BlueScope invests $1 billion in the US amid concerns of Australian energy prices

BlueScope invests $1 billion in the US amid concerns of Australian energy prices

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Mark Broderick
August 20, 2019 2:03 pm

…Winning !

Reply to  Mark Broderick
August 20, 2019 4:53 pm

Well, here is US Steel winning in Michigan. Maybe Bluescope thinks they can do better.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 20, 2019 5:07 pm

Expanding when a competitor contracts (although the US Steel layoffs are TEMPORARY) is “doing better.”

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 20, 2019 5:23 pm

Maybe Bluescope thinks they can do better.

At 1/3rd the energy cost? They’ll be winning. Welcome Bluescope!

They might have some difficulty finding workers here given 3.7% unemployment though. Maybe they’ll pick up those temp layoffs from U.S. Steel.


Reply to  sycomputing
August 20, 2019 5:30 pm

They might. More quotes from the Reuters article on US Steel winning:

“U.S. Steel’s stock price has plunged 73% since March 1, 2018, when Trump announced his decision to crack down on foreign imports.”

“The city of Gary and the state of Indiana have offered U.S. Steel a $47 million tax break package…”

Good luck, Bluescope!

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 20, 2019 6:00 pm

More quotes from the Reuters article on US Steel winning

You’d argue US Steel is “winning” would you? Can’t say I agree with you.

Looks rather like they might need to get some bidness advice from Bluescope on how to make a profit.


Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 20, 2019 6:06 pm

Business advice from Bluescope? Well, from the AFR article:
“BlueScope shares slipped 8.4 per cent on Monday to $11.18 as the company warned that in the first half of 2019-20 underlying profits would be about 45 per cent lower than in the June half just completed, because of weaker commodity steel spreads, including at North Star.

Mr Vassella said he wasn’t perturbed by the one-day share price fall, which he suspected was because of the softer outlook and the hefty capital spend.

“We can only keep doing what we’re doing,” he said, emphasising that North Star was a long-term investment that would ultimately deliver a step-up in earnings of between $100 million to $150 million in extra profits annually.”

We can only keep doing what we’re doing.

JRF in Pensacola
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 20, 2019 6:39 pm

UST’s woes are the result of poor management decisions and have nothing to do with President Trump. However, UST will likely rebound as they reduce production inefficiencies from the investments they are making.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 20, 2019 7:07 pm

Business advice from Bluescope? Well, from the AFR article:
“BlueScope shares slipped 8.4 per cent on Monday . . .

You mean because the stockbrokers, fund managers and such buying shares in the company are the same people in on the day-to-day business operations of Bluescope?

Is that why we should be worried?

John in Oz
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 20, 2019 7:44 pm

To those looking at short term prices for Bluescope:

Apr 2015 – $3.50
Apr 2016 – $6.29
Apr 2017 – $11.83
Apr 2018 – $17.08
Apr 2019 – $12.70

It is time in the market that is important, not timing of the market.

For our US cousins (from the Bluescope web site):

North Star BlueScope Steel is the best performing steel plant in the US, and one of the best in the world, delivering consistent financial performance and strong returns on invested capital. The business is recognised by customers in the independent Jacobson survey as the leading mini-mill in the US based on quality, service and on-time delivery.

Disclaimer: I have no Bluescope shares (but my superannuation probably does)

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 20, 2019 7:48 pm

I do not know about US Steel in particular, but there are many US manufacturers which have enormous legacy costs, and are saddled with using old plants that are less efficient than what other places are now using.
In fact, I can recall in High School being told that old plants was the reason why the steel industry in the US declined while overseas from here it was a booming business: Those overseas in places that were destroyed in WWII had new production facilities, while US manufacturers were stuck with old ones.
I am sure that is not the whole story, but it was a factor.
And it remained a factor in other industries long after the time period I was in High School.
Around the Great Lakes region, the US has all the required raw materials, and an excellent way to move stuff around, using the lakes.
Not sure how this situation has evolved more recently, but that was a key factor in the incredible production we achieved in WWII, and the years after the war ended.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2019 10:49 am

Following a strong first half to the fiscal year 2019, Bluescope says the second half was affected “significantly” by a softening of steel and export vanadium selling prices.

michael hart
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 20, 2019 6:04 pm

Maybe the Michigan site is in need of modernization too, like the Gary works in Indiana which the article says is also being idled. It sounds like Bluescope is investing in something new for the future.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2019 2:26 am

“Nick Stokes August 20, 2019 at 4:53 pm
Well, here is US Steel winning in Michigan”

I worked at U.S. Steel back in the Seventies.
Layoffs are part and parcel of working at a steel plant.
Pay was/is still good.

Adding more steel to a market all ready filled with steel, just drops the price more.
Steel plants adjust output to demand.

Bluescope doesn’t mention exactly what steel manufacturing they plan to build in the USA.
Your article on U.S.Steel mentions blast furnace operations. Blast Furnace operations clean the carbon out of raw iron turning it into steel.
Specialty alloys, pipes, sheets, wire, etc. are next processes after the blast furnace.

Plenty of work for additional steel plants. Especially when American infrastructure issues get addressed.

Richard of NZ
Reply to  ATheoK
August 23, 2019 3:23 pm

Blast furnaces reduce the ore, often iron oxide, to iron, Excess carbon is removed from the iron in converters.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2019 10:01 am

Like so many other old U.S. manufacturing companies, their woes are due to the costs imposed for decades by punishing, even DESTRUCTIVE, non-value-added REGULATIONS and TAXES and by UNIONS and their insatiable demands for MORE and MORE and MORE benefits, regardless of the negative impact to profit or even viability of the HOST FOR THE PARASITES dying company.

Non-union companies are thriving, especially under the new Trump rules and unshackling measures.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  TEWS_Pilot
August 21, 2019 10:46 am

One specific issue is related to things like incredibly generous pension benefits that are open ended and include lifetime healthcare and such, and also attach to spouses and perhaps even kids.
So some of the old companies are stuck paying pension benefits to people that greatly exceed whatever work that person ever did, as people live longer than ever. Working for 20 years and then retiring with a pension amounting to a large percentage of the wage earned, for life, will and has bankrupted not just corporations but governments. Some were set up to be based on the last year of a workers time on the job, so by working a crapload of overtime right before retiring, some people wound up collecting jaw dropping amounts of money in perpetuity.
Most such deals were made to end strikes or walkouts by people who knew that they would not be around when the bill came due for such. Crafty deal making on the part of the people negotiating for the workers realized that demands for huge pay increases were unlikely to be met, but a benefit that would not kick in until many years down the road, could be pushed through…especially when the person agreeing was some civil servant or elected official who was serving a four year term or who had no personal stake in what would happen later.

Typically these things come to light and the SHTF when there is a recession or economic downturn, and profits and tax revenues shrink drastically.
Examples off the top of my head are the city of Vallejo, CA. When the recession hit in 2007-2008, it came to light that the city had made such overly generous deals with police and firefighters unions over the years, that 80% of all revenue was just to pay for those two departments and their legacy costs, mostly defined health care plans and pension payments, but also giant severance pay packages when someone retired.
At the same time, GM, for example, was paying so much in legacy costs that it was the first $2000 of every vehicle they sold.
They only made money on large vehicles, but at the same time gas had shot up in price, new CAFE standards imposed, and the market for SUVs dried up to almost nothing very rapidly.
They had no way out of it.
Same sort of story for the other auto companies, many cities and local governments, airlines, and plenty of others.

Reply to  Mark Broderick
August 20, 2019 7:04 pm

Cheap, abundant energy is the lifeblood of society – it IS that simple!

I wrote the following in 2012. It has been obvious for decades that radical greens have a destructive, anti-human and homicidal agenda.

Anyone who challenges this observation cannot read, or cannot think.

Regards, Allan

My point is we have been ASSUMING that the radical enviros share our human values and THAT assumption is FALSE.

The radical enviros are anti-human and consistently oppose moves to increase supplies of economic energy that will improve the wellbeing of humankind. This explains their apparently nonsensical opposition to oil and gas pipelines, hydraulic fracturing, the Canadian oilsands, etc. and their apparently irrational support for inefficient, ineffective and environmentally destructive wind and solar power schemes.

The radical enviros stance is NOT primarily about the environment – that is a smokescreen – their objective is to increase energy costs, cause energy starvation and reduce human population. Their seemingly nonsensical positions are all consistent with this theme and are also consistent with their following statements.

(h/t to Wayne for the following quotations)

”My three goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with its full complement of species, returning throughout the world.”
David Foreman, co-founder of Earth First!

”A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”
Ted Turner, Founder of CNN and major UN donor

”The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.”
Jeremy Rifkin, Greenhouse Crisis Foundation

”Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”
Paul Ehrlich, Professor of Population Studies, Author: “Population Bomb”, “Ecoscience”

”The big threat to the planet is people: there are too many, doing too well economically and burning too much oil.”
Sir James Lovelock, BBC Interview

”We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination… So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”
Stephen Schneider, Stanford Professor of Climatology, Lead author of many IPCC reports

”Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.”
Sir John Houghton, First chairman of the IPCC

”It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.”
Paul Watson, Co-founder of Greenpeace

”Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”
David Brower, First Executive Director of the Sierra Club

”We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.”
Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

”No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment

”The only way to get our society to truly change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.”
Emeritus Professor Daniel Botkin

”Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
Maurice Strong, Founder of the UN Environmental Program

”A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-Development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.”
Paul Ehrlich, Professor of Population Studies, Author: “Population Bomb”, “Ecoscience”

”If I were reincarnated I would wish to return to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.”
Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, Patron of the Patron of the World Wildlife Foundation

”The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization we have in the US. We have to stop these third World countries right where they are.”
Michael Oppenheimer, Environmental Defense Fund

”Global Sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control.”
Professor Maurice King.

”Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.”
Maurice Strong, Rio Earth Summit

”Complex technology of any sort is an assault on the human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.”
Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute

”I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. it played an important part in balancing ecosystems.”
John Davis, Editor of Earth First! Journal


Bryan A
August 20, 2019 2:04 pm

No matter how much Virtue Signaling is sprinkled on and how many “Pretty Green Ribbons” are tied on it, in the end, the bottom line for Business competitiveness IS the “Bottom Line”.

Sweet Old Bob
August 20, 2019 2:51 pm

Funny how they virtue signal about renewables yet move operations away from high power prices caused by renewables … 😉

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
August 21, 2019 2:36 am

Interruption in energy supply bother industry quite a bit.

Corporate image quality is usually a big interest in industry.
Their marketing departments do almost anything to portray the company as pro-civilization. Virtue signaling is the correct description.
That doesn’t stop the corporate office from making long term decisions to keep prices down.

August 20, 2019 3:22 pm

We will see much more of this in Australia and elsewhere, where there are high energy costs, unless the Alarmists and Warmistas are reined in.

August 20, 2019 3:30 pm

Cheap US energy leads BlueScope to $1b Ohio mill expansion

(some snips)

US energy prices just one-third of those in Australia, along with a robust manufacturing sector stoked by President Donald Trump’s policies, have prompted a $1 billion expansion of an Ohio steel mill by BlueScope.

BlueScope chief executive Mr Vassella said the $1 billion expansion of the North Star mill, to be fully up and running by 2023, was the largest capital investment the steelmaker would likely ever make, and would deliver annual returns of 15 per cent-plus.

He said the company had intimate knowledge of the mill because it helped build it in the first place in the mid-1990s in a joint venture with North American group Cargill, and had moved to full ownership in 2015.

Mr Vassella lamented the state of Australian manufacturing as the sector battled high energy prices and said one of the main drivers of the North Star expansion, which will increase capacity by 40 per cent, was that energy costs in the United States were substantially lower.

“That’s a tragedy quite frankly for Australian manufacturing,” Mr Vassella said.

BlueScope also operates the Port Kembla steelworks in New South Wales, which underwent major cost-cutting and restructuring in 2015. Mr Vassella said he worried a lot about manufacturers in Australia who were BlueScope’s customers and were facing ”demand destruction” because their energy costs were too high.

J Mac
Reply to  Marv
August 20, 2019 4:57 pm

In 2017, coal fueled 58% of Ohio’s net electricity generation, with nuclear chipping in another 15%.
Golly! All of our AGW trolls keep telling us that coal and nuclear powered electrical sources are ‘expensive’ compared to solar and wind. BlueScope’s $1 Billion dollars says they are wrong! That’s putting your investment money where your thorough economic analysis leads you….

Reply to  Marv
August 20, 2019 5:20 pm

Not everyone is convinced. From the linked AFR article
“BlueScope shares slipped 8.4 per cent on Monday”

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 20, 2019 6:37 pm

Let’s pretend none of us have never heard the saying “Buy on the rumor, sell on the news.” That’ll be fun!

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 20, 2019 6:40 pm

Market responds to short term impact to bottom line. Immensely costly to move production to another country.
Strategic moves that are far beyond immediate profit timeline don’t figure in immediate (daily-weekly) stock market moves.
– Business Economics 101.

Go back to school Nick.

Lewis P Buckingham
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 20, 2019 7:48 pm

Once they are there the value in a strong $US will be worth the wait.
Bluescope is an innovative manufacturer of coated steels. It is exporting technology to India also where it also is setting up manufacturing.
The competition is Chinese. At the moment their galvanised products rust when buried at a much faster rate than Bluescope.
So with access to the two big markets of the US and India and Trump relegating steel to a strategic asset with tariff protection , who knows,perhaps they have done their homework.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 20, 2019 7:53 pm

It is widely taken to be true that the stock market responds to expectations of what is to come about six months hence.
For individual companies, the situation is far more difficult to predict.
However, it is generally true that for companies that are expected to have a profitable future, selloffs are buying opportunities.
Individual stocks regularly have huge swings in price over a period of months and often weeks.
Well timed trading is a spigot of money.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
August 21, 2019 8:11 am

Well timed trading is a spigot of money.

“YUP”, …. it’s a “no limit” poker game …… and your winnings are determined by your decision to “raise” or “sell”.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
August 21, 2019 10:04 am

But it is a two way street.
Like poker, bad decisions will cost you
Right now steel in the US has a huge wild card in play with the trade negotiations and tariffs.
Trump has stated his goal is no tariffs on anyone on either side.
So it is impossible to say what will happen with that going forwards, although it does seem steel is a special case in that it is a vital strategic industry, and some countries subsidize production and sell into world markets at prices deemed to be “dumping”.
To me it is insane to have no way for the US to produce things that, in the event of war, are an absolute requirement.
No one is planning on a war like that, but I do not think the really bad wars are ever widely foreseen in advance.
IMO, the world has been largely safe (from huge widespread wars between large countries) because after WWII, the US decided that to disarm after war is to invite another, as had just happened w/ the war to end all wars, and then another even worse one a few decades later.
We need to make steel in the US, and free trade has to be truly free.
So many people are criticizing Trump for doing something that needed to be done, and acting so outraged that a country has decided terrible deals made a long time ago have to be thrown out.
Personally, I would not be putting money in any material stocks right now, least of all commoditized ones like steel.

J Mac
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2019 10:00 pm

That is $1 Billion dollars not invested in Australia, due to their flawed energy policies. On an internal ‘roll over’ within the economy, it represents $4 billion to $10 billion in extended economic benefits that Australia will not benefit from. Anyway you measure it, Australia loses.

Check and Mate, ‘mate.

Reply to  J Mac
August 22, 2019 3:18 am

“Anyway you measure it, Australia loses.”
Nope. It just means that Australia, or at least somebody, makes more money selling gas to China than we do selling it to Bluescope to make steel.

J Mac
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 22, 2019 10:28 am

Yep. Even by your ‘economic analysis’, which has the depth of a teaspoon, Australia loses!
Pathetic denial of reality…..

August 20, 2019 3:38 pm

Manufacturing is going to where energy is cheapest.

Most people drastically underestimate the power of the invisible hand.

Bruce Cobb
August 20, 2019 3:39 pm

“We still face energy costs in this country that are too high.” The use of the word “still” seems very odd. You face high energy costs, period. Why would you expect anything else? I’m wondering if he buys into the myth that the cost of renewables will go down. That would be naieve.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 21, 2019 12:30 pm

Bruce Cobb – August 20, 2019 at 3:39 pm

“We still face energy costs in this country that are too high.”

Energy costs are way, way too cheap, …… compared to the cost of government (local state and federal) that is way, way, way too high …… and increasing faster than any other taxpayer expense. After each election, government employment and expenses increase dramatically.

Increases in the “demands” by government entities is what prompted businesses to close their doors and/or move their production across ponds and borders.

August 20, 2019 3:41 pm

Do high electricity prices Make Australia Green Again?

Reply to  coaldust
August 21, 2019 2:34 am

Green? Poor!


J Mac
August 20, 2019 3:49 pm

I take no joy in the USA gaining jobs and capital investment at the expense of our staunch Australian allies.
C’mon Aussies! Get your energy act together!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  J Mac
August 20, 2019 5:44 pm

“C’mon Aussies! Get your energy act together!”

I second that motion! 🙂

August 20, 2019 3:54 pm

Great! We’ll have plenty of steel rail for AOC’s 150,000 miles of high-speed trains. ; )

August 20, 2019 4:00 pm

Can Australia bring its sky-high energy prices down to earth?


Amid the wider debate around coal-fired power and Australia’s transition to low-carbon generation, high energy prices have at times been wielded as a political club. The move away from coal-fired power and towards greater adoption of intermittent renewables, argue coal lobbyists and some government figures including former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, is driven more by ideology than economic sense. Moreover, consumers pay the price, both literally and in energy security, for the loss of baseload coal plants and the growing share in intermittent renewables.

“We know what happens if you allow left-wing ideology and politics to drive your energy policy,” said Turnbull at last year’s Liberal National Party state conference in Brisbane. “You get unreliable and unaffordable power, and business is driven out of your state.”

There is certainly some truth to these claims. High prices and power outages in South Australia, the country’s leading wind power-producing state, have been exacerbated by the increase of intermittent resources and the lack of dispatchable backup plants. Similarly, the relatively short-notice closures of large, heavily polluting coal-fired plants has driven wholesale prices up in some regions. In the state of Victoria, for example, last year’s closure of the 1.6GW Hazelwood coal power station prompted a price surge of 85% compared to 2016 prices, according to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

August 20, 2019 4:06 pm

It’s not just cost, it’s also reliability.

Reply to  MarkW
August 20, 2019 5:08 pm

This is one reason manufacturers move to China. They tell them cheap reliable energy, no problem with permits, no problem getting cheap workers.

They are even building massive rail system to Europe now to make shipping goods no problem.

August 20, 2019 4:23 pm

FWIW: Here’s a lengthy read …

It doesn’t have to be this way: Australia’s energy crisis, America’s energy surplus — United States Studies Centre

August 20, 2019 4:36 pm

To complete the irony I hope to find their US operations are manufacturing steel for wind turbines.

old construction worker
August 20, 2019 4:36 pm

Is this an example of someone shooting oneself in the foot?

August 20, 2019 4:38 pm

In other news, The Guardian says energy prices in Austrailia are falling …

Power prices falling as customers shop around and competition increases | Australia news | The Guardian


“Power prices are coming down, customers are shopping around for better deals and there is more competition in the energy sector, according to an annual snapshot of the market from the Australian Energy Market Commission.

“After a distinctly downbeat report in 2018, the AEMC says increased competition since its last assessment has led to decreases in consumer prices and reductions in market concentration in all markets except Tasmania.

“It says new and emerging power retailers are driving lower prices and the retail market is starting to shift towards simpler and more comparable pricing structures, and greater product innovation.”

Perhaps the folks who run Bluescope need to be notified.

Gerry Loveday
Reply to  Marv
August 20, 2019 5:16 pm

I guess if you can believe an article relating to energy prices written by a ‘political editor’ in the left of left Guardian newspaper, then you can believe almost anything mate. Retail prices have gone from under $0.20aud to over $0.40aud per kwh in the last few years and you think Bluescope should be swayed by the stated possible 2.1% reduction over the next 2 years.
Australian small business has been smashed by the spiralling energy costs. Fortunately of the 380,000 new jobs ‘created’ in Australia in the last 12 months some 300,000 are in safe reliable public sector positions (so says the Federal Treasurer) so everything is going well with the Australian economy. Haha, sarcasm obviously

Reply to  Marv
August 20, 2019 7:05 pm

LOL, I paid $600 for wood (heating) and had a $650 power bill for this qtr (winter)with a %7 discount, prices are not going down. The cost of generation is still very expensive, retailers are just fiddling around at the edges to give the illusion of prce drops which the believers latch onto.

Reply to  Marv
August 21, 2019 2:39 am

Wishful thinking from the Guardian once again.

Michael Jankowski
August 20, 2019 4:54 pm

Can’t wait to see Dem presidential candidates tell Ohioans how bad this news is.

August 20, 2019 5:07 pm

And 180 American CEOs of large corporations just signed a non binding resolution to put workers and customers ahead of profit. We are entering into the anti capitalism virtue signaling era of business. We …. as in the population …. are under attack. Climate Change is just part of the plan. Meanwhile we’re arguing over whether or not the “science” is correct while the enemy is already among us.

Reply to  markl
August 20, 2019 6:48 pm

Is there a list somewhere? If I own any stock in any of these I will have to see that I don’t in the future. Companies form capital with the promise to make money for shareholders, period!

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  OweninGA
August 20, 2019 8:27 pm

Watch the short video with the Fast Money traders for some insight and explanation of what exactly has occurred.
Two historical examples of such a strategy that were mentioned was Henry Ford giving all of his workers a raise in the 1920s, and Walmart hiking wages and benefits unilaterally in the past several years.
In both cases, shareholder value increased tremendously afterwards.
Walmart share price was stalled out for many years, and jumped up and began to make new highs after they took those steps.
Satisfied and prosperous employees make for a stronger company.
Especially with the unemployment rate where it is, it will become increasingly difficult for stingy companies to retain and hire the best workers.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
August 21, 2019 5:13 am

“Especially with the unemployment rate where it is, it will become increasingly difficult for stingy companies to retain and hire the best workers.”

And that is the reason there is no need for a minimum wage.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tom in Florida
August 21, 2019 10:14 am

At the very least their needs to be a separate wage minimum for entry level jobs, and certain jobs requiring zero skills, like sweeping floors and such.
The kind of jobs kids can get in the Summer or after school for a few hours.
$15 minimum wages are making it very difficult to hire for such tasks, and hence hard for certain demographics to get a job at all.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  markl
August 20, 2019 7:58 pm

The heads of companies making agreements with each other, no matter what the specifics, sounds very shady and is probably illegal.
You say they signed an agreement?
There are all sorts of laws against this sort of thing, generally speaking.
At the very least, principles of publicly traded companies have a fiduciary duty to look out for certain interests shareholders and bondholders being the two most obvious.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
August 21, 2019 9:13 am

Nicholas said: “You say they signed an agreement?” I used poetic license. They are part of a group that issued a statement to redirect their purpose from shareholder first to employees and customers. Sort of like a Paris Agreement for woke corporations. Nothing will probably change because of it though other than they can now point to their intents and purposes being in line with SJW thinking.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  markl
August 21, 2019 10:10 am

That I agree with.
I am not sure why they used the language exactly like they did.
I suspect it is just as you say…virtue signaling.
None of these huge companies is gonna give away the store, or do anything that would predictably tank the value of the stock they hold.
I think this is a direct response to calls last year from people such as Liz Warren to make laws that in effect gave politicians direct control over corporate policies.
I think there have been some people calling for outright nationalization.
I sure hope the electorate never gets stupid enough to try that here.

Warren Blair
Reply to  markl
August 20, 2019 9:10 pm

Another gift to China!

Joel O’Bryan
August 20, 2019 5:34 pm

Australian steel workers can legally emigrate here, get Green Cards to work in the steel mill and have their guns! 🙂
I have an Aussie friend who was Aussie Army logistics officer I met when he was getting Masters at UA 20 years. After he retired, he and his US citizen wife moved to Houston on a job offer to work petroleum logistics supply for Schlumberger (sp?). He is now a mid level exec flying all over the world making a huge high 6 fig salary. And he also knows the climate change is a scam and there is zero probability the world will reduce oil consumption even at much higher prices. The value of liquid fuel hydrocarbons from petroleum in transportation is just too great to be replaced.

August 20, 2019 5:52 pm

Electricity prices fell for forty years in Australia, then renewables came… « JoNova

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Marv
August 20, 2019 6:36 pm

higher electricity prices is not a “bug” of renewables, it’s an intentional “feature” to harvest wealth from the much larger middle class to the small billionaire class.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 21, 2019 2:38 am

Exactly. The most cynical robbery ever.

Patrick MJD
August 20, 2019 6:47 pm

They can’t make steel in Australia with, we are constantly told, cheaper renewable energy? Apparently, aluminium is smelted in South Australia with renewables.

Who’d a thought this would happen after gaming the market and making energy so expensive!

How good is Australia?

Reply to  Patrick MJD
August 20, 2019 8:07 pm

” Apparently, aluminium is smelted in South Australia with renewables.” I call BS on this. Show me. Smelting takes 24X7 energy input. Another lie that becomes fact when repeated enough.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  markl
August 20, 2019 10:39 pm

I did use the word “apparently”, “adverb; as far as one knows or can see…”

I am reliably told this by alarmists however, I have not been able to find any reference. Apparently an Indian owner of a smelter uses renewables, and that is in SA. The nearest, actual one I can find, is in Victoria and is the biggest user of power in the state sucking power from other states and Tasmania.

Reply to  markl
August 21, 2019 3:24 am

Aluminium smelters quite often run on renewables, but only if those renewables are hydro power. That is why Norway has seven and little Iceland three, though neither has as much as a gram of Bauxite.

Australia despite huge bauxite deposits has only four these days, one in each of Tasmania, Queensland, NSW and Victoria. My guess is there will soon only be two.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  tty
August 21, 2019 6:04 pm

When I say renewables I don’t include reliable hydro.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
August 20, 2019 8:40 pm

I can’t find an aluminium smelter in SA. There is one at Portland Victoria.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  lee
August 20, 2019 10:42 pm

Alcoa however, I have always been told, by alarmists, that it is in SA and powered by renewables. Next time an alarmist tells me that I will ask for evidence.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
August 21, 2019 3:11 am

It seems that Alcoa themselves are unaware that they have a smelter in SA:

August 21, 2019 12:38 am

However Gupta is planning 280MWh solar farm for steel near Whyalla.

Reply to  lee
August 21, 2019 2:55 am


One more who doesn’t understand the difference between power (MW) and energy (MWh). This concept apparently completely baffles all greenies.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  lee
August 21, 2019 5:30 am

Yes, Whyalla, in SA! I got my states and smelters mixed up. This is the smelter, apparently, powered by renewables.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
August 21, 2019 3:11 pm

No it isn’t. They haven’t even started building the solar farm.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  tty
August 22, 2019 8:49 am

You would find it hard to convince an alarmist otherwise.

August 21, 2019 3:04 am

If the GND should become reality, which god forbids, the US will have an enormous steel shortage. Calculate how much steel will be needed just to build all those high-speed railways, not to mention rebuilding every house in the country, replacing every car and truck, all agricultural machinery etc etc etc. And all in just 20 years.

It will take a lot of new steelworks and a lot of new coal mines. Because no new steel can be made without coal, not now and almost certainly not in 20 years either.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  tty
August 21, 2019 6:23 am

A lot of renewable supporters don’t understand *NEW* steel is made from pig iron. Pig iron is made from iron ore and coal. So as far as I know, there is no new method for making pig iron.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
August 21, 2019 1:03 pm

Theoretically iron ore could be reduced by hydrogen rather than coal. It has been done in the laboratory, but is very far from large-scale deployment. There are several difficult technical hurdles, such as preventing hydrogen embrittlement, efficiently producing very large quantities of hydrogen by electrolysis, compressing it economically, storing it safely, and avoiding leakage and explosions in a very challenging environment. Hydrogen is notoriously leakage-prone. It would also require humungous amounts of electricity to make the hydrogen (about 40 kWh per kg of H2 at 100% efficiency, which is of course unachievable).

It can’t be done today, it definitely won’t be done for several years, and it probably won’t be done even in twenty years.

And even then, since steel is an alloy of iron and coal, you would still have to add coal to the molten iron, part of which would inevitably oxidize to CO2.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  tty
August 21, 2019 6:05 pm

Of course, in theory, that’s why it isn’t done, and never will be, because of the reasons you state.

August 27, 2019 3:29 pm

North Star is the most profitable mill in the US by far, that is why Bluescope is investing so heavily… I’m in that mill often.

September 1, 2019 11:21 pm

Hey, I have carried out some research on bluescope investment and i think its investing just because of its own good,non one is so kind enough to invest such high amount if he is not getting anything out of it.So yeah,at the end of the day its a win win situation for bluescope.

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