Up from the Ashes: The Rise of the Steel Minimill in the United States

By Donald F. Barnett; Robert W. Crandall | Go to book overview

V Future Scrap and Electricity Supplies

Technological changes have been principally responsible for the twenty years of spectacular growth in the minimill sector of the steel industry. And those changes seem likely to continue to favor the small-scale producers. But will the material costs of these producers stay within manageable bounds? The answer lies in the availability and the price of steel scrap and, to a much smaller degree, of electricity.


Scrap and Its Substitutes

The success of the minimill in the United States depends very much on the continued flow of a supply of scrap or the development of substitutes such as directly reduced iron ore. By estimating how the determinants of scrap supply are likely to vary, it is possible to predict the limits on growth in electric furnace production in the next ten to fifteen years.


Scrap Supplies

The scrap market is highly competitive, with numerous buyers and sellers in each geographic market. Iron and steel scrap is generated by thousands of establishments. Steel fabricators who stamp, forge, extrude, and otherwise produce finished products lose large amounts of steel in trimmings, turnings, and rejects that are returned for recycling. Similarly, rejects and trimmings from the production processes of iron and steel foundries generate large quantities of scrap. Finally, there are thousands of scrap yards that collect and process "obsolete" scrap from discarded durable goods, store fronts, rails, bridges, and other structures. Obsolete scrap and the "prompt industrial" scrap generated by steel fabricators provide virtually all of the "purchased" scrap in the country.

In addition to purchased scrap, steel mills generate scrap in their

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Up from the Ashes: The Rise of the Steel Minimill in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Board of Trustees v
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • I- Two Distinct Industries 1
  • Summary 16
  • II- The Competitive Position of Minimills 18
  • Summary 35
  • III- The Decline of the Integrated Sector 36
  • Summary 55
  • IV- Changing Technology and the Minimills 56
  • Summary 70
  • V- Future Scrap and Electricity Supplies 71
  • Summary 94
  • VI- Industrial Policy- The Lessons from Steel 96
  • Appendix A- Tables 115
  • Appendix B- A Simulation Exercise- Scrap Availability for Electric Furnaces 126
  • Appendix C- A Model of the U.S. Iron and Steel Scrap Market 129
  • Index 133
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