Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

A heavy blaze at Sims Metal Management UK’s export yard in Avonmouth Dock has been fully extinguished, according to a company statement issued to Davis Index on October 7.


In the statement, Sims confirmed there were no casualties because of the fire and operations would return to normal once the “ongoing” investigation into the cause is complete. 


The fire was located deep in a “sorted” 20,000mt pile of scrap metal and was able to be extinguished after a grabber opened access to the centre of the fire.


One UK-based trader commented that media (video) coverage showed that it was a large pile of HMS 1&2 grade ferrous scrap that had unusually caught fire.


Davis Index has subsequently verified these assertions with the use of satellite imagery, aerial and roadside footage that clearly shows a pile of heavy melt scrap on fire.


The same trader hypothesised that fires of this nature are not that uncommon and typically ignited by lithium ion batteries which can spontaneously combust when wet or punctured.


With Avonmouth (the company’s largest deepsea ferrous scrap export terminal in the UK) out of action, market participants have hypothesized this could remove support from regional scrap prices.


Merchant ferrous scrap suppliers may have to accept discounts on material diverted to alternative locations in a market that had already started to weaken from Monday. 

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