Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 9, 2009

Scrap metal prices decline...

... along with crime and illegal dump clean-ups

BLUEFIELD, Va. — After several months of experiencing declining prices, the metal market made some modest gains at the start of January, giving hope for a better new year to at least one local scrap metal dealer.

“We had an increase this month,” Kemper Powell, plant manager of Bluefield Iron & Metals on Furnace Street in Bluefield, Va., said. “It will likely be a long, long time before we see prices again like they were last summer, but it’s great that we have had a $20 to $25 increase per ton. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Powell said that the high prices for scrap metals last year, “helped clean up a lot of dump sites. So many of our scrappers are saying they’re having to go deeper into the woods to get at the scrap metal.”

Powell said that the prices for aluminum and stainless steel have not rebounded. “We were paying out .55 to .60 cents per pound of scrap aluminum, and now that’s down to .15 cents a pound,” Powell said. “Pop cans were selling for .60 cents a pound, but now, they’re down to .35 cents.”

Still, Powell said that scrap prices in general “are rebounding some,” but he said the prices have a long way to go to get back to where they were.

Sgt. D.W. Miller, co-commander of the Welch Detachment, West Virginia State Police, said that reports of the theft of copper in McDowell County have dropped in recent months. “We haven’t investigated any reports of copper theft for quite a while,” Miller said.

Phil Moye, an Appalachian Power Company spokesman also said that copper theft activity has decreased. “I do believe there is some correlation between the value of copper for scrap and the level of thefts,” Moye said. “That is very likely a temporary situation. We think the prices are down due to a fluctuation in the market.”

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