Raw Materials of Steel Making (steel scrap and iron ore)
Recycled steel (sometimes called scrap steel) is one of the industry’s most important raw materials. It comes from demolished structures and end of life vehicles and machinery as well as from the yield losses in the steelmaking process. It is estimated that around 670 million tonnes of scrap were recycled in 2017. Of this, approximately 570 million tonnes were used by the global steel industry, and the rest were used in foundries or in some very small and outdated iron & steel production facilities around the world (which are not counted in official steel production statistics).
Iron ore and metallurgical coal are used mainly in the blast furnace process of ironmaking. For this process, coking coal is turned into coke, an almost pure form of carbon, which is used as the main fuel and reductant in a blast furnace.
Typically, it takes 1.6 tonnes of iron ore and around 450kg of coke to produce a tonne of pig iron, the raw iron that comes out of a blast furnace. Some of the coke can be replaced by injecting pulverised coal into the blast furnace.
Iron is a common mineral on the earth’s surface. Most iron ore is extracted in opencast mines in Australia and Brazil, carried to dedicated ports by rail, and then shipped to steel plants in Asia and Europe.
Iron ore and metallurgical coal are primarily shipped in cape-size vessels, huge bulk carriers that can hold a cargo of 140,000 tonnes or more. According to United Nation’s COMTRADE Statistics Database, global exports of iron ore in 2017 amounted to around 1.5 billion tonnes, representing the second largest commodity trade volume globally, behind global crude oil exports.
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