Iron ore exports are moving through Southern California's Port of Long Beach for the first time in 40 years.
The port said SA Recycling, a long-time exporter of scrap metal through the port, is working with CML Metals Corp. to send iron ore from mines in Utah, California, Arizona and Nevada to Asian steel makers. (However, the U.S. Geological Service notes that in 2012, mines in Michigan and Minnesota shipped 97 percent of the usable ore produced in the United States.
George Adams, president and chief executive officer of SA Recycling, said with the price of iron ore nearing $140 per metric ton, it is “starting to rise to the point where you can afford to mine it and ship it to China, South Korea, Malaysia and other Asian markets.”
SA Recycling has handled breakbulk cargo at Pier T in Long Beach for more than 15 years. The company also operates a scrap metal export facility in the Port of Los Angeles.
SA Recycling loaded its first 50,000-ton shipment of iron ore in late March.
Long Beach said if market demand remains strong, SA Recycling could export more than 1 million tons this year.
The Port of San Francisco also said it's pursuing iron ore as an export commodity for its Pier 96 bulk-export facility and is working with the Union Pacific and the San Francisco Bay Rail in designing an expansion to its railyard and building a loop track to facilitate movement of iron ore trains. - Chris Dupin