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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1977
Year 1977, Volume 1 (1977)

Desy, D. H.
Iron and steel,   pp. 507-527 ff. PDF (2.2 MB)

Page 508

ger price mechanism to initiate immediate investigations of possible steel
dumping, with resolution required in 60 to 90 days, to replace the existing
procedure, which normally required more than a year. The task force also
recommended tax incentives to encourage modernization of steel plants, rationalization
of environmental policies 
and procedures, community and labor assistance, and other general measures,
including a study of legal barriers to joint ventures and mergers, incrOased
research and development, and government review of transportation systems
serving the steel industry. 
 Domestic production of pig iron totaled 81.5 million tons in 1977, a decrease
of 5.3 million tons, or 6% less than that produced in 1976. Shipments were
82.4 million tons, 5% less than in 1976. Average production of pig iron per
blast furnace day increased to 1,935.8 tons, compared with 1,930.1 tons in
1976 and 1,837.4 tons in 1975, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute
(AISI). There were 107 furnaces in blast at the beginning of the year, compared
with 134 at yearend. No ferroalloy blast furnaces were in operation at yearend.
There was a total of 193 blast furnaces standing at the beginning of the
year, declining to 179 at yearend~ 
 Metalliferous Materials Consumed in Blast Furnaces.—For each ton
pig iron produced in 1977, an average of 1,645 tons of metalliferous materials
was consumed in blast furnaces. The revised figure for 1976 was 1,654 tons.
Total net iron ore and agglomerates consumed in blast furnaces was 126.7
million tons. The total tonnage of 
iron ore, including manganiferous ore, consumed by agglomerating plants at
or near the blast furnaces in producing 34.9 million tons of agglomerates
was 23.6 million tons. The revised 1976 figure for consumption of iron ore,
including manganiferous ore, was 26.3 million tons. Other materials consumed
by agglomerating plants included mill scale, flue dust, slag, coke breeze,
and fluxes. Domestic pellets charged to the blast furnaces totaled 61.9 million
tons, and sinter charged was 35.4 million tons. Pellets and other agglomerates
from foreign sources amounted to 15.1 million tons. 
 Blast furnace oxygen consumption totaled 28.9 billion cubic feet according
to AISI, compared with 26.9 billion cubic feet in 1976 and 25.9 billion cubic
feet in 1975. Blast furnaces, through tuyere injection, consumed 12.4 billion
cubic feet of natural gas, 3.1 billion cubic feet of coke oven gas, 438 million
gallons of oil, 109 million gallons of tar, pitch, and miscellaneous fuels,
and 147,343 tons of bituminous coal in 1977. 
 Steel production early in the year was reduced by shortages of natural gas
resulting from severe weather in January and February. One small integrated
steel mill (Alan Wood Steel Co.) and several minimills went bankrupt during
the year. Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. and Bethlehem Steel Corp. closed
some of their facilities at Youngstown, Ohio, Johnstown, Pa., and Lackawanna,
N.Y., and several other steel companies temporarily shut down some of their
operating facilities. Foreign imports, including some allegedly imported
at less than fair prices, were cited as the major reason for the cutbacks.
 The domestic steel industry produced 
125.3 million tons of raw steel in 1977, 2% 
less than the 128 million tons produced in 
1976. Production in 1977 was 78.4% of 
industry raw steel production capability, 
compared with 80.9% in 1976. Of the total, 
61.8% was produced by the basic oxygen 
process, 16.0% by open hearth furnaces, and 22.2% by electric furnaces. 
 Shipments of steel products for the year totaled 91.1 million tons, 2% more
than the 89.4 million tons shipped in 1976. The increase in shipments, despite
the decline in raw steel production, was attributed to inventory increases
in 1976 and withdrawals in 1977. Shipments to the automotive industry totaled
21.5 million tons, slightly more than in 1976, and shipments to service centers
rose 5% to 15.3 million tons. Shipments to the oil and gas industry increased
38%, and shipments to the construction industry increased 1%. 
 Materials Used in Steelmaking.— Metallic materials charged to
steel furnaces in 1977, per ton of steel produced, averaged 1,230 pounds
of pig iron, 1,025 pounds of scrap, 24 pounds of ferroalloys, and 20 pounds
of ore and agglomerates. According to AISI, steelmaking furnaces 

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