BIR: Scrap’s share in steelmaking to increase

Friday, 05 November 2021 16:35:58 (GMT+3)   |   Istanbul

At the latest webinar of Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) held online on November 3, participants commented on the decarbonization of the steel industry and its impact on the steel recycling sector.

Steven Vercammen, senior knowledge expert at management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, stated that the push to reduce carbon emissions will create a large opportunity to grow scrap’s share in current steelmaking raw materials beyond its current average of 30 percent.

Stating that the prices of value-added scrap will increase, Benedikt Zeumer, partner at McKinsey & Company, said that the recycled materials will be much more favorable in terms of carbon emissions and energy intensity.

“China is moving in the direction of use of higher percentages of scrap and is reducing the percentage of steel made from iron ore. A few years ago, there was concern that China might become a huge scrap exporting country, with the effect that it would hurt scrap prices around the world. The opposite is what is happening. China will need to import scrap rather than iron ore and coal in order to reach the goals of a cleaner environment and more cost-effective steel production,” Scott Newell, chairman of US-based Newell Recycling Equipment and vice chairman of China Recycling Newell Equipment, said.

According to the latest world steel recycling data, around 630 million mt of scrap are recycled worldwide every year, preventing nearly 950 million mt of carbon emissions. In the first six months this year, China’s scrap consumption surged by 47.1 percent year on year to 137.95 million mt, reflecting the objective announced in China’s latest Five-Year Plan to reduce carbon emission in crude steel production through scrap usage.

Meanwhile, in the January-June period this year, Turkey’s scrap imports increased by 33.2 percent year on year to 12.87 million mt, becoming the world’s foremost scrap importer. The EU remained the world’s top scrap exporter in growing its shipments by 49.3 percent to 11.24 million mt in the given period.

George Adams from SA Recycling stated that the US scrap market may remain steady, with a slight upside, especially for shredded scrap, through the end of this year amid continued logistical delays and steady new steel demand.

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