7th World Antimony Forum

June 13-14, 2019
Changsha, Hunan, China

7th Refractory & Abrasive Materials Summit 2019

May 23-24, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

10th Aluminum Raw Materials Summit

May 16-17, 2019
Zhengzhou, Henan, China

11th Rare Earth Summit

May 9-10, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

8th Magnesium Summit

April 11-12, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

12th World InBiGeGa Forum

March 14-15, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

6th World Manganese & Selenium Forum

May 21-22, 2018
Hainan Sanya, China

6th World Antimony Forum

April 23-24, 2018
Zhangjiajie, China

6th International Refractories & Abrasives Summit

April 19-20, 2018
Beijing, China

Interview with Duan Guangdong, General Manager of Yunnan Heqing Manganese Industry Co., Ltd.

Heqing Manganese Industry Co., Ltd. is located in the north-west of Yunnan Province, China, nearby Dali- a national cultural city, on the south and the world famous cultural heritage "Lijiang" on the north. The corporation is 33 kilometers away from Lijiang airport, and only 15 kilometers away from the forthcoming completed Dali railway Heqing station. Heqing is rich in all kinds of mineral resources of high quality, with good prospects for mineral development
Heqing Manganese Industry Co., Ltd. is a private enterprise which was restructured from state-owned enterprises in 2003.With total assets of 210 million Yuan, registered capital of 16 million Yuan; current staff of 780 as well as all kinds of professional and technical personnel of 80, it is a medium-sized enterprise with an interpretation of exploring, choosing, smelting, and trading.
Manganese alloy market moves on with high risks
----Interview with Duan Guangdong, General Manager of Yunnan Heqing Manganese Industry Co., Ltd.
Asian Metal: Thank you for accepting our interview. Firstly, what is your opinion in current macro economy and industry background?
Mr Duan: In July, steel market was moving up quickly and steel mills expanded their capacity step by step, indicating that the real economy was recovering. Besides, the loose monetary policy also contributed to the recovery. Under this condition, prices of manganese alloys and ore were rising fast as well. The spot price of imported manganese ore has almost gone up by 60% since the end of June. We have to face some risks brought by market speculation activities.At the same time, manganese alloy export market remains stagnant and unpromising. On the one hand, there seems no possibility that the 20% export duty will be eliminated as government adheres to its policy to limit the ferroalloy industry. On another hand, domestic demand stays comparatively strong, holding prices at high levels, and Chinese manganese alloys are not competitive at all in terms of price.
Asian Metal: what is you predication for the market trend in the coming few months this year?
Mr Duan: We all know it takes a longer time for economy to recover from a serious crisis, but now steel industry is going up too fast. The demand has not consolidated, so market risks are growing higher and higher.If the government holds its stimulating policy unchanged, the market may continue to move up within a narrow range of shock. Actually, fierce fluctuation like what happed last year will bring damages to the whole market and participants.
Asian Metal: how is company going on now?
Mr Duan: Demand has increased notably, and thus, we reopened all our three furnaces, with a monthly output of 3,500t. I have learnt that some other smelters of high carbon ferromanganese increased the production also. We mainly produce high quality high carbon ferromanganese (76%min, P 0.15%max, Si 1.2%max) and supply steel makers like Baosteel for special steel products.In Yunnan, there are only a couple pf major smelters of manganese alloys, including Wenshan Dounan, Kunming Steel Ferroalloy and us, with a total capacity of 500,000tpm, which is much smaller compared with Guangxi and Guizhou.
Asian Metal: how do you think about current market situation in terms of demand and supply?
Mr Duan: Entering June, Chinese steel production rose greatly. The operating capacity increased from 30-50% early months to more than 90%, and many steel makers are running fully. Therefore, the demand for ferromanganese recovers accordingly, although it seems not as strong as silicomanganese, which was pushed up by the bullish market of building steel.As for supply, there are only 6-7 large smelters producing high carbon ferromanganese. However, China exported considerable percentage of domestic output last year, but now we wholly depend on domestic demand. If smelters are running fully, the market will be in oversupply.Despite of the price increase recently, we still lack confidence in the market outlook. We try to make us ready for the coming risky by only producing special products (high carbon ferromanganese with low phosphors, low silicon, and high manganese).
Asian Metal: Do you have any plans in terms of company operation in the near future?
Mr Duan: We have no plan to expand the capacity of high carbon ferromanganese currently. Last year, we ever intended to build a plant overseas, but gave it up soon after the crises deepened.We mainly pat attentions to mining and exploring manganese ore now! We have an annual capacity of 70,000t of manganese ore 40%min, P 0.03%max, which is quite rare in terms of its high quality in China.
Asian Metal: Owning mine of manganese ore should be a huge advantage for smelters of manganese alloys.
Mr Duan: Yes. Otherwise, we have to fully depend on imported manganese ore, of while the price fluctuates in a wide range. Smelters only play as processing factories, surviving pressures from both downstream steel makers and upstream miners. That is the key problem for Chinese manganese industry.
Asian Metal: so, do you have any suggestion for the industry?
Mr Duan: Market access conditions for ferroalloys are so low that there are so many smelters, which is also one of the main reasons for the oversupply in terms of capacity.According to current policies, eclectic furnaces of 6,300KVA will be eliminated till 2010, and the capacity of ferroalloys is likely to suit Chinese steel production by then. However, we should take the specificities of Chinese resources of minerals and power into consideration and it might not be practical to apply a uniform policy.
Asian Metal: Yes, I also think the future is not promising for Chinese manganese industry. Chinese steel output takes 40% of the global production, and manganese alloys take the similar percentages. However, export market has come to a total stagnancy, while upstream manganese ore are wholly grasped by overseas miners.
Mr Duan: That is right! It is the right direction for us to take the advantage of both domestic demand and overseas resources.
Asian Metal: Thanks a lot for taking the interview by Asian Metal.