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World news round-up 25 June 2014

UK patent-holder celebrates US plastics deal; Mexican WEEE jumps; platinum strike to end; BHP to slash mining jobs

US licensee of UK patent secures barge order

A US licensee of the UK-based Environmental Recycling Technologies (ERT), patentee of a process converting mixed waste plastics into commercially viable products, has signed an order for barge covers produced by the technology. Brown Water Plastics, a 100% subsidiary of James Marine Inc, will make the covers using ERT’s PIM technology in a deal said to be worth more than £1m.

Each individual cover is 20 feet by 10 feet, which ERT believes is the largest piece of moulded plastic ever made. The individual covers are then typically combined into a suite of eight covers over the full length of a barge. The order follows a resurrection in the fortunes of the North American barge freight industry which has benefitted from the bumper 2013 North American grain harvest and the improved economic backdrop.

Press release

Mexican WEEE up 25% year-on-year

Mexico produces about 300,000 tonnes of WEEE per year, and this figure is growing 20-25% a year. The country’s e-waste has doubled from the 150,000 tonnes in 2010, according to Eduardo Pallares, director of technology recycler Rescatec, local daily El Economista reported. Less than 30% of computers, cell phones, DVD players, microwaves and printers and the like are recycled, Pallares added. Brazil generates the most WEEE in Latin America, followed by Mexico.

BN Americas

MCC scouts for land for two new plants

Mysore City Corporation (MCC) has initiated the process to obtain land from the district administration for its solid waste management plants. A meeting has been convened with various stakeholders to discuss the issue. The district administration is understood to have identified land at five spots to be used as landfill sites. MCC has asked the district administration to find out whether the land can also be used for solid waste management.

The Times of India

South African platinum miners to end strike

South Africa’s main platinum mining union members came together and agreed to a wage settlement and end a five-month strike that left the industry’s labour ties in tatters. The wage agreement falls short of the union demand to nearly triple all workers’ entry-level salaries, but it will increase annual pay by around 1,000 rand (£55) a month for a three-year period, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union President Joseph Mathunjwa told several thousand striking workers gathered in a stadium in the heart of the platinum mining region in Johannesburg. The agreement will be for three years instead of five starting retroactively from 2013 and will apply only to members of the union, who account for roughly 80% of employees at the main platinum companies.

Wall Street Journal

North European Steel prices remain bearish

Steel market participants in Scandinavia have reported good levels of business activity in recent weeks but sales volumes are not sufficient to outweigh a disappointing situation in the wider Western Europe. Raw material costs are low, demand across the continent as a whole is flat and the mills continue to operate at significantly less than their maximum capacities. As a result, prices are under negative pressure and average transaction values for most products have slipped, this month.

Scrap Register

BHP to slash more jobs at its flagship unit

BHP Billiton is planning to cut more jobs at its flagship Australian iron ore division as it seeks to reduce costs following a slump in iron prices. BHP did not put a number on how many jobs would be targeted and declined to confirm an Australian Broadcasting Corp radio report that it could reach 3,000. The world’s biggest miner that employs about 16,000 people in its iron ore division has already let go a 100 people at headquarters and expects another 170 jobs to be cut at its Whaleback mine in the Pilbara iron ore belt.


Indian textile exports to touch $50bn

India’s textile export is set to touch $50bn (£29bn) in the current fiscal year, Union Minister for Textiles Santosh Kumar Gangwar has said. “India in textile exports moved up to second position from fourth last year and we are hopeful of achieving $50bn this year,” said the minister at CMAI’s 59th national garment fair. Textiles have tremendous potential, and the government will provide full support to improve our exports, Gangwar said.


Burundi takes 15% ownership of Kermas nickel project

The Burundi government has taken a 15% stake in a nickel and iron mine project led by Burundi Mining Metallurgy. Danko Konchar, chief executive officer of Kermas Group, the majority owner, said the sale was part of the terms of a licence agreement signed this month. The project will require an investment of “a few hundred million dollars” to construct the mine and a facility to process one million tonnes of ore annually into iron, nickel and cobalt within the next five years.


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