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This week’s metal news goes “Clash! Clang! Crash!”

Published March 4, 2024


Recently, metal detectorist Lars Nielsen made a “surreal” discovery near Emmerlev in southwest Denmark: a 1,400-year-old gold ring with a red semi-precious stone. According to the National Museum of Denmark, the ring dates to the Merovingian dynasty, a Frankish royal family that ruled from 476 to 750 C.E. (At that time, their kingdom encompassed large parts of Germany, France, and Belgium, where the ring was found)

Nielsen’s recovery isn’t just another run-of-the-mill gold ring, this one once most likely belonged to Merovingian royalty, museum inspector Kirstine Pommergaard told reporters. She points out that certain details in the ring—the trefoil markings between the band and stone and the spiral designs on the underside—are signs of upmarket Frankish creations with “an impressive level of craftsmanship that is difficult to imitate today.”

While this impressive ring is a unique find of local and national importance, there is likely more where that came from. Other nearby discoveries include seven silver coins, two gold coins, and Frisian pottery, so Emmerlev might just be a metal-detecting hotspot for the foreseeable future. 

But what will they call the football team?

Long called “Steel City,” Pittsburgh might soon need a new nickname. The steel mills are out, and the city is now moving toward global dominance in 3D-printed metal manufacturing. 

A recent Forbes article highlighted a project called Neighborhood 91, a new hub for the development and production of metal 3D parts. It brings together six companies–including a locomotive manufacturer, an aerospace and defense company, and a producer of signet rings–that all depend on the 3D-printed parts made from steel, aluminum, nickel, titanium, and/or copper. The plan is to increase the tenants of this 10-acre project from six to 40 companies, which would collaborate and innovate together—essentially the Silicon Valley of 3D-printed metals.

“The companies that come here want to be part of an ecosystem,” a project architect told Forbes.  “They want to work with their neighbors to figure out how to do things better, faster, and cheaper together.”

Neighborhood 91 aims to make Pittsburgh the center of 3D metal printing technology, simultaneously accelerating its adoption in the U.S. while bringing back a large part of overseas metal part fabrication. And the icing on the metallic cake? It plans for the creation of upwards of 6,000 jobs over the next decade.

They who smelt it…

Australia’s largest estuary has a heavy metal problem, and it has nothing to do with Blood Command. According to Hakai magazine, a recent study shows that Spencer Gulf seagrass is holding more than half the metal emissions from Nyrstar Port Pirie on Australia’s southern coast, one of the world’s largest lead smelters.

Seagrass roots and soil act as metal sinks—an example of nature being on clean-up duty for humans. “As long as the seagrasses are there, the metals are safe and trapped in the sediments,” a marine biologist told Hakai.  But if something damaged the seagrass–a marine heat wave, storm surge, or rising sea levels that cut off the reach of sunlight–it could die, releasing all those toxins back into the water. 

Protections are being put into place: the smelter’s operating license requires drastic reduction of historic pollution levels (they’ve complied). But regulators have their work cut out for them, also managing restrictions on trawling, dredging, and land run-offs, and the Australian EPA says more regulation is needed.

That was a bummer of a way to close out the package, so here, enjoy this video of a Canadian headbanging horse.

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