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Latin American Steel: A retrospective in 101 Essays
May/June 2015

May/June 2015

If you read the print edition of the May/June Steel Times International you will see the headline: No short-term solution for the China syndrome. And while there is clearly a reference to the 1979 movie starring Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas, the leader in question, while nothing to do with a nuclear meltdown, has plenty to say about a potential meltdown of sorts if China continues to dump steel products on world markets.

This month’s China Update is longer than usual as it addresses what the ‘rest of the world’ steel industry is clearly very concerned about; so concerned that its leading national associations – including EUROFER, the American Iron & Steel Institute and Alacero (the Latin American Steel Association) – penned an open letter to the Chinese government with a view to making their feelings known and, hopefully, generating enough awareness of the situation to make a difference.

Steel Times International speaks exclusively to the figureheads of the aforementioned associations about the purpose of the open letter and asks whether such an exercise will help change the course of the global steel industry going forward. One thing is for certain, there is no short-term solution to the problem, according to Mario Longhi, CEO of US Steel.

We also report from Cleveland, Ohio, on the recent AISTech convention and ‘exposition’ (as they call it in the USA), which proved to be a great success all round. For Steel Times International, it was interesting on many fronts. Not only did the magazine have its own stand at the show, we also managed to talk to the heads of some of the USA’s leading steelmakers, including ArcelorMittal USA’s CEO Andrew Harshaw, who said that the only place to solve the problem of China was in Washington DC. Bringing a touch of High Noon to a press conference, Harshaw said: “At the end of the day the only thing they’re going to respect is the law.”

Outgoing AIST (Association for Iron & Steel Technology) president Glenn Pushis from Indiana-based Steel Dynamics, put aside valuable time to answer some questions posed by Steel Times International, including one on China. He made the very valid point that it’s not just China but South Korea, Russia and Brazil that have significantly increased exports to the USA.

The theme of China continues in our report on CRU’s World Steel Conference in Brazil where Chris Houlden warned delegates that there would be no silver linings going forward. While Houlden apologised from the very beginning for being the bearer of bad tidings – plunging global demand, prices falling off a cliff and great economic and geo-political risks – Wiley Rein’s Alan Price had no such qualms. China, he said, has built the world’s largest steel industry even though it lacks any comparative advantage in making steel. According to Price, 19-20 of China’s biggest steelmakers are state-owned and the country is moving towards market socialism, not a market economy.

Steel Times International carries a number of technical papers covering process control, BOF and electric steelmaking. We have two Perspectives Q&A features from HyGear and TMEIC Global and an interesting History page on UK pig iron production during the World War One. There are also country reports from Brazil and the USA and a healthy industry news section.

May/June 2015 Contents

Recent News

Basson calls for a stronger partnership between government and the steel industry

There is a need for stronger partnerships between governments and the steel industry if the role of the latter within the context of progressive industrial policy is to be understood, claims the World Steel Association (worldsteel) in a recently published position paper on environmental change that highlights the contribution of the steel industry to a low carbon society.

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MMK increases shipments to the automotive industry

Russian steelmaker OJSC Magnitogorsk (MMK) has announced that in H1 2015 it increased metal shipments to the automotive industry by 20% year-on-year to 215kt and has strengthened its position despite a significant decline in Russia’s car manufacturing sector.

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World crude steel production down 2.4% in June

World crude steel production for the first six months of 2015 was down by 2.4%, according to figures released by the World Steel Association (worldsteel) based on the production figures of 65 countries reporting to the organisation.

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Danieli to supply CMC with second micro mill

Italian steel manufacturing technology specialist Danieli is to supply Commercial Metals Company (CMC) with a second MiDA (MicroMillDanieli). The new unit, destined for Oklahoma, will mirror the steelmaker’s existing micro mill in Mesa, Arizona but will feature improved technology based on both companies’ experience developing what is regarded as the world’s first micro mill, commissioned in 2009.

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Recent Features

Plenty to shout about?

Dark grey to black prospects? A 'dying elephant' with a 'smoke stack' image? When it comes to reputation enhancement, some argue that the global steel industry has its work cut out, but others are much more upbeat. Matthew Moggridge, editor of Steel Times International, reports.

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Time to get tough?

China has been a key theme at steel conferences around the world. Many a distinguished speaker has called for 'a level playing field' and some have warned against awarding China 'market economy status' because it will open the floodgates to even more exported steel. China is already 'dumping' millions of tonnes of steel on foreign markets around the world. While many observers wonder what effect (if any) anti-dumping measures and countervailing duties are having on the situation, there is a growing sense of unease in 'rest of the world' steel markets. By Matthew Moggridge, editor of Steel Times International.

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Optimising Consteel continuous scrap feeding with roof-fed DRI

For EAF furnaces charged jointly with scrap and with DRI through the roof, feeding the scrap via a Consteel pre-heater conveyor rather than by bucket enables a shorter power-on time, increases productivity and improves all other operating parameters, except carbon injection, resulting in a significant saving in electrical energy. By F Memoli*, J A T Jones** & F Picciolo***

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No room for complacency

Safety in any heavy industrial environment is top priority, and the key to a safer steel production plant is impeccable leadership and constant awareness of the risks. Keeping workers safe is initiated from the top down and there's no room for complacency. By Matthew Moggridge, editor of Steel Times International

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