NEW YORK BHP Billiton Plc
is changing the way it does manganese alloys business in the
United States by selling material basis c.i.f. New Orleans
rather than delivering directly to customers.
"BHP said that in the future
they would only quote a c.i.f. NoLa price. Theyre trying
to align manganese with how theyre doing all their other
business," a purchasing source said.
"They had a lot of discussions
with people like ourselves that they wanted to do the business
like iron ore," a trader said.
BHP is now quoting material on a
c.i.f. New Orleans or f.o.b. Australia basis, making buyers
responsible for more of the transportation costs, sources
BHP declined to comment on
The change will be hard to sell
to consumers, traders said.
"Clearly theyre not going
to convert to that," the first trader said. "They (consumers)
want the service."
The Melbourne-based company is
possibly looking to sell its manganese assets, AMM
sister publication Metal Bulletin reported in
September, which some sources said could be a reason behind the
change in sales terms.
"Refined manganese is a
packaging business; theres no money in it," a second
It was reported in November that
the company had hired Citibank to sell Temco, its manganese
alloys smelter in Australia. Temco has the capacity to make
65,000 tonnes of silicomanganese and 240,000 tonnes of
high-carbon ferromanganese annually. BHP shut the plant in
February to re-evaluate its profitability, only to reopen it in
amm.com, May 22).
In other recent changes to its
manganese alloy business, the company idled production of
silicomanganese at its Meyerton plant in South Africa last
February due to high power costs and is switching production
there to high-carbon ferromanganese.