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MEMRC: A Strong Future for Ferrous Scrap

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Electric arc furnace steelmakers are likely to retain their hunger for shredded ferrous scrap.

Recycling Today Staff April 16, 2013

Turkey enjoys a reputation as the world’s largest importer of ferrous scrap, but the nation’s steelmakers are likely to face completion for the secondary commodity.

(from left to right: Anshul Gupta, PGI Group; Scott Newell, The Shredder Company; Serhat Babac, SteelOrbis)

At the session on ferrous scrap at the Middle East Metals Recycling Conference, held in March in Dubai, Serhat Babac of Turkey-based information company SteelOrbis (editors note: Mr. Babac has since left the company), said the nation’s steel mills, which provide the beams and shapes that form the spine of a major building boom in the Persian Gulf region, make up the largest single import market for ferrous scrap leaving other nations.

Speaking at the session titled “Steel’s Sustainable Future,” Babac said mills in Turkey likely would continue to need scrap from North America in 2013. In part, scrap sent from North America is making up for the diminishing amount leaving the former Soviet Union (where scrap exports are tightly controlled) and the European Union, whose economy is generating scrap at even lower levels than North America’s.
Babac added that the trend will continue as SteelOrbis foresees that the Black Sea region “will decline even more” as a scrap source, owing to a combination of a depleted scrap reservoir and export tariffs that will tighten supplies from Russia and its neighbors.

Presenter Scott Newell of The Shredder Co. LLC, Canutillo, Texas, noted that 30 auto shredders now are installed in China; and he predicted that it will only take a few years before the shredder population in China reaches 100.

The shredder increase, he noted, is indicative of a larger stream of end-of-life cars and appliances that not only will produce ferrous scrap but also additional nonferrous flows. Newell added that China has an expanding network of more than 70 licensed electronic scrap shredding facilities, which likewise will yield more red metal scrap from the postconsumer sector.

Newell also provided results of a test The Shredder Co. was part of at an Ecuadorian electric arc furnace (EAF) steel mill, which showed that by using 80 percent ferrous shred, the mill was able to reduce its “tap-to-tap” production time from 67 minutes to 40 minutes.

This gain in production speed turned the mill from a 14,000-tons-per-month mill into a 26,000-tons-per-month mill while also decreasing power usage at the mill. “The use of shredded scrap has saved $35 to $40 per ton in power, electrodes and [melting] additives,” said Newell.

Newell predicted that results like these will help convince more steelmakers that the EAF process fed with ferrous shred is a viable way to compete in the future. He says the advantages of the feedstock include high yield, good density, no electrode breakage, less air pollution or emissions and reduced “tap-to-tap” time in the steelmaking process.

The Middle East Metals Recycling Conference, co-hosted by the Recycling Today Media Group and Waste & Recycling Middle East magazine, was March 5-7 at the Hyatt Regency Dubai.

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