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March 12, 2015
By Anthony Poole

US DoC starts Australian SiMn dumping probe

The US Department of Commerce has initiated an antidumping investigation into imports of silicomanganese from Australia, the US International Trade Administration said on March 12.

The investigation follows a petition filed on February 19 by Felman Production, one of two producers of silicomanganese in the US, alleging a dumping margin of 77.97% on Australian silicomanganese. The other US producer, Eramet Marietta, in Ohio, has not filed a petition.

The investigation covers all forms, sizes and compositions of silicomanganese except low-carbon silicomanganese. It includes briquettes, fines and slag, the ITA said.

The ITA said that the US International Trade Commission is scheduled to make a preliminary injury determination on or before April 6, 2015. The ITC is due to make a final determination on November 27.

Commerce is scheduled to make a preliminary determination on July 29 and a final determination on October 13.

Last year, the US imported 70,800 mt of silicomanganese from Australia, worth $76.9 million. In 2013, the US imported 75,300 mt of Australian silicomanganese, worth $69.1 million. In 2012, the US imported 26,400 mt of silicomanganese, worth $27.75 million mt.

The US market for silicomanganese is estimated by various trade sources to be around 400,000 mt/year. Felman's plant near New Haven, West Virginia, has a capacity to produce around 105,000 mt/year, giving it an approximate 25% market share, but it is only operating two out of three furnaces at present.

Combined with imports shipped in by Felman's parent company, Georgian American Alloys, from Georgia, the company's US market share is estimated to be just over 50%.

The New Haven plant was shut from July 2013 until July 2014, which the company attributed to low US silicomanganese prices and high power tariffs, but Felman has, so far, only restarted two of the three furnaces.

Last June, Felman succeeded in obtaining electricity relief from Appalachian Power at its plant, paving the way for a restart in production. Felman originally asked for $9.5 million annually in rate relief for a period of 10 years and was granted $9.0 million/year.

The power tariff Felman pays at its silicomanganese plant has not been disclosed publicly.