Stagnant generation in developed nations is countered by increased generation in emerging markets.
When asked about how recyclers in North America feel about the current nonferrous scrap metal market, Michael Lion of global processing and trading company Sims Metal Management went with the word “challenged.” Lion presented his remarks about the market at the 2012 CMRA (China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association Recycling Metal Branch) Recycling Metal International Forum in Beijing in November.
Considering the near-term future, Lion, chairman and director of Hong Kong-based Sims Metal Management Asia Limited, did not deviate far, using the word “challenging.”
With construction and demolition activity remaining at a low ebb in North America, Lion described the scrap industry in that part of the world as “too little scrap being chased by too many people.” Added Lion, “The U.S. has not recovered sufficiently from a scrap generation viewpoint.”
Lion said it can be difficult for secondary aluminum producers in China to obtain the zorba (post-shredder mixed aluminum) they need because “the lack of shredder feed is making this [market] tight.”
Perhaps more encouraging for Chinese buyers of scrap, freelance journalists Adam Minter portrayed both the Middle East and South America as regions that are beginning to export additional nonferrous scrap.
Minter said the construction sectors are active in both regions, resulting in the intense use of ferrous and nonferrous metals, some of which leaves the two regions as exported scrap.
Brazil, which will host both the soccer World Cup and the Summer Olympics in the next few years, is likely to increase as a scrap generator and exporter, said Minter.
Likewise, the Middle East has a healthy construction sector, while the oil industry Columbia and Venezuela is generating ferrous scrap for the export market. (Minter said the Venezuelan scrap likely shows up as Columbian on invoices, as Venezuela has severe export restrictions.
The 2012 CMRA Recycling Metal International Forum was at the China World Hotel in Beijing Nov. 7-9.