copper mixed turnings
Proposed 94.75 percent purity standards for copper, aluminum and ferrous scrap would restrict some grades from entering Malaysia.
Photo by Recycling Today staff.

Malaysia delays scrap purity standards

Nation’s government moves prior Nov. 1 deadline to Jan. 1, 2022.

November 2, 2021

The Malaysian Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has issued a statement saying it will not enforce its proposed higher purity standards for imported scrap metal in November or December of this year.

When announcing the standards in August, MITI indicated it would take effect for shipments entering Nov. 1 of this year, after a two-month “interim period.”

In a statement posted to its website Nov. 1, MITI has announced that “the interim measure will continue to be enforced until 31 December, 2021. MITI believes the extended interim period will allow the industry to undertake the necessary preparations towards the Certificate of Approval (CoA) implementation.”

That CoA process remains a source of numerous questions for scrap recyclers around the world, with traders resisting what they see as a potentially burdensome and costly inspection Materials Recovery Facilities’ Approval Scheme being managed by the government-affiliated SIRIM agency and its appointed (and currently hard to find) Foreign Inspection Bodies.

The standards themselves demand ferrous scrap shipments that must consist of 94.75 percent iron and steel, with a maximum 0.25 percent nonmetallics and nothing considered by MITI as “electrical and electronic” scrap.

The aluminum and copper specifications demand identical percentages, which would result in a ban on coated wire and cable scrap and cause uncertainty for mixed, shredded grades (which can contain fragments of printed circuit boards).

Malaysia’s steel industry is a sizable consumer of imported ferrous scrap. In the past several years, the nation also has grown as a leading destination for the world’s nonferrous scrap, with secondary aluminum alloy and brass producers thriving in the nation.

The latter group is represented by the Malaysia Non-ferrous Metals Association, which has been attempting to work with overseas recycling and trading organizations to keep the door open for scrap shipments.

The full Nov. 1 MITI announcement can be viewed on this web page.