NEW YORK Warehousing company C. Steinweg Handelsveen BV has told customers that it is unable to handle certain ferrotitanium parcels stored in its Rotterdam facilities because material obtained from Russian producer VSMPO-Avisma Corp. might be contaminated with asbestos, market sources said.
Noble Resources Corp., the agent for VSMPO, informed customers last week that there is a possibility that consignments of ferrotitanium produced by VSMPO might contain asbestos, and asked them to take urgent steps to isolate the material and notify anyone they have supplied with such material.
Market participants still havent been told how much material has been affected and over what time frame, or what Noble and VSMPO are doing to resolve the situation, according to many sources.
Those with VSMPO material in warehouses are now unable to forward it to their own customers.
"Steinweg has called people on the advice of Noble saying you have material in the warehouse but we wont touch it because theres a risk it contains asbestos," one market source with material in Steinweg warehouses told AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.
A second market source, who also has VSMPO material in Steinweg warehouses, said his material was stuck. However, het praised Steinweg for taking the health and safety threat seriously.
"Ive tried to have material moved but Steinweg said theyre not going to move it until they have clarification, and that could take a few days," the source said. "I think theyre absolutely right; you need to know the nature of the beast. Its a sensible approach and Im delighted because we do a lot of business with them."
Both Steinweg and Noble declined to comment.
Noble stopped offering VSMPO material in mid-November without explanation and some deliveries were recalled, causing ferrotitanium prices to spiral.
Material is trading at $7 to $8 per kilogram in Europe, up from $6.80 to $7.20 per kg on Nov. 21 and the three-year low of $5.70 to $5.90 per kg on Oct. 31.
"Its pausing for breath at the moment, but it moved from the mid-$5s to $8 in a couple of weeks," a third source said.
VSMPO didnt respond to requests for comment.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.