In a clear illustration of the volatility of the metals markets, the price of Ferrous Metal has dropped by £20 to £30 per tonne in the past few weeks as reported by MRW. Further drops are also expected.
There is now a question whether the faint signs of recovery for other metals such as Stainless Steel and Nickel will be short-lived.
At the Waste 16 exhibition in Salford, UK, scrap and waste processors were explaining the difficulties of planning future investment in the present economic climate. In terms of Magnetic Separation, that meant investing in equipment to enable better and cleaner metal recoveries, or the separation of materials previously deemed difficult (eg Stainless Steel or even Printed Circuit Boards).
When metal prices were high, the separation objective was simply focused on getting as much metal out as possible without necessarily assessing metal recovery rates or purity levels. When assessing metal separation and recovery applications, we ask about metal recoveries and purity levels, and it is not unusual for this information to be unavailable or unknown.
With metal prices so volatile, and not in a positive way, the importance of maximising separation and purity increases. A small gain in both can generate more income whilst processing the same tonnage of material.
It is an issue we discussed with many visitors at Waste 16 and will probably remain a hot topic when we exhibit at RWM in September 2016.