A headshot picture of Corinna Petry smiling
From the Editor
By Corinna Petry
Shaping destinies

nyone who has ever invested in stocks should know that past performance is not a predictor of future performance, but what a year 2021 was for revenue and profits in the metals sector.

Steel Dynamics Inc. reported over $18 billion in annual sales, or 91.7 percent above its 2020 revenues. A large part of that was driven by price appreciation (up 64.2 percent year over year) but shipments also rose 4.6 percent

Alcoa Inc. posted annual revenues that were 30.9 percent higher than the cash it took in during 2020. That occurred in spite of smelter closures and a 3 percent reduction in output. Alcoa returned to the black after 2020 losses in net income.

Freeport McMoRan Inc., a global mining company with major copper assets, reports its 2021 revenues of $22.8 billion grew 60.9 percent from 2020 sales. The company increased copper production by 18.8 percent year over year.

At Modern Metals, we like to see companies reinvest when they’ve seen such significant gains, and that is the plan for these three.

Steel Dynamics is ramping up operations at its new flat-rolled steel mill in Sinton, Texas. Based on its current forecast, SDI expects Sinton’s shipments to reach 2 million tons in 2022. SDI is investing $500 million to build four additional value-added flat-roll steel coating lines, two in Texas and two at the Heartland Flat Roll Division in Terre Haute, Indiana. It expects all four coating lines to start up in mid-2023.

steel, aluminum and copper are necessary to achieving the world’s goals.
Alcoa is investing in next-generation solutions that could significantly reduce emissions across the upstream value chain and “generate significant stockholder value,” said President and CEO Roy Harvey. “Our Refinery of the Future design and the Elysis zero-carbon smelting technology not only aim to reduce costs and improve efficiency in aluminum production, but target complete reduction of greenhouse gas generation from their respective production processes.”

Freeport McMoRan is conducting feasibility studies to double operating rates at its Bagdad open-pit mine in Arizona. The company says current operations at the Lone Star copper leach project, completed in 2020 and also located in Arizona, are exceeding the initial design capacity of 200 million pounds annually and produced 235 million pounds of copper last year. It plans to achieve extraction of 300 million pounds of copper per year from oxide ores.

Steel, aluminum and copper are necessary to achieving the world’s goals for building infrastructure, electric vehicles, lightweight aircraft, a renewable energy grid and millions of military, industrial and consumer products. An investment in materials is an investment in the future. As we report in our cover story, Page 18, the coming decade will be decisive for decarbonizing the economy, and metals and mining companies face a special challenge: supplying the critical inputs needed to drive this massive technological transition.