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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)

Polta, Harold J.
Iron and steel scrap,   pp. 667-681 ff. PDF (1.4 MB)


Page 667

93,371 
89,140 
7,177 
233,395 
312 
14,741 
  667Iron and Steel Scrap 
By Harold J. Polta' 
 Although domestic consumption of iron and steel scrap in the first half
of the year was below that in 1971, the continued high consumption rate thereafter
brought total consumption in 1972 within 1 million tons of the record high
established in 1969. Exports followed a similar pattern, with monthly exports
generally below those in 1971 early in the year, but with increases the latter
half sufficient to make 1972 exports more than a million tons above those
in 1971. The increased demand for scrap reflected the increase in steel production
as the steel industry recovered from the effects of inventory building (in
anticipation of a strike in the steel industry in 1971) and improved worldwide
business conditions. With increased demand, scrap prices reversed their downward
trend of the past several years and moved generally upward. 
 interest in iron and steel scrap continued high. Spurred by environmental
organizations, an increasing number of States passed legislation designed
to increase recycling of junked vehicles, and a bill to encourage use of
scrap was introduced in the U.S. Congress. Steel companies, can manufacturers,
and scrap processors cooperated 
with other interested groups to operate recycling centers for the collection
and disposal of tin cans. Auto manufacturers were helping communities collect
and dispose of junked vehicles. A growing number of communities were reclaiming
scrap from municipal refuse, and more were planning construction of facilities
for this purpose.~ Technical foundations, consulting groups, and universities
had numerous studies underway on all phases of the iron and steel scrap problems.
And because it considered an international scrap shortage a real possibility
within only a year or two, the International Institute of Iron and Steel
established a group of experts from around the world to assess the relationship
of supply and demand of scrap on the international market during the 1973—1980
period. 
 The Bureau of Mines agreed with the stand of the Institute of Scrap Iron
and Steel that increased recycling of scrap would come only with increased
demand. However, it considered technology the only ultimate answer and therefore
continued researching ways to improve scrap quality and increase uses for
low-quality scrap. 
I Physical scientist, Division of Ferrous Metals— Mineral Supply. 
Table 1.—Salient iron and steel scrap, and pig iron statistics in the
United States 
(Thousand short tons and thousand dollars) 
 1971 1972 
Stocks Dec. 31: 
 Scrap at consumer plants 8,494 8,169 
 Pig.ironatconsumerandsupplierplants 1,779 1,660 
 Total 10,273 9,829 
Consumption: 
   Scrap ' 82,567 
   Pigiron 81,215 
Exports: 
   Scrap (excludes rerolling material) 6,082 
   Value 206,420 
Imports for consumption: 
   Scrap (includes tinplate and terneplate scrap) 283 
  Value 11,259 
' Revised. 


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