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China's scrap steel to contribute to lower-carbon production

Supplies of scrap steel in China are expected to be about 338 million metric tons by 2025, which will significantly promote the development of electric arc furnace-based steelmaking in the country, according to a senior industry expert.

Li Xinchuang, chief engineer and Party secretary of the Beijing-based China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute, made the remarks at a recent forum the institute held in Beijing on raw materials for the steel industry in China.

As China aims to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and realize carbon neutrality by 2060, production technologies with lower carbon emissions, such as electric arc furnace-based steelmaking, will be greatly promoted, according to Li, who is also a foreign academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

Partly due to stressed scrape steel supplies, electric arc furnace-based steelmaking costs are higher than blast furnace-based steel production in China. In 2020, electric arc furnace steel only accounted for about 10 percent of China's total output, while worldwide the figure was 30 percent, and in the United States, about 70 percent.

In 2017, the country's production capacity of substandard steel, about 140 million tons, was completely banned, which led to significant increases in scrap steel resources, he said.

From 2018 to 2020, as China's steel reserves continued to rise, the supplies of scrap steel also increased steadily, with annual growth of about 20 million tons.

In 2020, statistically feasible supplies of scrap steel in China achieved about 260 million tons. 

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