High-purity columbium may tighten as Asian steel mills buy CBMM stake

Mar 16, 2011 | 05:41 PM | Thorsten Schier

Tags  CBMM, Posco, JFE, niobium, ferroniobium, high-purity columbium, ferrocolumbium, Nippon Steel Sojitz

NEW YORK — The recent acquisition of a 15-percent stake in Brazilian columbium producer Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM) by South Korean and Japanese steel companies is expected to tighten the market for high-purity columbium further, market participants said.

A consortium of JFE Nippon Steel Corp., Nippon Steel Corp., Sojitz Corp. and Korean steelmaker Posco Ltd., as well as Japan Oil, Gas & Metals National Corp. (Jogmec) and South Korea’s National Pension Service, has bought a 15-percent stake in the world’s largest columbium producer.

In return for the stake, Nippon Steel, JFE, Posco and Sojitz secured long-term supply of the metal, which is a critical alloying additive in the production of high-grade and special steel products. "It’s logical that if one of the largest (consumers) manages to nail down production, there’s less left for the other players," one trader said. ....

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