End of ‘gray market’ changes Chinese ferrous scrap statistics

The Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has reported its research into 2017’s 64.2 percent boost in the Chinese steel industry’s scrap consumption was “closely related to China’s closure of induction furnaces” in 2017.

The BIR says the 147.9 million metric tons of ferrous scrap consumption reported by China in 2017 boosted that nation’s percentage of ferrous scrap used in steel production to 17.8 percent.

While preparing its World Steel Recycling in Figures 2013-2017, an investigation into the statistical anomaly determined “that this growth in scrap usage was closely related to China’s closure of induction furnaces” in 2017, the BIR says.

Induction furnace production has been part of the steel industry in China for years, but that sector’s production and steel scrap consumption were not included in figures gathered by China’s steelmaking associations or government ministries. Estimates indicate steel scrap consumption by the country’s induction furnaces was around 60 million metric tons in 2016, but that volume was not included in official statistics. “Hence, the steel scrap use figures BIR has received since 2010 from the China Association of Metalscrap Utilization (CAMU) do not incorporate this large quantity of steel scrap,” the BIR says.

Following the government-supervised closure of many induction furnaces in 2017, most of these 60 million metric tons of steel scrap was used in 2017 by China’s basic oxygen furnace (BOF) and electric arc furnace (EAF) steel producers, leading to the statistical boost in 2017.

Northern Metal Recycling to relocate shredder

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Minneapolis-based Northern Metal Recycling is expected to start construction in the summer of 2018 at a new 75-acre facility in Becker, Minnesota, that will host an auto shredding plant.

The new facility replaces the company’s existing auto shredding plant in Minneapolis, according to an online report from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. That plant has received criticism from neighbors and scrutiny from Minnesota regulatory agencies over the past several years related to noise, dust and air emissions.

Northern Metal reached a $2.5 million settlement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in March 2017 to relocate its Minneapolis operation by August 2019.

The Sherburne County town of Becker, northwest of Minneapolis, has been “wooing Northern Metal since 2016” to move its production facility there, according to the Business Journal.

Northern Metal may employ some 140 workers at the plant and reportedly is being welcomed by utilities that serve Becker.

The new facility will consist of an enclosed auto shredder, a ferrous processing building, an enclosed metal recovery plant and a community recycling center.

According to its draft permit, the shredder Northern Metal is seeking to install will have a capacity of 400 tons per hour, while the downstream system will have an input capacity of 50 tons per hour.

Northern Metal Recycling is an operating division of United Kingdom-based EMR Ltd.