At least some of the London Metal Exchange metal stored in New Orleans warehouses is dry, clean and in warrantable condition, a spokesman for one of the companies housing the metal said last week.

The metal at two of Metro International Trade Services’ warehouses is in deliverable condition and was never flooded or wet, said the spokesman.

He added that company employees viewed the metal on Sept. 6 for the first time since floods overtook about 80% of the city a week ago when New Orleans’ vast levee system gave way in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath.

“The metal is accounted for. It’s there, it’s stacked nicely, it’s not wet,” the spokesman said.

“If it had arrived in our warehouse under normal circumstances it would be deliverable as far as we can tell,” he added.

Asked if it would need to be cleaned, the spokesman said, “Not that metal, certainly not. It’s never been wet.”

An industry source said siding on another nearby warehouse was damaged from Hurricane Katrina, “But the roof is intact, the metal is dry, the metal is all there and clean.”

He said some of the competitors’ warehouses on the same side of town also appeared to be in good shape, but the company had other warehouses across town whose fate was still unclear.

Earlier on Sept. 6, the LME temporarily suspended warranted metal stored in New Orleans warehouses after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.

About 24 London Metal Exchange bonded warehouses dot New Orleans and store exchange stocks of zinc, copper, aluminum and other base metals. LME data show 1,100 tons of copper, 1,200 tons of aluminum and 248,825 tons of zinc in New Orleans.

With global LME zinc stocks totaling 561,950 tons, some traders were concerned that damage to the inventory in New Orleans could cause delivery and therefore supply problems.

Warehouse agents said that most of the zinc in New Orleans had been stored there for years, and when it gets moved it usually goes from one warehouse to another.

They said New Orleans zinc was usually a metal of last resort, with metal stored in other locations generally closer to where the zinc actually gets used.

One spokesmen said he was fairly certain there were no delivery notices pending for zinc from New Orleans.

On Sept. 6, other warehouse spokesmen said they had been unable to view their buildings or the metal in it.

“They’re not letting people back in the city yet. Some of the suburbs are letting people in, but at this point they’re still trying to get everybody out of the city,” said a spokesman for the warehouse.

A third warehouse source said his company still had no concrete information about metal inventories or the condition of the buildings housing it.

“We have not heard that much. It’s too early. We have not been able to get back in there yet,” the source said.

He added that the company was trying to get some of its people into their buildings on Sept. 7.

“But they are people who live in the city and their first priority is their houses. It’s going to take awhile still to get in there. Eventually things will get back to normal, but I just don’t know when,” the source added. (Reuters)