The diversified miner prices and sells products on the internet, enabling customers to track their orders, and is also increasing the number of products it procures online.
“Processing costs for transactions has decreased dramatically, premiums have been better than we anticipated, and access to customers has improved,” executive general manager for nickel Peter Johnston said.
“We have saved about 50% of our transaction costs [for cobolt]. We did it to make money, but there was also a lack of transparency in the market.”
WMC sells its entire cobalt production of 800 tonnes a year – a by product of its nickel operations – through its web site at www.wmc-cobalt.com.
Its online nickel sales (www.wmc-nickel.com) at premiums to LME cash account for 5-10% of WMC’s business in this metal.
For copper, Johnston said the customer now tracks the progress of the transaction through the warehouse to delivery via the internet, but it is too early to tell how this is developing.
The online metals business is growing strongly, with other companies such as Spectra and Emetra becoming influential.
“Personally, I think that within five years 50% of all metals will be sold B2B of on the internet,” Johnston said.