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Minandes looks to extend reach in South America

World Coal,

The Colombian metallurgical coal mining and trading company Mindandes – part of the Goyecor SAS group – has announced its intention to expand its footprint in South America as it looks to establish a stronger reach on the continent, particularly in Brazil.

Steel consumption expected to grow 

The company said its hopes for expansion was based on the outlook for steel consumption, which it expects to grow.

Andres Goyeneche, head commodity trader at Minandes, said: “We see steel consumption growing in South America in 2014, which we consider an opportunity from out natural [nearby] market. For that, we need to offer better prices than those currently offered by Poland, Canada and the US.”

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According to Julian Steer, general manager of ArcelorMittal, steel and manufacturing output was indeed set to grow, although progress might not be as smooth as hoped by some within the industry. “Indications are that steel and manufacturing output will rise,” Steer said. “We have an annual growth rate close to 10%, while business and consumer confidence is increasing.”

Steer told delegates at the conference that global steel demand had risen by 270 million t, but that it had been impacted by a drop in capacity utilisation. As with other areas of the coal industry, an oversupply of both steel and metallurgical coal was keeping prices low. 

Steady metallurgical coal prices

Mid-volatile hard metallurgical coal will be offered by Minandes to Brazil at roughly US$ 115/t FOB, while low-volatile hard metallurgical coal will be offered at US$ 125/t FOB and spot met coke at US$ 230/t FOB. These offers consider shipping from Buenaventura (Pacific) or Barranquilla (Atlantic) ports. Freight to Brazil’s Vitoria port in southeasters Esprito Santo state is US$ 20 – 25/t.

The metallurgical coal prices offered to Brazil by Mindandes as US$ 5/t lower compared to the company’s January offers, in response to “international trends”, Goyeneche said.

The value of metallurgical coal has remained steady, the company said.

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Minandes began to trade metallurgical coal to Europe in 2009, before shipping the raw material to Asia in 2012.

“We now want to enter strongly into Central and South America, but Brazil is out main target,” Goyeneche said.

The commodity trader also explained that Minandes needed to convince South American customers that Colombia also offers high-quality metallurgical coal compared with other suppliers of the commodity.

“Our vision is to participate more actively in the steelmaking raw materials and steel products business. […] For that, we need to strengthen our efforts in Brazil in order to create intelligent merchant channels,” he said.

Minandes, headquartered in Bogota, holds the licenses to mines in the zones of Boyaca and Cindinamarca, with a production capacity of 150,000 tpa of metallurgical coal.

Customs data from Brazil showed that in January, coke imports rose 111.5% to 163,337 t from January 2013. However, imports were down 11.3% compared to December. The main suppliers were China, Hong Kong, and Colombia, with average prices of US$ 270/t FOB, US$ 279/t FOB and US$ 235/t FOB, respectively.

Brazil imported a total of 1.89 million t of coke in 2013, an increase of 18.9% over 2012.  

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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