steel blogs worldwide: three blogs from the UK, and two from North America. For those interested in exploring the blogosphere further the full list (in alphabetical order only) is here:
If we have missed anybody, please let us know.

Asia Pacific, Middle East, South America, Eastern Europe ... industry blogmasters, where are you?

Overrolling 2nd Choice - CRC, HRC, coated coils [Iransteelcenter]

Dear Sirs

We are Matar Co located in Egypt,beside our representative office and warehouse in USA, we are dealing in non prime steel coils (HRC, CRC, COATED COILS) where we can supply these coils on regular way as our customers needs, all of our coils are in good physical conditions,where we are not dealing in the damaged coils now our price list is as flw:

COATED COILS USD 550/MT ASWP (galvanized,EG,aluminized,galvanealed)

All the coils are mix of overrolling and 2nd choice any addition costs like legalization, inspection...on buyers account.
payment lc at sight

We can handle the buyer dimensions when it is wide enough.
Your comments will be highly appreciated.

FAX(002 050 6915944)
TEL(002 050 6910619)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Australian Manganese Ore [iron_ore]

We have a new offer for Australian Manganese Ore Fine 45% offer 35,000Mt 12 month contract. The price is 149.25$/Mt.

MANGANESE FINES July 2005 ORIGIN: Australia PORT: Port Headland Quantity: 35,000 tons per month for at least 10 years
ASSAY: Typical Guaranteed Mn 45% 44%min Fe 10% 13%max SiO2 10% Al2O3 0.5% 1.0%max CaO 0.5% Ba 0.8% P 0.05% 0.07%max MgO 0.3% LoI 9%
SIZING: P100 10 mm P80 1.6 mm P50 1.0 mm P25 0.425 mm Please Only LOI+BCL will be considered.

Keep in Mind our main business is to serve you by our best way. So, any time you have Offers or Requirements, drop us a line.
Best Regards
Robert Strobbe
FAT Import Export

FAT Import Export Profile: Our day-to-day business includes brokerage on a worldwide basis in the following branches:1. All type of used Vessels.2. Heaving Melting Scraps.3.Used Rails.4.Iron Ore, Coal and other Minerals.5.Oil derivates.6.Freezing and other processing equipments.7.Urea, Sea Food, Fish meal and other commodities.


Mexico Main Office
FAX and PHONE +52 861 6 12 05 71
PHONE and FAX +52 861 6 12 84 59
Postal Address
Street Reforma 604 Col. Centenario
City Sabinas
State Coahuila Country

Seamless tube offer [steelonthenet]

Dear Sir,

We have in stock 9 ton of below prime seamless tubes, which is prime
original materials with MTC 3.1.b.

Cold Drawn Seamless SA213 T22
T 22 57,15 x 5,92 mm 780 meter , 6000kg RL. ab. -7 meter
T 22 50,8 x 9,27 mm 310 meter , 3000kg RL. ab. -7 meter
TOTAL WEIGTH 9,000KG (-/+ %5 in quantity)

Below you can see where these tubes can be used and description
as follows. W.1.7380 A 213-T 22; A 335-P 22 10CrMo9.10

Seamless Tubes for High Temperature Services, Seamless Tubes for Heat Exchanger and Condenser Tubes.

Pictures and test certificate avaliable upon request.

Best Regards

Mustafa Sener

TEL: +90 216 386 89 58
FAX: +90 216 386 81 52