India’s Ministry of Steel releases draft steel scrap policy

India’s Ministry of Steel has released a draft steel scrap policy that seeks to curtail import dependency and make the nation more self-sufficient by producing high-quality ferrous scrap domestically, according to a report from the Press Trust of India (PTI).

The draft policy states that it aims to “promote circular economy in the steel sector [and] to promote a formal and scientific collection, dismantling and processing activities for end-of-life products that are sources of recyclable (ferrous, nonferrous and other nonmetallic) scraps [that] will lead to resource conservation and energy savings and setting up of an environmentally sound management system for handling ferrous scrap.”

The policy also states that it aims to ensure the nation can process and recycle products in an organized, safe and environmentally friendly manner and to “decongest the Indian cities from ELVs (end-of-life vehicles) and reuse of ferrous scrap.”

The nation initially launched its National Steel Policy 2017 two years ago to develop a globally competitive steel industry. That policy aims to “develop a globally competitive steel industry by creating 300 million [tons per year] of steel production capacity by 2030 with a contribution of 35 to 40 percent from electric arc furnaces (EAFs) and induction furnaces.

China steps back from banning all scrap imports by 2020

Last year, the Chinese government proposed a ban on all scrap imports by 2020 in its national solid waste management law; however, in the second revision that was recently released, the government has stepped back from banning all imports, saying “The state shall gradually and basically realize zero import of solid waste.”

In its analysis of the revision, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, says the new proposal indicates “Chinese demand for manufacturing inputs, including from recycling, remains strong.”

“It is the ‘gradually and basically’ phrase that gives the suggestion,” says Adina Renee Adler, assistant vice president of international affairs at ISRI. “We know from other policy statements that the Chinese government still intends to pursue a self- sufficiency policy, but this tells us that for certain items, they may need to allow imports past 2020.”

The Chinese government continues to “shrink imports” by using quotas for copper, aluminum, ferrous scrap and recovered paper, ISRI says.

“When comparing with the previous year’s import numbers, there certainly is a dramatic decline year over year,” Adler says.

In July, China approved a total of 2.12 million tons of scrap imports, including 124,450 tons of copper scrap (a 5.7 percent decline), 306,930 tons of aluminum scrap (a 15 percent decline), 5,550 tons of ferrous scrap (a 0.3 percent decline) and 1.69 million tons of paper scrap (a 79 percent decline). More than 70 percent of total approved imports came in through Guangdong province.

In addition, the Chinese government is developing a set of standards for recycled raw materials imports. ISRI says it obtained the drafts concerning recycled copper and recycled brass imports, noting that these imports must contain 97 to 99 percent copper content and be 90 to 99 percent recoverable.