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VSMPO ferrotitanium buyers test for asbestos themselves

Keywords: Tags  VSMPO, Noble, ferrotitanium, asbestos, price

LONDON — Ferrotitanium market participants are carrying out their own tests for asbestos in material produced by VSMPO-Avisma Corp. and distributed by Noble Resources Corp. now that VSMPO has told customers which containers could possibly be contaminated.

Customers received a notice from VSMPO on Nov. 30, AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin understands, stating that contamination has not yet been confirmed but that if there is any asbestos content, it is likely to be about 5 parts per million.

VSMPO is examining the potentially affected containers for contamination, a process that is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Metal Bulletin understands.

Some market participants are keen to expedite the process, however, and are looking at carrying out independent testing.

"I’ve had our (material) tested because we spent a lot of money to have it processed—I don’t just want to (have to) replace it," one producer said.

"We should have some news today (Wednesday) or tomorrow," he added.

A distributor added that he is looking at taking on material from other suppliers to make up the shortfall. "We’re lucky we have connections and relationships with other producers," the distributor said.

Market participants should count themselves lucky, furthermore, that the companies involved are large players like VSMPO and Noble, a trader said.

"If it had been some small producer that makes ferrotitanium in some dark garage, they would probably disappear completely, and everybody else would be faced with cleaning it up," he said.

Prices in Europe now stand at $8 to $8.25 per kilogram and are unlikely to move much before the end of the year, as further clarification is expected and destocking continues.

"The FeTi price might go down a touch or possibly trend a bit higher, but I don’t think it will be by much. There are not enough transactions out there to move it," the producer said. 

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

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